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Title: Incaland - A Story of Adventure in the Interior of Peru and the Closing Chapters of the War with Chile
Author: Wetmore, Claude H. (Claude Hazeltine)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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INCALAND


[Illustration: “He ran forward, closely followed by the others.”]


INCALAND

A Story of Adventure in the Interior of Peru
and the Closing Chapters of the War with Chile

by

CLAUDE H. WETMORE

Author of “Fighting Under the Southern Cross,” etc.

With Illustrations by H. Burgess



[Illustration]

Boston and Chicago
W. A. Wilde Company

Copyright, 1902,
By W. A. Wilde Company.
All rights reserved.

INCALAND.



                                Preface.


Since the years of the Chile-Peruvian War—1879-1883—a great change has
come over the land where the Incas once held power. Military rulers have
yielded place to men chosen from the civil walks of life; the large
standing army has been disbanded, and the pick, hoe, and shovel replace
sword, bayonet, and rifle.

Peru’s decline, from the days of Pizarro until near the close of the
nineteenth century, was due to the ease with which natural wealth could
be acquired. The stages of the nation’s fall are marked by gold, guano,
and nitrate of soda. Spaniards lived in opulence while Indian slaves
unearthed the yellow metal. Later, Peruvians lived in idleness while
coolies and peons shovelled the most productive of all fertilizers from
the surface of the Chincha and Lobos Islands. Then in the south was
found an equally rich and equally accessible source of revenue in the
nitrate of soda.

All gold that lay in sight was exhausted by the Spaniard; all guano was
stripped from the treasure islands; and finally, Chile wrested from Peru
the nitrate provinces.

It is this period of time—when Peru’s last visible means of wealth was
passing from her—that is covered in “Fighting under the Southern Cross”
and “Incaland.”

Peru emerged from beneath the war cloud staggering under the burden of a
foreign debt. To her relief came representatives of an Anglo-American
syndicate. “Give us your railroads for sixty-nine years,” they said. “We
will extend them into the fertile interior, and as compensation we will
assume your obligations.” Peru acquiesced. The Grace-Donoughmore
contract was signed. Bondholders were satisfied.

The shackles of debt cast one side, the men of Peru turned to work,
guided by the rulers chosen from civil life who had been placed in
power. They no longer depended upon the labor of a few to maintain the
majority in indolence.

They tunnelled and dug in the Sierra region and brought to light a
wealth of copper; they sank wells in the north and were rewarded with
flowing oil; they constructed irrigation canals in Piura Province, and
developed a cotton which, because of its lustre and resemblance to wool,
is creating a furore in the New York and Liverpool markets.

Gold, guano, nitrate, are the tombstones of old Peru; agriculture and
mining are the watchwords of the new.

The dawn of a brighter day for Incaland is glinting over the Andean
chain.



                               Contents.


      CHAPTER                                                PAGE
           I. IN THE ANDES                                     11
          II. THE MONTAÑA OF PERU                              32
         III. A SNAKE AND A PUMA                               44
          IV. IN THE COILS OF A BOA                            54
           V. HUARI, AND THE STORY OF THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTESS   66
          VI. A DISCOVERY AND AN ALARM                         85
         VII. THE CANNIBALS OF PERU                            99
        VIII. THE FORT ON THE MARAÑON                         113
          IX. ATTACKED BY CANNIBALS                           125
           X. NEAR TO DEATH’S DOOR                            137
          XI. BEYOND THE WHITE ROCK                           142
         XII. HARVEY AS A SENTRY                              157
        XIII. BELLA CACERAS RECOGNIZES A VOICE                170
         XIV. BLOCKADE OF CALLAO HARBOR                       186
          XV. DARNING THE NEEDLE                              200
         XVI. JOHN LONGMORE’S REVENGE                         207
        XVII. JOHN LONGMORE’S REVENGE (CONTINUED)             219
       XVIII. JOHN LONGMORE’S REVENGE (CONCLUDED)             236
         XIX. A STRANGE DISAPPEARANCE                         248
          XX. A CHASE INTO THE PAMPAS COUNTRY                 261
         XXI. OLD GLORY IN THE BAY                            282
        XXII. DARK DAYS IN INCALAND                           292
       XXIII. AN APPEAL TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA       296



                             Illustrations.


                                                                    PAGE

 “He ran forward, closely followed by the others”

                                                     _Frontispiece_   41

 “Ran ... to the side of his friend, whom he seized by the collar”    61

 “Angry copper-colored faces showed at the opening”                  135

 “This engine of death drifted slowly into the mist”                 216

 “Two black streaks, bearing fluffy burdens of white, were moving    280
   swiftly down the moonlit road”



                               INCALAND.


[Illustration]



                               CHAPTER I.
                             IN THE ANDES.


Harvey held some of the white substance in both hands, examined it
curiously, then let it filter through his benumbed fingers.

“This is snow, isn’t it?” he exclaimed.

Hope-Jones and Ferguson laughed.

“What! Have you never seen snow before?” asked the former.

“Of course not. Didn’t I tell you that I visited the States only once,
when I was little more than a baby, and remained but a month or two?
I’ve never been in these regions any more than have you. I can remember
rainfall, but snow! this is the first I have seen,” and he stooped over
again, scooping up a fresh handful of the white, fluffy flakes that had
covered the ground to the depth of an inch.

“Look out!” screamed Hope-Jones.

Ferguson and Harvey jumped to one side, warned by the cry, not a second
too soon, for a huge boulder, roaring with the sound of an express
train, bounded down the mountain side, crashed over the place where they
had stood, and disappeared below the ledge, reverberating as it fell
into the chasm.

“Narrow escape that!”

“I should say so,” said Harvey, who had dropped his snow and stood
looking at the two young men, his cheeks quite pale.

The three who thus had barely escaped death were explorers from Callao,
Peru, in the year 1879, and this day they were eight hours’ walk beyond
Chicla, the highest point to which the Oroya railroad had been built,
and to which terminal they had journeyed by train from the main seacoast
city of Peru.

Harvey Dartmoor was seventeen years of age, the birthday which marked
his passage from sixteen having been celebrated a week before his
departure from home. His father had been a wealthy iron merchant in
Peru, but the reverses which that country had sustained in the few
months of the war with Chile, and which are described in detail in
“Fighting Under the Southern Cross,” had forced Mr. Dartmoor, as well as
many others in Lima and Callao, to the brink of the financial precipice
beneath which yawned the chasm, ruin.

Harvey had been more in the confidence of his father than Louis, who was
a year older. This was perhaps due to the younger lad’s resemblance to
his father, in face and in personal bearing; or, perhaps, to the fact
that he was more studiously inclined and therefore passed more time at
home than did Louis, who was fond of outdoor sports, and preferred a
spin in Callao Bay, or a dash over the pampas on his pony, with his chum
Carl Saunders as a companion, to poring over books in the library.

It was in this manner—by being frequently at home and in the office—that
Harvey had learned of his father’s distress of mind, caused by financial
difficulties, long before other members of the family had realized the
true state of affairs; and this observance by the lad and his inquiries
had as a sequel his appearance in the great Andes chain, or the
Cordilleras of Peru.

His companions were an Englishman and an American, who had resigned
clerkships in offices to undertake this journey. Horace Hope-Jones, the
senior, had been five years on the Peruvian coast, coming to Callao from
Liverpool, and John Ferguson had lived in Ohio until 1875, when he was
offered a very good salary to enter the employ of a large American house
which had branch establishments in several cities on the southwest
coast. One was twenty-three, the other twenty-two.

They were well known in the cities, and were popular in amateur athletic
circles, both having been members of a famous four of the Callao Rowing
Club, that had wrested victory from fours sent from Valparaiso, Panama,
and other cities. Harvey Dartmoor was a junior member of this club, and
it was while serving as coxswain that he became acquainted with
Hope-Jones and Ferguson.

It came about curiously that the three were in the Andes, at an altitude
of 16,500 feet, this twenty-third day of August, 1879. Two days before
they had stood on the beach at Callao, breakers of the Pacific Ocean
dashing at their feet; now they were in a wilderness of granite,
snow-capped peaks rising on every side, and behind, towering above
these, were still others, stretching in a seemingly endless chain.

Their quest in this vastness was gold, and an Indian’s narrative caused
their search for yellow metal in the interior, where the great Incas
once ruled.

Hope-Jones and Ferguson had lived in bachelor apartments in Lima, which
is eight miles from Callao, and for a year their wants had been attended
to by an old native, named Huayno, who cooked their meals, made their
beds and kept their rooms tidy.

He was singularly uncommunicative during the first eight months of his
service, but later, falling ill and being treated kindly by the young
men, he told them that he was of direct descent from the Incas; indeed,
that there flowed through his veins blood of the royal Atahuallpa, and
that he might have been a king had not the race been first betrayed by
the white men from Spain and then gradually exterminated, until only a
few were left; and these wandered in bands through the interior, turned
from a once proud people to Philistines, because of the injustice done
them.

Thus old Huayno would talk evenings for hour after hour, speaking in
Spanish with a strange mixture of the Indian tongue, and they would
listen intently, because he told wonderful things of life in that
portion of the interior to the north of Cerro de Pasco, where the foot
of white man had never trod.

The Indian became worse instead of better, and finally was bedridden.
Hope-Jones and Ferguson had grown much attached to him. They recognized
a person above the station in which circumstances had placed him, and,
moreover, they felt sorry for one who was far away from his people and
so lonely. Therefore, instead of sending him to a hospital, they called
a doctor and engaged a nurse to be near his side during the day, while
they were absent at their offices. The physician shook his head, after
examining the old man, and said:—

“He cannot linger long; perhaps a week, possibly two, but no longer.”

Ten days later the end came, and a few hours before Huayno breathed his
last, he beckoned Hope-Jones and Ferguson to his side.

“My masters, I know that I am about to die,” said he. “The sun of my
life is setting in the hills and soon it will have disappeared. Before
darkness comes I have much to tell you. In these weeks you have done
much for me, as much as you would have done a brother; and so I, in
turn, shall do for you. Give me, I pray you, from that bottle, so the
strength may come to my voice.”

One of them handed him a glass, into which he had poured some cordial,
and the Indian drank slowly, then raised himself partly in bed, leaning
on pillows which had been placed behind his back.

He was a tall, well-formed man, his skin of light copper color, and he
wore a beard that reached halfway to his waist. His cheeks were much
sunken and shrivelled, and resembled stained pieces of chamois skin that
had been wet, then dried without stretching. His luminous black eyes
glistened from deep cavities under shiny brows.

“I am of the tribe of Ayulis,” he continued, his voice much firmer.
“They now inhabit the country round about the river Marañon, where they
cultivate yacas, plantains, maize, and cotton, and from the latter the
women weave gay cloths, so that their attire is of more splendid color
than that of any tribe. Eighty-five years ago it was not thus; then we
were not compelled to cultivate the fields, for having gold in abundance
we employed others to work. That gold proved our curse, for the white
men came from Spain and levied tribute upon us, more and more each year,
until we knew that soon all would be taken away. They levied tribute
which we were compelled to pay, but they never learned from where we
secured the metal, although they searched in parties large and small and
put many of our leading men to the torture, in effort to force the
secret from them. An Ayulis has no fear of pain, and they laughed when
burned with hot irons and when boiling oil was poured upon them.

“When at last the Spaniards drove them too far, they choked the
approaches to the mine with the trunks of huge trees, and all voiced a
pledge that the place should never be opened again, nor would the
location be made known to these unwelcome visitors from Spain. I am one
hundred years old now; I was twenty then, and I remember well the great
meeting of our tribe. Later we were revenged. Six months from that day
we joined forces with the Jivaros, and at night we entered the town of
Logroño, where a terrible butchery befell. Every white man was beheaded
and every woman was carried away. Then other white men came and we were
hunted through the forests for years, until at last we settled on the
banks of the Marañon and there turned our attention to farming.

“We thought no more of gold, my masters, for that had been our curse;
but well I remember the days when the yellow metal was in plenty, and
with these eyes I have seen a nugget of gold taken from the mine of
which I speak, that was as large as a horse’s head and weighed four
arrobas.[1] Silver was so plentiful and iron so scarce that horses were
shod with the white metal.

Footnote 1:

  One hundred pounds.

“Now I come to a time later by twenty years, when, by accident, I killed
a man of our tribe. They would not believe me that I had meant him no
harm, and that the arrow was not sped by design, but they declared that
I should die. Had I been guilty I would have awaited the punishment; but
I was innocent, and so I fled, and for a time I joined the savages on
the Ucalayli, but in a few years I pushed on, over the mountains, to
this coast where I have since been.”

Hope-Jones and Ferguson had listened breathlessly, bending forward, for
the old Indian’s voice had grown weaker and weaker. Soon he added:—

“I will tell you where the gold mine lies, for you have been kind to me.
Take paper and pencil, that you may write down what I may say and not
forget.”

They did so, and he went on:—

“Cross the mountains to Oroya, go north even to Huari, all that way it
is easy. From Huari go further north, three days on foot, to the great
forest of cinchona trees, which commence at the sources of the upper
Marañon. Enter this forest at Mirgoso, a village of few huts in my day,
probably larger now. It is here that the Marañon properly commences.
Follow the river, keeping in sight the right bank all the way. Travel
six days by foot and you will suddenly see a great white rock. Beyond
this once was a path, leading further north a half mile. Along it trees
have been felled; they are rotted now. Push on and you will find the
mine. Another—another—”

They bent closer, for his breath was coming in spasms.

“Another white rock marks—”

They sprang to his side; a strange rattle sounded in his throat.

“Lift me that I may see the setting sun.”

They did so and he looked out the window, toward Callao, where the ball
of red was sinking. Then he fell back, dead.

For several days the young men said little concerning the Indian’s
story. They gave his body fitting burial in the little cemetery at Bella
Vista, and returned to their work at office desks. It all seemed a dream
to them; either they had dreamed or they had listened to the ravings of
Huayno. But after a week they commenced to discuss the narrative, first
curiously, as one might talk of a fairy tale, then earnestly, as if
their minds were becoming convinced that it had foundation in fact.

Why was it impossible? Were not legends heard from every tongue of the
fabulous wealth of the Incas? Was it not said that they had secret
mines, from which gold and silver had been taken, and which mines were
closed and their bearings lost after the advent of the white man? Had
there not been wonderful wealth in Cuzco?—a temple covered with sheets
of gold and heaps of treasure? At Cajamaráca, did not Atahuallpa offer
Pizarro, as a ransom, sufficient gold to fill the apartment in which he
was confined and twice that amount of silver?

There could be no reason for the Indian to deceive them; there was every
reason why he should have told them the truth. Would it not be wise to
go into the interior and investigate?

Nothing stood in the way. They had youth and strength, the journey would
be of advantage physically; each had a small sum of money in bank and a
portion of this would furnish everything they might need on the trip,
leaving sufficient for emergencies upon their return, should they prove
unsuccessful.

These arguments, advanced by one, then by the other, determined them,
and one evening Ferguson jumped up from his seat at table and
exclaimed:—

“Let’s go!”

“Say we do,” answered Hope-Jones.

“Agreed?”

“Agreed.”

“Shake on it.”

They clasped hands, and it was settled.

The very next afternoon they were discussing their plans in the dressing
room of the Callao Rowing Club, when they were overheard by Harvey
Dartmoor. He was not eavesdropping. Such was not his nature. They had
not noticed his presence, and finally, when he attracted their
attention, they were rather glad than otherwise that he had heard, and
soon asked if he would like to join in the search.

Harvey was known in Callao as a student, and the young men believed that
he would be of assistance when knowledge of geology and chemistry should
be needed. Besides, he was a pleasant companion, and although their
junior, he was in many things far advanced for one of his years. So it
was decided that Harvey should accompany them, provided his father
should give consent, and in the evening Hope-Jones visited John Dartmoor
at his home in Chucuito and unfolded to him the strange sayings of the
Indian, Huayno.

Mr. Dartmoor was at first reluctant to permit Harvey’s departure. There
was considerable danger in the trip—from avalanches, wild animals, and
perhaps from savages, occasional bands of which were known at times to
approach the Marañon River.

But in Hope-Jones and Ferguson he recognized young men of courage and
determination; he knew Harvey to have a similar nature, and beyond all
that he looked at the possibility of finding this treasure.

John Dartmoor had seen nothing but darkness on all sides, and here was a
glimmer of light. The depreciation of paper money and the stagnation of
trade, because of war, had checked all business. He was confronted with
obligations which he could not meet, and each night he dreaded the
dawning of another day, lest it bring failure before darkness could come
again. So at last he gave his consent, and Harvey, delighted, made his
preparations for the journey.

The three decided to make no secret of the fact that they were going
inland to seek gold, but to no one except John Dartmoor did they say
aught concerning the Indian’s revelations.

Having once interested himself in the venture, Mr. Dartmoor proved of
valuable assistance to the travellers. Hope-Jones and Ferguson having
shared their information with his son, he in turn furnished outfits
complete for all three, and as his hardware store was the largest on the
coast, he was able to find nearly everything in stock. But the
travellers, after frequent discussions, left behind far more than they
first had planned to carry, for they appreciated the fact that before
them lay mile after mile of mountain climbing.

When equipped for the journey, each was clad in a suit of heavy tweed,
the trousers to the knee, gray woollen stockings, and walking shoes.
Each carried a knapsack, surmounted by two thin blankets, shaped in a
roll, and in each knapsack were the following articles: One light rubber
coat, one pair of shoes, two pairs of stockings, one suit of
underclothing, three pocket-handkerchiefs, one tin plate, one tin cup,
knife and fork of steel, one pound of salt, one large box of matches,
one tooth brush, one comb, needles, pins, and thread, one iron hammer,
and one box containing two dozen quinine pills.

Ferguson and Hope-Jones each carried a pick, slung by cords over their
shoulders, but Harvey was deemed too young to bear a similar burden;
besides, two picks were plenty. Hope-Jones carried a shot-gun, Ferguson
a rifle, and Harvey a weapon similar to that borne by the Englishman,
but of less weight. They all wore two ammunition belts, one around the
waist, the other over the shoulder. In pockets were jack-knives, pieces
of twine and lead pencils and paper, for they hoped to send letters from
the interior to the coast by making use of native runners, although once
away from the railroad they could receive none.

Thus equipped, the departure was made from Lima on the morning of August
20, and the three adventurers were accompanied as far as Chosica by
Harvey’s brother Louis and by Carl Saunders, their chum, who stood on
the railway platform in the little mountain town and waved a God-speed
until the train pulled out of sight.

The Oroya railroad is one of the seven wonders of Peru, and no work by
civil engineers in all the world so challenges admiration. It rises from
the sea and threads the gorges of the Rimac, creeping on ledges that
have been blasted from out the solid rock, crossing bridges that seem
suspended in air, and boring through tunnels over which rest giant
mountains. In places the cliffs on which rails are laid so overhang the
river far below that a stone let fall from a car window will drop on the
opposite side of the stream. From the coast to the summit there is not
an inch of down grade, and in seventy-eight miles an altitude of 12,178
feet is attained. Sixty-three tunnels are passed through. Placed end to
end they would be 21,000 feet in length, so that for four miles of this
wonderful journey one is burrowing in the bowels of mountains.

At one point the travellers stood on the car platform and saw ahead of
them the mouth of a tunnel, then, looking up the face of the precipice
they saw another black opening that seemed the size of a barrel; higher
still was a third, no larger in appearance than a silver dollar; yet
higher, as high as a bird would fly, a fourth, resembling the eye of a
needle. Four tunnels, one above the other!

They would enter the first, wind around on ledges, pass through the
second, wind again, the third, wind again, and before entering the
fourth, look down from the train platform along the face of the
precipice and see the entrances to the three holes through which they
had passed. They were threading mountains, and always moving toward the
summit.

In this wild journey they passed over thirty bridges that spanned
chasms, the most remarkable of them all being the iron bridge of
Verrugas, which crosses a chasm 580 feet wide and rests on three piers,
the central one being 252 feet high.

The noonday meal was taken at Matucana, in the railway station house,
and a half hour later they were on the way again, and all three stood on
the platform of the rear car, watching the scenery, which every moment
grew in grandeur. As the train wound around a ledge, like a huge iron
snake, they saw far beneath a little lake of blue, bordered by willows.
Even as they looked, clouds rolled out and hid the water and the
willows. So they were above the clouds! Yet above them were other
clouds, of fleecy white, drifting and breaking against the gray masses
of stone that rose ever and ever at the sides of them and in front of
them!

For a long time they were silent, looking down into chasms so deep they
could not in places see the bottom; at other points appeared a silver
thread which they knew to be a river; or, they gazed up at smooth
cliffs, towering as if to shut out the sun, and again at huge
overhanging boulders that seemed to need but a touch to drop and
obliterate train and passengers. While thus watching, Hope-Jones
suddenly exclaimed:—

         “Where Andes, giant of the Western star,
         Looks from his throne of clouds o’er half the world.”

“Who wrote those lines?” asked Harvey.

“Campbell, I believe. I never appreciated them as I do now,” he replied.

They were soon joined by the conductor, who was much interested in the
three adventurers. The road not having been constructed its entire
length, it was seldom that passengers for the interior were on trains,
and rarely indeed were met persons who intended journeying as far as did
these three companions. Those who rode up the Oroya railroad were mainly
tourists. So, in those years, the railway was operated at a loss; but it
was government property, and the purpose was in time to connect the
great interior with the seaboard.

The conductor was an American who had been five years in Peru, and he
was always glad to meet any one from the States; so at once he fell into
conversation with Ferguson.

“How often do you go over the road?” he was asked.

“Three times a week.”

“Do you not tire of the solitude?”

“No. Each time I see new grandeur. Look over there. What is on that
cliff?”

The three gazed in the direction he pointed.

“It seems to be a little animal about the size of a lamb,” said
Ferguson.

“It’s an Andean bull.”

“But, surely, how can that be?”

“Because the cliff, which seems only a few hundred feet away, is
thousands. In this rarefied air all distances and sizes are misleading.”

“What did this road cost?” Harvey asked.

“In money, no one knows exactly, unless it be the superintendent of
public construction at Lima. Henry Meiggs took the contract in 1868 for
$27,000,000, but the government has added many million dollars since
then.”

“You say in money. What other cost has there been?”

“Lives of men, my son. The line is not completed, yet seven thousand men
have perished during its construction. They say that for every tie on
the railroad across the Isthmus of Panama a man gave his life, but even
that road has no such death list on the dark side of its ledger as has
this.”

“That is more than double the number of the killed on both sides at the
battle of Shiloh!” exclaimed Harvey.

“Yes; if I remember my history aright,” assented the conductor.

“What caused this frightful mortality?” asked Hope-Jones.

“There have been many causes, sir. Extremes of climate have affected
those with weak constitutions and rendered them easy victims to disease,
pestilences have raged in the camps, and there have been hundreds of
fatal accidents, due to blasting and to the fall of boulders. I dare say
that if one could find a passage along the Rimac below,” and he pointed
to the chasm, “he would see whitened bones between every mile post.”

That evening they reached Chicla, 15,645 feet above sea level, and were
entertained at the home of the railroad superintendent, who had charge
of the upper division of the line. Chicla is a little town of huts
nestling in a small valley and surrounded by mountain peaks. The nights
are always cold, and for only a few hours during the day does the sun’s
face escape from behind the towering peaks and shine upon the village.

At the supper table Harvey complained of a drumming in his ears, and a
few minutes later he hastily left the table because of a severe
nosebleed. Ferguson felt something damp on his cheek not long after, and
using a handkerchief he noticed that it bore a crimson streak. Blood was
flowing from his right ear.

The superintendent assured them that there was no cause for alarm, and
that every one suffered from the effects of rarefied air when coming
into a high altitude.

“The pressure is less on the body up here,” he explained, “but within
your veins and cells is air at the pressure received at sea level. This
overpressure air, in endeavoring to escape, forces the blood with it. In
a few hours the symptoms will have passed away. None of you has heart
trouble, I trust?”

“No,” they answered.

“Then you will soon be all right.”

They passed a restless night, but in the morning felt much better, and
viewed from the veranda of the house the coming of the day without a
rising sun in sight, for, the superintendent explained, it would be ten
o’clock before the rays would shine from over the mountain peaks in the
east. The valley was soon filled with a mellow light, and on the western
hills rested a shadow that slowly crept downwards.

After breakfast they watched from the veranda a train of llamas coming
down the mountain side, bearing panniers filled with silver ore.

“Those are wonderful beasts,” said the superintendent.

“Yes,” remarked Hope-Jones; then he added: “Until recently, I believed
they belonged to the same family as the domestic sheep of Europe and
North America, but I ascertained by reading that they are more closely
allied to the camel.”

“So I have heard, and so examination would convince even one not versed
in natural history. They are much larger than sheep, are powerful and
more intelligent; besides, they can go for a long time without water and
endure as heavy burdens as a mule.”

“I understand that their flesh is good to eat.”

“Yes, it is quite palatable. So the llama is valuable for three
purposes—as a beast of burden, for its long, silken wool, and for its
flesh.”

An hour later Hope-Jones, Ferguson, and Harvey bade the superintendent
good-by, after thanking him for his hospitality, and started on their
journey to the northeast. While in Chicla they had secured canvas for a
shelter-tent. It was unnecessary to carry poles, because these could be
cut each evening; and the additional burden, divided among the three,
was not heavy.

The first day’s travel was uneventful until toward sundown, when snow
commenced to fall, and Harvey for the first time saw the crystal flakes
beneath his feet, and swirling through the air. They had attained quite
an altitude above Chicla, how much higher they did not know, not having
brought instruments. But in the morning they would commence to descend
again to the region of the Montaña, the great table-land valley of Peru
which lies between two parallel spurs of the Andes at an altitude of six
thousand to eight thousand feet—a valley rich with forests and with
smaller vegetation, a valley through which flows the river Marañon, and
is inhabited by the Ayulis Indians; and in this valley somewhere on the
river Marañon, was a great white rock that marked a nature’s storehouse
of gold.

They pitched their shelter-tent, lighted a fire, and ate a hearty supper
of food they had carried from Chicla; then, after talking for an hour,
they went to sleep, lying close together, wrapped in both blankets, for
the night was cold.



                              CHAPTER II.
                          THE MONTAÑA OF PERU.


Early next morning the three adventurers were awakened by a mournful
cry. A long, shrill note sounded near the shelter-tent and was followed
by three others, each deepening in tone. They sat up and rubbed their
eyes, then looked at one another, as if to ask, “What is that?”

Again the long, shrill note, and again the three mournful echoes, each
deeper than the one preceding.

“What a ghostly noise!” said Hope-Jones.

“Oh, I know what it is!” exclaimed Harvey, rising, his face brighter.
“It’s the alma perdida.”

“Alma perdida! That’s the Spanish for ‘lost soul.’”

“Exactly. That’s why the bird has such a name, because of its cry. It’s
an alma perdida—a bird, that is piping so dolefully. Come, see if I am
not correct.”

He pushed aside the flap of the shelter-tent, sprang without, and was
followed by the young men. In the light of early day they saw a little
brown bird, a tuft of red on its head, perched on a scrub bush, not a
hundred yards away. Even as they looked the shrill note was repeated,
and then the doleful ones of deeper sound.

“Shoo!” said Ferguson; and as the bird remained perched on the bush, he
threw a stone. The red-tufted body of brown rose from the branch and
disappeared.

“’Good riddance to bad rubbish,’” said Ferguson. “We don’t want any such
croakers at our feast; which, by the way, reminds me of breakfast.”

“Whew!” exclaimed Harvey. “It’s cold!”

Indeed it was cold for these travellers from the warm coast-belt, the
mercury standing at about thirty-five degrees Fahrenheit.

“Let’s run and get wood for a fire, then we’ll feel warmer,” said
Hope-Jones. “There’s a dwarf tree over there. Surely some dry branches
are beneath it. Now for a two hundred yards’ dash! One! two! three!”

Ferguson won, Hope-Jones second, and Harvey a close third. The run
started their blood well in circulation, and they fell to gathering
chips of bark and dried twigs with a will, returning to the tent each
with an armful. They placed four stones equidistant from a centre, so
that a few inches were between them, and in the spaces piled the wood.

“Be careful with the matches!” said Ferguson. “Only one for a fire.
Harvey, take from your box first.”

The boy stooped over and the two young men stood to the windward of him,
forming a shield. In a few seconds a crackle was heard, then a thin line
of blue smoke rose from between the stones, and tongues of flame licked
the pieces of granite.

“More wood!”

It was added, and in a minute a merry blaze was burning briskly.

They held their hands over the flames, and they stood on the leeward
side, not minding the smoke which blew in their eyes, for the heat was
carried to their bodies, dispelling the chill that had come after the
run. Although the morning was somewhat warmer than had been the evening
before, it was still very cold for these residents of the sandy
coast-line. Here and there patches of snow still lay on the ground, but
the white crystals were fast melting under the glow of coming day. The
sun was not so tardy here as at Chicla, for no high peaks were in the
east, and even as they stood around the fire a shaft of light was thrown
across the valley in which they had rested during the night.

“What shall we have for breakfast?” asked Hope-Jones.

“Fried bacon and corn bread,” promptly answered Ferguson.

“But how shall we cook the bacon?” asked Harvey.

“I’ll show you;” and the Ohioan unstrapped his knapsack and took
therefrom his tin plate, which he placed on the four stones.

“How’s that for a frying pan!”

They had taken certain provisions from Chicla, because the
superintendent said it might be a couple of days before they could reach
that part of the Montaña where game abounded, and the carrying of these
edibles had devolved upon Harvey, his companions having burdened
themselves with the canvas of the shelter-tent. Another minute, and a
fragrant odor came from the dish that was resting over the flame.

“I wish the corn bread could be made hot,” said Harvey, as he proceeded
with the further opening of his knapsack.

“It will be—in a jiffy,” was the reply. “Just clear away some of the
fire on the other side.”

This was done, the sticks and embers being pushed back, and Ferguson
commenced with his jack-knife, hollowing out a space in the thin soil.
Taking Hope-Jones’s and Harvey’s tin plates, he placed the bread between
them, then laying them in the shallow excavation, rims together, he
raked over some earth and on top of this a layer of hot coals.

“By the time the bacon is cooked our bread will be ready,” he added.

While this was being done Hope-Jones had visited a little spring near by
and had filled their cups with sparkling water. Ten minutes later they
were seated around the fire, enjoying the breakfast, and all agreed that
they had never tasted a more appetizing meal.

By half-past seven dishes were washed, the tent taken down, knapsacks
and bundles packed, and they started, with a compass as a guide, toward
the northeast, between two mountain peaks—for in that direction lay the
Montaña. It was easy walking, llama trains having made a pathway, and
the country soon became more regular, for they had passed the region of
gorges, precipices, and chasms; although still among the mountains, the
high peaks towered behind, those in front becoming lower as they
progressed.

They were travelling a down grade, and as they pushed on there were
continual signs of change in the vegetable world. At the point where
they had encamped for the night grew only a few shrubs and dwarf trees,
whose gnarled branches told of a rigorous climate. But soon cacti thrust
their ungainly shapes above ground, the trees became of larger size, and
a long grass commenced to appear. And as above they had walked upon a
gravel, which had crumbled from the rocky mountain side, so further down
appeared a soil richer in alluvium as they proceeded. By eleven o’clock
all the towering mountain peaks were behind them. They were nearing the
table-land country and were among the foothills of the first spurs of
the eastern slope.

“O for a luncheon with potato salad!” exclaimed Harvey.

“Sighing for potatoes in Peru is like sighing for coals in Newcastle,”
said Hope-Jones.

“Why so?”

“Because Peru is the home of the potato. It was first discovered here.
Didn’t you know that?”

“Yes, but I had forgotten it for the moment. One is so accustomed to
terming them ‘Irish potatoes.’”

“Who discovered the vegetable in Peru?” asked Ferguson.

“The Spaniards, in the seventeenth century. Large tracts of land in the
Montaña country were covered with potato fields, and the Indians could
not recall when they had not formed a staple of diet.”

“How did the term Irish potato originate?”

“Sir Walter Raleigh is responsible for that, I believe. The potato was
planted on his estate near Cork and flourished better in that soil than
in any other of Europe.”

The noon hour having arrived and the conversation tending to increase
their hunger, the three adventurers looked about for a spring, and in
the distance seeing a clump of willows and verdure of unusual
brightness, they hastened to the spot and found a little mountain stream
rippling over pebbles. As they approached a number of parakeets flew
away, chattering, their brilliant plumage causing them to appear as
rainbow darts above their heads.

“An ideal spot!” said Hope-Jones.

“And here’s shade. We didn’t want shade this morning, did we?”

“Hardly. But the day has grown warm.”

While speaking they cast knapsacks and burdens one side and threw
themselves down on the grass for a brief rest before preparing the
noonday meal. The murmur of the brook had as an accompaniment the hum of
insects and the piping of finches—for they were nearing the table-land,
which pulsated with life; far different from the drear of the early
morning, which was punctuated only by the doleful notes of the alma
perdida.

“I can almost think myself in an American harvest field,” said Ferguson,
rolling on his back and clasping his hands over his head.

Hope-Jones placed a blade of coarse grass between his thumbs, held
parallel, then blew upon the green strand with all his might.

“What on earth is that?” exclaimed Ferguson, jumping to his feet, and
Harvey came running from the stream.

“You said something about a harvest field, so I stood in the kitchen
door and sounded the horn for dinner,” was the laughing response.

“What shall it be?”

“The same as this morning, with the addition of hard-boiled eggs; that
is, providing Harvey hasn’t broken the eggs.”

“Indeed, I haven’t,” protested the boy, and he commenced to unstrap his
knapsack.

A fire was soon started and the eggs were placed over the flame in a
large tin cup. After being thoroughly boiled, they were put in the
stream to cool, and bacon was fried as in the morning; but the corn
bread was eaten cold, “by way of a variety,” so Ferguson said.

“I hope we may find some game this afternoon,” said Harvey, as he
cracked an egg-shell on his heel.

“We undoubtedly shall, for it cannot be far to the Montaña proper.”

An hour later they resumed their burdens, and with swinging steps
continued on down the hillside. The grass became more profuse, and soon
formed a velvet carpet under the feet. It was dotted with the chilca
plant, which bears a bright yellow flower, of the same color as the
North American dandelion; and in places could be seen the mutisia
acuminata, with beautiful orange and red flowers, and bushes that bore
clusters of red berries.

“The landscape is becoming gorgeous,” said Hope-Jones.

Trees were now larger, and vines of the semi-tropics clung to the trunks
and to the branches. Little streams were of frequency, all running
toward the east instead of to the west, as had been observed when on the
other side of the cordillera; and so, late in the afternoon, the sun
commenced to go down behind the hills, which seemed strange to those who
were accustomed to see it sink in the ocean.

“Sh!” exclaimed Hope-Jones, suddenly, then—“Drop down, fellows!”

They sank into the grass.

“What is it?” asked Harvey.

“Look over there, in that clump of trees.”

They saw something moving under the branches, then a form stood still.

“It’s a deer. I suppose it’s the Peruvian taruco. Can you bring it down
at this distance, Ferguson? If we go nearer, we shall probably see our
supper bound away.”

“I’ll try, but it’s a good range; almost six hundred yards, don’t you
think?”

“All of that.”

“Then I’ll adjust the sights for seven hundred.”

He threw himself flat on the grass, pushed his rifle before him, resting
the barrel on a stone, took aim for a minute, then fired. The deer
sprang into the open, gave a second bound, rising from all four hoofs,
and, twisting convulsively, fell dead.

“Bravo! At the first shot!” yelled Hope-Jones, and jumping up, he ran
forward, closely followed by the others.

“What shall we do now?” asked Harvey.

“Fortunately I hunted quite a little when a lad in the States,” said
Ferguson, whipping out a long knife and cutting the animal’s throat. “In
a half hour we can skin it,” he added.

“Say, fellows, I have an idea. What better place can we camp than here?”
asked Hope-Jones.

They were near a grove of tall trees, the bark of which was white, and
in marked contrast with the dense green foliage. These were the palo de
sangre, or blood-wood of the upper Marañon, from which is taken timber
of a red color that is fine-grained, hard, and receives a good polish.
The trees were not many in number, but they arched over a little brook,
and tall grass grew between the trunks.

“It’s a splendid spot,” replied Ferguson, “and I have another plan to
add as an amendment to yours.”

“What’s that?”

“To remain here all to-morrow.”

“And lose a day?”

“No; I think we should gain thereby. I confess that I’m dead tired. The
first day’s tramp always tells the most. Besides, we had a wearisome
trip on the railroad, and for a week before leaving Callao we were
continually on the jump. So a day’s rest from tramping will do us all
good; but I don’t mean to idle away the time, for we can find plenty to
do.”

“What, for instance?”

“Cut up that deer and smoke some strips of the flesh to carry with us.
We may not always be so lucky, and smoked venison isn’t at all bad when
one’s hungry.”

The amendment was accepted, and they at once went into camp.

It lacked two hours of sundown. The air was pleasant and warm, and the
sweet odor from flowers was carried to their nostrils by a light breeze.
Hope-Jones cleared a space for the tent and cut props for the canvas.
Harvey fetched water from the brook and gathered firewood; and Ferguson,
rolling up his sleeves, commenced to skin the deer, then cut a large
steak from the loin. In an hour a bed of live coals was glowing, and,
using a ramrod for a spit, the Ohioan commenced to broil the venison.
Soon savory odors rose, and Hope-Jones and Harvey stood quite near,
smacking their lips.

“This is the best dinner I ever ate in my life,” said the boy fifteen
minutes later, as he sat on the log of a tree, his tin dish between his
knees.

They crawled into the shelter-tent early that evening, right glad to
rest, and the two young men were soon in dreamland. But Harvey tossed
about uneasily and his eyes refused to close; he was too tired to sleep.
For a long time he lay awake, listening to the monotonous notes of the
yucahualpa, which sings only at night, and at last, the tent becoming
oppressive, he took his blankets and stole quietly without. It was
bright with starlight, but there was no moon. A breeze from the west
moved the broad leaves of the blood-wood trees, and the sound of their
rustling was like the roar of breakers on a distant beach.

The boy stepped to a fallen tree, from the trunk of which branches
protruded, but the leaves were gone. Wrapping one blanket completely
around him, he lay down, his head resting in a fork several inches above
the ground; then he drew the other blanket over him and the next minute
was asleep.



                              CHAPTER III.
                          A SNAKE AND A PUMA.


“Where’s Harvey?”

Hope-Jones, aroused by Ferguson, rose to an upright position and looked
around. The flap of the shelter-tent had been thrown back, and the gray
light of early morning was stealing in.

“Not here? Perhaps he has gone to the brook.”

“Yes; probably for a bath. I guess I’ll follow him.”

They lazily drew on their knickerbockers, laced their shoes, and went
outside, yawning as they stepped on the grass, for the sleep was still
in their eyes. The next instant their attitude changed—from heavy with
drowsiness every sense became alert, every muscle contracted and their
nerves throbbed, their cheeks from red turned ashen pale. For Ferguson
had clutched Hope-Jones’s arm and had whispered, “Look!”

A hundred yards from where they stood lay Harvey, sound asleep, his head
resting in the fork of a fallen tree and his face upturned. Two feet
above this upturned face—a handsome, manly face—something was waving to
and fro like a naked branch throbbed by the wind; only this something
moved with a more undulating motion. It was a snake. The body was coiled
around the limb of the tree that rose from the fork, and the flat head
and neck waved at right angles.

“Sh! It may strike if alarmed!”

Both men sank to their knees.

“What’s it waiting for?” whispered Hope-Jones.

“I don’t know.”

“What can we do? Shall I risk a shot?”

“No. Your gun would scatter and perhaps hit Harvey. We must try the
rifle.”

“You do it, then. I never could hit that target.”

“I’ll try,” said Ferguson, clenching his teeth; and he crawled quickly
into the tent, and, returning with the weapon, threw himself flat on the
grass in the position he had taken the evening before while aiming at
the deer.

The light had grown, so that twigs on trees stood out plainly. They
could see that the snake was of a brown-green, the head very flat, and
in and out between the jaws moved a thin tongue, vibrating as does a
tightly stretched string that has been pulled with the fingers.

“Why don’t you fire?” whispered Hope-Jones, who had thrown himself down
beside Ferguson.

“Wait. I can’t hit that. No one could.”

The day was growing fast. Harvey slept without moving, and above his
face, no nearer and no farther away, moved the flat head with
pendulum-like regularity.

All at once, a ray of light glanced from the rising sun through the
trees and fell on the face of the sleeping boy—a line of golden light,
reaching from forehead to chin. Harvey moved. That instant, the flat
head ceased swaying, the portion of the body free from the tree arched
itself like the neck of a swan and the snake was immovable, poised to
strike. But before the fangs could be plunged into the victim, a rifle
rang out, and the snake fell forward, writhing, upon the neck and
shoulders of the boy, and he, at a bound, freed himself from the
blankets and started for the woods on a run, yelling: “I’m shot! I’m
shot!”

Hope-Jones and Ferguson followed and caught up with him at the edge of
the brook. Beads of perspiration were standing out on his forehead, and
his face was pale.

“Where are you hurt, Harvey?” asked Ferguson, anxiously.

He looked at them in amazement, for as a fact he had just awakened. The
yell and the exclamation were only part of a nightmare, which had been
caused by the discharge of the firearm.

Meanwhile Hope-Jones was feeling of him carefully, his arms, his body,
and examining his head and neck.

“He’s as sound as a dollar,” he finally said.

“Of course I am,” Harvey replied rather sheepishly. “What’s all the row
about, anyway?”

“Come, we’ll show you,” and the young men led him back to the tree and
pointed to the dead snake.

Harvey did not understand even then what the scene meant. He saw his
blankets lying to one side, where he had tossed them, and he saw the
reptile in the place where he had slept. Then Hope-Jones related what
had happened, and the lad turned pale again when the Englishman ended by
saying:—

“Had not Ferguson’s aim been true you would be a dead boy, because I can
recognize this snake as of a poisonous species, although I do not know
the name.”

He turned the broad head over, and it was seen that the rifle bullet had
entered the mouth and shattered the upper fang.

Harvey was silent for several minutes while Ferguson stooped over and
measured the reptile, announcing that it was seven feet two inches long;
then the boy said:—

“I can never, never find words to thank you.”

“Don’t mention that, Harvey,” was the reply, “but remember and keep with
us at night. We’re in a strange land now, and there’s no telling what we
may meet.”

“I suppose we have all been careless,” said Hope-Jones. “Back in the
sierra there was no animal life, except the llama and a few goats; we
are in the Montaña now and it’s different. However, let’s change the
subject and have breakfast.”

The fire was lighted, another venison steak was cooked, and with it they
ate the last of the corn bread. After breakfast Ferguson set to work on
the deer, cutting the flesh into strips, and while he was doing this
Hope-Jones and Harvey, following his direction, built a little
smoke-house with three boughs and started a slow fire within. Later the
strips of flesh were hung on pieces of twine that had been stretched
across the top, and the place was closed, except for a small opening,
through which the fire could be replenished during the day. After this
the three went to the brook side and washed such clothing as was
necessary, which was hung on bushes to dry.

The noonday meal consisted of fried eggs and cold venison; then, after
tending the fire in the smoke-house once more, the three lay down for a
siesta. The afternoon was quite warm, the drone of insects could be
heard, and they had a refreshing sleep for two hours.

But the sun was not to set without further adventure, which, like that
of the morning, brought in its train a lesson to the three who were
unaccustomed to the wilds of the Peruvian interior. Harvey, who was the
first to awaken, believed that he might find some wild fruit in a clump
of trees which grew about a quarter of a mile to the east, and so he
left the camp at three o’clock and soon crossed the open space. He found
himself in a little grove, the size of that in which the tent was
pitched. But the trees, which had appeared different at a distance, were
the same, and, disappointed, he was about to return, when his attention
was attracted by a purring sound, like that made by kittens when their
backs are stroked; and looking down he saw, almost beneath his feet,
three little animals that were at play, catching each other with their
paws by the tails and ears, and rolling over and over. They were not
much taller than kittens, but were more plump, and their bodies were
broader. The hair was a brownish yellow, spotted with brown of a deeper
tint, and their little tails were ringed with the same color.

The boy watched them a few minutes, then thinking what a surprise he
could give Hope-Jones and Ferguson, he lifted one in his arms. It was
quite heavy and gave forth a peculiar whine when taken from its
companions. Harvey held it close and started back to the camp, walking
briskly.

He had gone about a hundred yards when there came from behind him a
hideous howl that made his heart jump into his throat and his hair stand
on end, while chill after chill passed down his spinal column. Glancing
over his shoulder he saw an animal bounding after him, mouth wide open
and foam dropping from yellow fangs. It was the size of a lion. Giving a
scream, the boy started toward camp at a speed he had never equalled.
For a few seconds he was so dizzy from fright that he seemed to be
floating in air. Every muscle was stretched to its utmost, and he bent
far forward, calling at the top of his voice, in the hope that his
companions might hear.

Another awful howl sounded, this time nearer, and he could hear the
footfalls of the animal close behind; the next second he could hear it
panting, and then, just as he felt that the next breath would be his
last, reason came to him, and he dropped the little animal which,
without thinking, he had held tight in his arms.

The instant he did so the footfalls ceased and the panting grew less
distinct. He cast a swift glance over his shoulder and saw that the
animal had stopped beside her cub and was walking round and round the
little yellow creature and licking it. The sight gave him hope, and he
ran on toward the camp, ran as he had not even when that terrible
breathing was so close, for then fear had partly benumbed him and at
times he had staggered.

He was halfway between the groves when the animal’s cry sounded again
and acted on him like the spur on a horse. He glanced back. The creature
had left her cub.

“Perhaps she thinks I have another one of her pups,” was the thought
that flashed through Harvey’s mind, and the inspiration came to dash his
hat to the ground, which he did, and a few seconds later he looked back
over his shoulder once more. Yes, the animal had stopped, but only for
an instant, to sniff the piece of woollen, and then had bounded forward.

The boy plainly saw the tent ahead, but he could not make out the figure
of a person near the canvas. Where were Hope-Jones and Ferguson? Could
he reach the grove? But of what use to do so, unless they were there to
aid him? His heart beat wildly; perspiration flooded his face and stood
out in cold beads; he felt cold all over, although he was running at a
speed that should have given him fever heat, and the day was very warm.

At that instant a man appeared near the tent, and Harvey gave a yell
such as he had never uttered. The man stood out plainly in the afternoon
light, and Harvey saw him turn. Simultaneously he heard the footfalls of
the animal and the hoarse panting. The grove was near, the tent was
near, the man was near, and he was immediately joined by another. They
were waving to him. What could they mean?

It was a signal, but he did not understand. The heavy breathing came
nearer and nearer. The men were running toward him, throwing their hands
out to the left. All at once he understood, and he darted to one side.
The second after he did so the crash of a rifle rang out, then the
deeper sound of a shot-gun.

When Harvey looked up again Hope-Jones was pouring water on his head and
Ferguson was saying:—

“It’s a puma and of the largest size!”

“Well, young man, have you had enough adventures for one day?” asked the
Englishman, when the boy sat upright.

“I guess I have,” he replied in a somewhat dazed voice.

“You tackled quite a contract over there,” said Ferguson. “How did it
happen?”

Harvey told them, stopping now and then during the narrative, for he was
not yet wholly over his fear, nor had he quite recovered his breath.

“I guess you will keep close to us in the daytime as well as at night,”
said Ferguson, when he had finished.

“Yes, I think I shall,” the lad said somewhat dismally. “What was it you
said chased me?”

“A puma of the largest species. Do you wish to see it?” and Ferguson led
the way a few steps to the right where the carcass of the animal lay in
the long grass.

Its legs were drawn up close to the body, proof that it had died in a
convulsion, and Harvey shuddered as he looked at the long, sharp claws
that protruded from soft, spongelike feet. These were the feet he had
heard striking the ground in pursuit. The puma somewhat resembled a
leopard, and measured forty-five inches from the nose to the root of the
tail, and the tail was as long as the body. The head was rather small,
the ears large and rounded. The skin was a tawny, yellowish brown, and
the lower part of the body a dirty white.

“Ugh!” exclaimed Harvey, shuddering.

They walked back to camp. After supper Ferguson said:—

“I move we adopt a couple of rules, to apply for the remainder of the
journey.”

“What are they?” asked Hope-Jones.

“First, that we keep within hailing distance of one another.

“Second, that one of us always has a gun in hand.”

“Agreed,” said the Englishman, and Harvey nodded his head in approval.



                              CHAPTER IV.
                         IN THE COILS OF A BOA.


“Cross the mountains to Oroya, then go north to Huari, and in three days
you will reach the great forest of cinchona trees,” repeated Hope-Jones,
quoting old Huayno.

“Yes, but we have gone around Oroya, as advised by the superintendent,”
said Ferguson.

“That’s why we have kept a northeast instead of a north course.”

“We should sight Huari to-morrow.”

“Yes. We should.”

It was the fifth day of their journey from Chicla, and they were
plodding along in a rain, rubber coats buttoned close to the chin. The
llama path was very narrow and wound in and out among tropic verdure.
Everything was dripping with moisture, large drops rolling from palm
leaves, bushes throwing spray as they were released after being pushed
one side by the pedestrians, and the long grass wound around their
stockings until they became wringing wet. It had been impossible to
light a fire at noon, and so they had dined on strips of smoked venison.

“We must find some dry wood to-night and hang our clothing near a
blaze,” said Harvey. The next minute he had darted ahead, then to one
side.

“Remember rule number one!” called out Ferguson.

“All right,” came back the answer.

They caught up with the lad in a minute, and found him standing under a
clump of trees that were about fifteen feet in height and which had
broad, flat tops. As they neared the spot a fragrance as of incense was
borne to their nostrils through the rain.

“Here’s a feast after all the dried deer meat!” called the boy, who had
hung his knapsack on a branch, placed his shot-gun against the trunk of
the tree, and was already climbing.

“What is he after?” asked Hope-Jones.

“I’m sure I don’t know. What have you found, Harvey?” called Ferguson.

“Chirimoyas.”

“Then we’re in luck. My mouth waters at the very thought of the fruit.
But I never saw the tree before,” he said, looking up at their young
companion.

“The trees grow in plenty of places near Lima,” Harvey replied. “I
recognized them at once from a distance. Here, catch!”

The fruit he dropped down was heart-shaped, green, and covered with
black knobs and scales, much as is a pineapple, and was about two-thirds
the size of the latter.

When Harvey had detached a half dozen he descended, and despite the
inclement weather they sat down for a feast, this being the first of
fruit or fresh vegetable they had tasted since leaving Chicla.

Although it was damp no rain fell on the place where they rested, for
the broad leaves of the trees were so interlaced as to form a natural
umbrella that made a perfect watershed.

The skin of the chirimoya is thick and tough, and their jack-knives were
called into use, but once within the shell a treat indeed was found.
Internally the fruit is snowy white and juicy, and embedded within the
pulp are many seeds, but these are as easily removed as are the seeds of
a watermelon.

“My, this is delicious!” said Harvey, smacking his lips.

“Picking chirimoyas from trees is better sport than picking up puma cubs
from beneath them, is it not?” asked Hope-Jones.

“Somewhat,” said the lad, as he buried his face in the fruit and took so
large a mouthful that his cheeks were distended.

“Be careful lest you choke,” warned Hope-Jones; then turning to Ferguson
he asked:—

“How would you describe the flavor should you wish to do so to a person
at home?”

“I couldn’t. It is finer than the pineapple, more luscious than the best
strawberry, and richer than the peach. There is no fruit with which I
could make comparison. Can you think of any?”

“No.”

They enjoyed the repast with which nature had provided them, then
Ferguson urged that they take up their march again.

“What’s the matter with remaining here?” Harvey asked.

“It’s too damp. We all would have colds in the morning. No, we must find
a dry spot, even if we have to keep going till late at night. As it is,
perhaps we had better each take a couple of quinine pills. Here, I will
stand treat,” and he commenced to unstrap his knapsack.

“Chirimoyas for the first course and quinine for the second,” remarked
Harvey. “Who wouldn’t call that a genuine Peruvian meal?”

Then they resumed their way in the rain, which continued falling
heavily, dripping from the trees overhead.

Since morning they had been descending into a valley that was lower than
any part of the Montaña which they had as yet traversed; indeed, they
were at an altitude of only five thousand feet above sea level; and as
they were on the eastern slope, where there is no trade wind to cool the
air, the temperature had become tropical.

Soon the path would mount again, and a climb of three thousand feet was
in front before Huari could be reached; but for the time being they were
threading a region that was as dense with vegetation as that which
borders the Amazon. Huge vines and creepers almost hid the trees from
view, and green moss hung in long festoons. In places were groves of
palms, in others trees of wondrous growth that were completely covered
with brilliant scarlet flowers. Occasionally, between branches, they saw
rare orchids.

In the jungle at the sides of the path could be heard the croaking of
frogs, and on the bark of trees sounded the sharp notes of woodpeckers.
At times a brilliant-colored snake crawled across the path. But they saw
little else of animal life, although the occasional rustle of leaves
ahead told that something savage had slunk away.

“Probably a puma,” said Hope-Jones once, when they had stopped to
listen, and had brought their guns into position. “But there is no cause
for alarm. A puma rarely attacks a man unless brought to bay, or
unless,” and he cast a side glance at Harvey, “some enterprising person
endeavors to kidnap a cub.”

“Will you ever forget that?” asked the boy, and they laughed.

Since the day of the lad’s dual adventures little of moment had befallen
the travellers. They had remained in company, and at night had selected
spots in scant groves, which they had inspected thoroughly before
pitching the shelter-tent. They were cautious during the day as well. As
for human beings, two or three Indians had been met, but they were
stupid specimens, who did not speak Spanish, and who manifested little
curiosity at meeting a white man.

“They are a sneaky lot,” Ferguson had said. “Notice how low their brows
are and how narrow the forehead.”

At times they saw a hut perched on a hill above the roadway, but they
did not care to investigate, and passed them by. These places of
habitation were constructed somewhat like the North American Indian’s
tepee, of boughs wound with animal hides.

But this all had been at a higher altitude. In the valley which they now
trod, and which was a tropic jungle, there was no sign of man save the
narrow path—and the path at times was almost lost to sight in the dense
growth—which told that occasionally llama trains passed that way.

Toward four o’clock in the afternoon they reached the lowest part of the
valley, and at that hour the clouds cleared away and the sun came out,
causing the leaves to glisten as if studded with diamonds, and the air
became heavy with the perfume of flowers and the exudations from plants
and vines.

Coaxed by the sun, hundreds of butterflies drifted lazily from the sides
of the jungle and moved as if borne by light currents of air from flower
to flower. Some were white, their large wings dotted with golden yellow;
others were purple, fringed with black; others the color of the
dandelion, and still others were crimson. In and out, between these
slow-moving seekers of perfume, darted hummingbirds like dashes of
many-colored lightning, and the torn air sounded a faint note as they
passed. This sunlight also brought lizards of many hues into its warmth,
and chameleons which when prodded changed color, from green to red or to
purple, depending upon the stage of anger. Meanwhile the atmosphere grew
heavier with the tropic odors which the warm rain had coaxed from the
vegetation.

“My, but I’m sleepy!” said Hope-Jones.

“So am I,” answered Harvey, who was bending over his knapsack and
placing therein the rubber coat, of which he stood no longer in need.
“Can’t we camp hereabout?”

[Illustration: “Ran ... to the side of his friend, whom he seized by the
collar.”]

“Miasma! chills! fever!”

“What’s that, Mr. Ferguson?”

“I said miasma, chills, and fever. That’s what would befall us should we
remain here for a night. Beyond,” and he pointed to the hill that rose
on the other side of the valley, “we shall doubtless find a place for
the tent. However, we may as well rest here a bit, and I spy a seat over
there which I propose to occupy.”

Saying this he cast aside his knapsack and rifle, then walked ahead a
few yards and to one side, where he dropped upon what appeared to be a
mass of twisted vine, as large as the limbs of the average tree.

The instant that Ferguson sank into the seat, Hope-Jones, who had been
looking ahead curiously, let fall everything that he had in hand or on
his back, and springing from Harvey’s side with a bound, ran as if on a
race-course to the side of his friend, whom he seized by the collar and
not only lifted to an upright position, but threw with all the strength
he possessed to the ground, by the path side, and ended by catching him
by the legs and dragging him some distance.

Ferguson was very quick-tempered, and the moment he jumped to his feet
he darted at his companion with his fist clenched, roaring out at the
top of his voice:—

“I’ll fix you! What do you mean? That wasn’t any joke.”

Harvey had run up, and he sprang between the young men, wondering what
had caused this; and a glance at Hope-Jones’s face surprised him the
more, for it was pale as that of a corpse, whereas Ferguson’s was red,
and he was blowing with indignation.

“I’ll teach you!” he repeated. “Get out of the way, Harvey.”

But Hope-Jones had found his voice by this time, and instead of
resenting his friend’s language he gasped: “It’s a boa! It’s a boa!”

“What’s a boa?” and Ferguson glanced around.

“You sat down on a boa! It’s coiled up over there!”

Then the young man who had been dragged along the path so ruthlessly
turned as pale as had his companion, and so did the lad who had
endeavored to act as peacemaker. Meanwhile the three were retreating
rapidly to the point where they had dropped their knapsacks and rifles.

“A boa!” repeated Ferguson. “I can hardly believe it!”

“Yes. I once saw one coiled up like that in a menagerie, and the thought
that your seat was alive came to me the instant you sat down. As I drew
near I made out the scales, which resemble the bark on a tree, and I
also saw the head. Its eyes are closed, and it’s evidently in a torpor
after gorging. You sat right down in the coils, and it’s a wonder it
didn’t wake and squeeze the life out of you.”

Ferguson shuddered, then throwing an arm around his chum’s shoulder, he
said:—

“Forgive me, old man.”

“Why, of course. I don’t blame you in the least. I wouldn’t have blamed
you if you had struck me. In which case we would have fought and
afterward would have discussed matters. I expected as much the moment I
laid a hand on you, but there wasn’t time for explanations at that stage
of the game.”

“I should say not.”

They resumed their burdens and walked forward again along the footpath,
but they kept at a respectful distance from his majesty the snake, which
remained as when first spied by Ferguson, motionless.

“I don’t wonder that I was fooled,” said he, halting for a look at the
enormous reptile. “It looks exactly like branches or a huge vine coiled;
now, doesn’t it?”

“Yes, it does,” assented Harvey, “but down below I can see the head.
What enormous jaws!”

“Like a shark’s.”

“And they say that the jaws will stretch still wider, for they are
fastened together by ligaments that are as elastic as rubber.”

“Yes, they will stretch so that it can swallow a young deer.”

“Perhaps that’s what it’s gorging on now.”

“Perhaps. You notice that hump below the neck? That’s as far as the prey
has moved down toward the creature’s stomach.”

“Are you going to try a shot?”

“No, Harvey. Why should I? The boa hasn’t harmed us, and should I only
wound it, one of us might suffer, for it’s said they move with wonderful
rapidity for a short distance.”

“Would it not be a good plan to hasten and climb the hill yonder?”
suggested Hope-Jones. “It won’t be safe to sleep in this valley
to-night, and goodness only knows what we’ll stumble over next.”

The others evidently thought so also, for they quickened their pace, and
giving the boa a wide berth they pushed ahead. An hour later they were
threading their way by the side of a little stream up the hillside.
After walking some distance Harvey said:—

“Mr. Ferguson?”

“Yes, my lad.”

“Are you going to quiz me any more about that puma cub?”

“No, Harvey. I’ll call the account square, if you will.”

Hope-Jones laughed. “It looks very much as though I should have plenty
of amusement with both——”

Ferguson and Harvey stood stock still. Hope-Jones had vanished from
sight.



                               CHAPTER V.
            HUARI, AND THE STORY OF THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTESS.


“B-r-r-r-r!” came a voice.

“What on earth has happened?” asked Ferguson, in amazement, bending over
a large hole that had suddenly yawned at their feet.

“B-r-r-r! Help me out, fellows! I’m stifling!”

They threw themselves face down at the edge of the cavity, and reached
their hands below, but could not feel anything.

“Quick, Harvey! Give me the pick! Catch that, old man!” he called,
pushing the iron arms into the opening. A pressure was felt and a hoarse
voice replied:—

“That’ll help. I can crawl up the side that slopes.”

The next minute Hope-Jones was with them again, blowing dirt from his
mouth and saying unpleasant things about the animal that had dug the
hole at the path side. His ears were filled with loam, black earth had
sifted back of his shirt collar, and such hair as projected beneath his
cap was tangled with the soil. As for his clothing, it was streaked.
Fortunately, his shot-gun, knapsack, and pick remained fastened to his
back, and although dirty, he was none the loser because of his drop
below the surface. Ferguson and Harvey brushed him off as best they
could, then the three resumed their way up the hill.

“I didn’t see any hole,” remarked the Englishman, a few minutes later.

“It was at the side of the path; most of it in the jungle, and leaves
had fallen over the edge,” Ferguson replied.

“Mr. Hope-Jones?”

“Yes, Harvey.”

“Will you cry quits on the puma cub?”

“Certainly, my lad.”

“Hope-Jones!”

“Yes, Ferguson, I know what you are about to say. Boa, puma cub, and
holes are barred subjects evermore.”

And they shook hands in a chain.

The path ascended rapidly and the vegetation became less tangled as the
travellers proceeded; so too the atmosphere grew somewhat more bracing,
for the heavy odor of the valley did not mount to any height. With the
setting of the sun the new moon shone for several hours above the
horizon, and the silvery rays from the crescent, together with the
starlight, illumined their way so they were able to make rapid progress
until about ten o’clock, when the ground becoming quite dry—for the rain
of the valley had not extended this far—they pitched the shelter-tent
and built a rousing fire, near which they placed their damp clothing.
Toward midnight they turned in “tired to the bone,” as Harvey expressed
it, and none awakened until the sun was two hours’ high. Then, looking
down into the valley, they saw a billowy mist, which completely hid even
the tallest trees.

“There’s miasma for you!” exclaimed Ferguson, pointing to the vapor. “As
we passed through it, perhaps we should take some more quinine.”

They acted on the suggestion, then, after a hurried breakfast, set off
on the road again, for they were anxious to reach Huari that day, and
the morning start had been late. The road was up grade until the noon
hour, then became level again, and the vegetation was the same as on the
other side of the valley, before they had plunged into the riot of
undergrowth. Toward three o’clock they saw smoke rising lazily ahead and
concluded they must be nearing a town. A half hour later they came upon
a number of huts on the outskirts. Fields of maize and cotton were under
cultivation, and brown men, half naked, were at work in them with
primitive tools—ploughs that were but sharpened boughs of the ironwood
tree, trimmed wedge-shaped, and drawn by small oxen; shovels made from
the same wood; and other agricultural implements with which they were
strangers, fashioned from stones that had been worn to sharp edges. All
the men wore beards, some quite long.

The huts became more numerous, and naked little children, standing in
the doorways or running about in the narrow streets, stared at the
travellers, while the older boys and girls, who wore loin cloths or
skins of animals fastened as tunics, called in the Indian tongue to
persons who were within the dwellings. They met few men and fewer women;
the better class of the former wore trousers and a poncho (a blanket
with a hole cut in the middle, through which the head is thrust, and
which falls over the shoulders); whereas the poorer class were content
with the upper dress that came to the ankles: but the women wore gowns
of gorgeous color, though they were ill-shapen and no attempt was made
to fit the figure.

The travellers neared the centre of the town before they met a “white
man,” or one who did not belong to the Indian race. His features were
proof that he or his ancestors had come from a foreign land, being in
marked contrast with the thick, stubby nose, narrow forehead, and broad
lips of the Ayulis. Hope-Jones doffed his cap and addressed him in
Spanish.

The Peruvian, who had been staring at them since they had come in sight,
at once joined them, and not only shook hands, but placed his right arm
around the shoulders of each in turn, patting him on the back, meanwhile
speaking rapidly, with much sibilation of the s’s and rolling of the
r’s, conveying in the most flowery language his delight at their visit.

So they had journeyed all the way from Lima! How tired they must be! But
what matter? He had comfortable beds at his house and they must rest for
a week, or a month if necessary, and be his guest the while. What, could
only remain one night? Surely, they would be courting illness by thus
hurrying along. No matter, he would speak of that later. They must
accompany him now.

He placed his hand in Hope-Jones’s arm, and gathering his poncho, which
was quite long, much as a woman would her skirts, he turned in the
direction from which he had come and led the way, explaining as they
walked that there were few white men in Huari, “and,” he added, “some of
them you would not wish to meet.”

At the word “bed” Harvey had become very much interested, so, for that
matter, had Ferguson and Hope-Jones, and they were not at all loath to
accept the invitation which had been so insistently given.

After travelling five minutes and entering what was evidently the better
section of the Montaña town, they stopped before a one-story building,
bordered by verandas, that was spread out over much ground and was
surrounded by fruit trees. It was the most imposing structure they had
yet seen in the village, though, like others, it was built of adobe,
reënforced with bamboo.

The host and his companions were met by an Indian woman, who appeared to
be of better class than those the travellers had seen on the streets,
and she was presented to them as Señora Cisneros. Her greeting was
spoken in excellent Spanish, and although not quite as demonstrative as
her husband’s, it was none the less sincere. The travellers were led to
two connecting rooms, and after discarding their burdens and returning
to the cool veranda, they were asked if they would not like to drink
some cold coffee.

“We have learned the art of coffee-making from the Brazilians,” said
Señor Cisneros, “and, believe me, the beverage is better cold than hot.
Would you like to observe our arrangement? But perhaps you are tired?”

Hope-Jones confessed that he was tired, but Ferguson and Harvey
manifested interest in the Brazilians’ teachings; so while the
Englishman remained on the veranda, chatting with the señora, the two
young Americans accompanied the host to the rear of the house and into
an arbor that was covered with trailing vines. It was a cool spot, far
enough from buildings to be affected by all breezes, and in the centre
stood an immense earthen vessel, the height of a man and at least four
feet in circumference. A foot and a half from the bottom was a spigot.

“This jar is made of porous clay,” said the señor, tapping the vessel,
“and as a slight amount of the liquid filters through, evaporation cools
its contents. Once every three months we boil coffee by the barrel. It
is poured in here, permitted to settle for a week, and all sediment goes
to the bottom. You will notice that I draw the liquid from some distance
above,” and he placed a pitcher beneath the spigot, turning which, a
dark, clear liquid flowed.

“Taste it?” and he filled a small cup, then another. “Is it not cold?”
he added.

Ferguson and Harvey found the beverage delicious, and expressed wonder
that it could be coffee.

“Wait until some sugar is added,” said the Peruvian, as pitcher in hand
he led the way back to the house.

For a half hour they rested on the veranda, sipping cold coffee
sweetened with brown sugar, and eating paltas, which Señora Cisneros had
placed on a little table. They related their adventures to host and
hostess, and, without revealing their reason for visiting the interior,
told that they were in search of gold.

Señor Cisneros shook his head. “Perhaps there is gold,” he said, “but I
have found no trace of any.”

Then he told that for years he had been engaged in silver-mining, and
that his llama trains passed over the road which they had travelled.

“When the railroad pierces the interior,” he continued, “there will be
much profit made by those who extract metals from the ground, but with
the present method of transportation one does well to gain a
livelihood.”

The señora was very anxious to hear about Lima. She had been there once,
but only for a few days, soon after her marriage.

After a time the host ordered hammocks swung on the veranda, and in
these Hope-Jones, Ferguson, and Harvey rested until a few minutes before
dinner. It seemed good to sit down in chairs, at a table, and to taste
other food than the game and fruits of the woods, to say nothing of
having crockery dishes to eat from instead of the tin plates. They were
early in bed, and after a refreshing night’s sleep between sheets,
which, though coarse, were cool and clean, they awoke with renewed
determination to continue their journey.

But while they were enjoying more of the señor’s delicious coffee—heated
this time—rain commenced to fall; huge drops came in sheets and leaden
clouds hung low; so they were nothing loath to accept an urgent
invitation to remain another day and night. Señora Cisneros, learning of
the scant stock of clothing they had taken with them, insisted upon
overhauling their knapsacks, and she passed several hours of the morning
with needle and thread, darning and mending. In the afternoon she packed
them some food from her well-stocked larder, sufficient to last and add
variation to their mountain bill of fare for several days.

The next morning dawned warm and bright, and the adventurers started
early, after thanking host and hostess time and again; and they promised
themselves the pleasure of a longer visit on their return. They were
passing from the town and were waving their caps to Señor Cisneros, who
had accompanied them to the outskirts, when Ferguson said:—

“He’s a splendid fellow. I wish he were going with us.”

“So do I,” said Hope-Jones. “He would be a jolly companion.”

Harvey came suddenly to a halt.

“What’s the matter,” the young men asked.

“I happened to think of something. Cisneros is a miner.”

“Yes.”

“And he knows this country.”

“Yes.”

“He’s honest.”

“He has every appearance of being so. What are you driving at?”

“And he told us that his silver mines were not paying very well,”
persisted the boy.

“Yes.”

“If we find gold we’re going to find a great deal, are we not?”

“So old Huayno said. But why are you wasting time standing here and
asking all these questions?”

“Because I move we turn back.”

“Turn back! Why?”

“And ask Señor Cisneros to join us.”

“Tell him the secret?”

“Yes, and take him in on shares. One quarter for each.”

Ferguson slapped his hand on his thigh. “Bully for you, Harvey! That’s a
splendid idea. I wonder it never came to me.”

“It never entered my mind until the last time he waved his hat,” said
the boy, looking pleased at the approval he had been given, for
Hope-Jones had spoken as warmly in favor of the project as had the
American; and the three at once commenced to retrace their footsteps.
They found their erstwhile host on the veranda of his home, bidding
adieu to his wife, for he had planned a trip to a neighboring village.

“Take him one side and explain, Ferguson,” whispered Hope-Jones.

“I am delighted that you are returning,” he called out when they
appeared. “Thought you would rest a little longer?”

“No, señor; thank you. We wished to consult with you regarding a certain
matter. Will you go for a short walk with me?” asked the elder American.

“With pleasure,” and he led the way back of the house, to the arbor,
while Hope-Jones and Harvey remained on the veranda with the señora, who
looked at them curiously, wondering of course what it meant, but she
politely refrained from asking questions.

The two were absent about a half hour, and when they came in sight again
Ferguson nodded his head, as if to say, “He will go,” and the señor
grasped each of them by a hand.

“Pardon me, but I must immediately tell my wife of this extraordinary
news,” said he. “You need have no fear. My secrets are safe with her,”
and the two passed into the house.

“So he’ll go?”

“I should say so. You should have seen his eyes glisten. He believes
that every word old Huayno uttered is true; says he’s heard legends of
this sort, but no one was ever able to locate the mine. All stories
agree, however, that it is beyond the cinchona trees.”

“It was a capital thought, that of Harvey’s! I wonder how long it will
be before he can accompany us?”

The señor answered the question in person, reappearing just then and
saying, “I shall be able to leave in an hour, if you wish to start that
soon.”

“In an hour?”

“Yes,” he replied, smiling. “I am accustomed to long journeys and am
always ready for departure. The señora is even now placing my things in
order.”

So it happened that at nine o’clock they again departed from Huari, but
this time they were four in number, instead of three. When beyond the
confines of the village the travellers from the coast were surprised at
being addressed by their new friend in the English tongue.

“I did not know you could speak our language,” exclaimed Ferguson.

“It has been long since I have used it,” was the reply, “or I should
have a better accent and vocabulary. For ten years, until I was
seventeen, I lived in New York City; but that was thirty-five years ago,
and since then I have only met Englishmen and Americans occasionally.”

“Why didn’t you let us know before that you could speak English?”

“Because you are excellent Spanish scholars; and as my wife has not
enjoyed the same advantages that I have, I prefer to converse in the
tongue with which she is familiar. Now that we are away from Huari,
however, and by ourselves, I should be very glad to use only the English
and learn from you that which I have forgotten.”

They found the señor a most pleasant companion and also a valuable
addition to the party. On the trip from Chicla to Huari, after the
edibles which were stored in their knapsacks had been exhausted, they
were compelled to live on game, and the diet became monotonous. But
Señor Cisneros added to the daily bill of fare materially by his
knowledge of the Peruvian vegetable world. He cut tender shoots from a
certain palm tree, which, when boiled, tasted something like the
northern cauliflower; from a vine that grew in and out the long grass,
he made an excellent substitute for spinach: before he joined them they
had feared to eat berries, not knowing which were poisonous; now they
were able to enjoy a dessert of fruit after every meal. Their cooking
utensils had also been added to at Huari, a pot among other articles,
and in this the novel vegetables were cooked.

In lieu of a knapsack the Peruvian was provided with two commodious bags
made of llama skins, which were fastened together by a broad strip of
hide by which they depended from his shoulders. He carried a rifle of
the muzzle-loading description, an old-time powder horn and
bullet-pouch. He proved himself as good a shot as Ferguson, and a
pleasant rivalry soon sprang up between the two.

Old Huayno had told them to push ahead for three days from Huari, to the
forest of cinchona trees, and find the head waters of the Marañon, one
of the rivers that are tributary to the Amazon.

At its source this stream is very small, and the travellers from Callao
had wondered how they might recognize it from others, and had regarded
this stage of the journey with some apprehension, lest they might fail
in reaching the river on which the great white rock was located. But
Señor Cisneros knew exactly the course to take, and without aid of
compass he directed their steps.

“We shall be longer than three days on this journey,” he said. “Your
Indian friend reckoned the distance as it was covered by those of his
tribe who were able to move much more swiftly than we can with our
numerous burdens. We shall be five days, rather than three.”

“Then from the river’s source to the great white rock it will perhaps be
two weeks’ journey?”

“Yes; I should think it probable.”

He was correct concerning the distance from Huari; it was evening of the
fifth day when they pitched the shelter-tent on the edge of a dense,
dark forest.

“My, but there’s sufficient quinine in there to cure a world of giants!”
exclaimed Harvey.

“Those are not cinchona trees, my son,” said the Peruvian.

“No? But I thought this was the forest of cinchona trees.”

“So it is; for the reason that the valuable growth appears frequently in
these woods. We will doubtless see many specimens during our journey,
but none is in sight from here.”

“What does the tree look like, señor?”

“It resembles the beech, with the flowing branches of the lilac, and has
smooth wood, susceptible of a high polish. The leaves resemble those of
the coffee plant.”

“Are you versed in the method of preparing quinine from the bark,
señor?”

“It happens that I have made the subject quite a study,” he replied.
“Several years ago a representative of the British government was my
guest in Huari. He had been sent to Peru for the purpose of deciding
whether it would be possible to transplant young cinchona trees from
these forests to India and other tropical countries. With him I made
several expeditions.”

“What was the result, señor?”

“He recommended that transplanting be attempted. It was done, and I
understand that cinchona groves are thriving in many places.”

“Is that possible!” said Ferguson. “I was of the opinion that Peruvian
bark only grew in Peru. But as I think of it, I really am very ignorant
on the subject. Perhaps you will tell us more concerning the enemy of
chills and fever.”

“I will be glad to, but suppose we have supper first.”

To this all agreed. They had made the tent ready for the night while
thus conversing, and had gathered fuel for the evening fire, so that
soon the pot was surrounded by a bright blaze.

“The water in which our food is cooking should have a peculiar charm for
us all,” said the señor.

“Why so?” asked Hope-Jones.

“Because it comes from the Marañon, which flows past the white rock and
the gold mine.”

“Do you mean to say that the little stream from which I fetched water is
the Marañon, señor?” Harvey asked.

“Yes, or one of the small branches that form the head. A day’s journey
from here it broadens considerably. How it is beyond I do not know, for
I have never gone further.”

After supper, when they had drawn up logs for seats near the fire,
because the night was chill and a damp breeze came from out the forest,
Señor Cisneros commenced his promised narrative of the white powder that
occupies such a prominent place in the medical world.

“Once upon a time, in fact in the year 1638, there lived in Cuzco a most
beautiful woman who was loved by all who knew her.”

“Why, you are starting out as if telling a fairy story!” said Harvey,
laughing.

“The facts are something like one of those charming tales,” replied the
señor, who resumed:—

“This woman, renowned for her beauty and her grace of manner, was the
wife of the ruler of Peru. One day she became grievously ill, and the
doctors of that time were unable to remedy her condition. Her flesh
burned with great heat, her cheeks were flushed with red, her eyes were
unusually bright, and the blood pulsed rapidly through her veins. She
soon became delirious, failed to recognize her husband and children, and
all those in the palace were in despair.

“At that time a most learned man was the corregidor, or chief
magistrate, of Loxa. He was not only versed in the study of the law, but
he had familiarized himself more than any other man with the vegetable
life of Peru; he was a botanist, self-taught. This man learned that the
countess was at death’s door; and hastening to the palace he asked
permission to see her. It was granted, and after looking for a few
minutes upon the woman, who was tossing about on the silken couch, he
abruptly left the apartment, saying that he would soon return.

“Within the half hour he was back, carrying a shallow dish, in which
were pieces of bark steeped in water. He gave the countess some of the
liquid to drink and urged that the dose be repeated at intervals during
two days. His instructions were followed; she became restful, slept
sweetly, and the fever left her body. In a week she was up and about,
and in a fortnight was out in the palace grounds.”

“And that story is true?” asked Harvey.

“Yes, true in every detail. It is vouched for in the public records of
Peru.”

“Of course the drug he gave her was the essence of Peruvian bark.”

“Yes, extracted in a primitive form.”

“What was her name?” asked Hope-Jones.

“The Countess of Chinchon.”

“That is why the tree is called cinchona?”

“It is, and to be more correct one should spell it ‘chinchona’ instead
of ‘cinchona.’”

“How did the term quinine originate?”

“From the Indian compound word ‘Quina-Quina,’ meaning ‘bark of barks.’”

“You say the trees are isolated, señor?”

“Yes. They seldom grow in clumps, and the task of finding them is often
great; the native searchers, or cascarilleros, undergo great hardships
in penetrating the jungle-like forests.”

“How is the white powder prepared?”

“There are several processes, the most popular, I believe, being that of
mixing pulverized bark thoroughly with milk of lime, then treating the
substance to the action of certain chemicals, and ultimately the
sulphate of quinine is produced. Different manufacturers have different
processes; many of them are kept a secret. The object is to extract the
maximum amount of quinine from the bark and leave as little of other
ingredients in the powder as possible.”

From the subject of Peruvian bark they changed to that of the journey on
the morrow, and a half hour later, with knapsacks and bags as pillows,
they went to sleep in the shelter-tent. Harvey, as he closed his eyes,
thought of the beautiful Countess of Chinchon, and wondered if she could
have been as pretty as Señorita Bella Caceras, a girl in Callao whom he
had met under most peculiar circumstances while adrift one night in the
bay of that name.



                              CHAPTER VI.
                       A DISCOVERY AND AN ALARM.


They entered the forest the next day, and for a week were in its
confines, threading the right bank of the Marañon and following its
current.

The way along the river was easy to travel, when compared with the
seemingly impassable jungle to the right and the left of the stream, but
it was not without its difficulties, and many times they were compelled
to stop and cut the heavy growth of vines with the small axe which Señor
Cisneros had added to the outfit. At night they were bothered by
mosquitoes, and the insect plague became so great one evening that they
kept watch and watch, the one on duty throwing on the embers of the fire
a bark which emitted a light yellow smoke which drove the pests away.

Game was plentiful in this forest, and what with the flesh of
four-footed animals and birds, reënforced at times by fish caught in the
stream and the vegetables harvested by the Peruvian, they managed to
fare very well. But in other respects they were not treated so kindly.
Thorns tore their trousers and their coats, their shoes were wearing
out, and faces and hands became covered with scratches and bruises, the
latter caused by many falls, which it was impossible to avoid because of
the insecure footing.

In spite of this they were in the best of health; and as for their
clothing, they made good use each night of the needles and thread which
they had brought; and although some of the darns and patches were
curiosities to look upon, they served their purpose. Hope-Jones and
Ferguson had both been smooth-shaven while in the city, but by the time
they were a week from Huari, mustaches covered their upper lips and
light growths of beard were dependent from their chins.

“Nobody in Callao would know you,” said Harvey, one morning. “I never
saw such a change in persons.”

“How about yourself?” retorted Ferguson. “If you could but glance at
your own face in a mirror you would not say much.”

Somewhat later in the day the boy made use of a deep pool of water for
that purpose, and was surprised to see, peering up at him, features that
were copper-colored from sunburn and exposure to the elements. The
outdoor life at home had tanned him somewhat, but nothing in comparison
with this.

The weather, while they were in the forest, was dry and pleasant, but
the very day they emerged from its confines, a rain poured down that was
even heavier than that which had detained them twenty-four hours at
Huari. It commenced to fall as they were awakening, and descended in
such torrents that any thought of trying to pursue their way while it
lasted had to be abandoned. Their shelter-tent was fortunately pitched
on a slight elevation, beneath the branches of a large ironwood tree
which broke the force of the drops, or rather of the rain-sheets.

Señor Cisneros and Hope-Jones put on rubber coats and dug a shallow
trench around the canvas, making a channel toward the river, and for the
remainder of the day they sat in the little enclosure, except for a few
minutes when one or the other ventured forth for a “breath of fresh
air.” All wood in the vicinity was too wet for use as fuel; indeed,
there was no spot where they could build a fire, had they had dry
timber; so they were compelled to subsist upon smoked meat.

“This is Monday, is it not?” Harvey asked.

“Yes, and a decidedly blue Monday,” was the reply.

Toward evening they voted it the most miserable day of the journey, and
their only comfort came from the Peruvian, who assured them that the
heavy rains in that season seldom lasted for more than one day.

The rule held in this instance, and soon after dark the clouds were
driven away, the moon silvered the dripping trees and bushes, and the
travellers were able to emerge from under the canvas. By digging beneath
some leaves, they found dried, decayed wood, that served admirably for
fuel, and soon had a roaring blaze started, over which they cooked some
fish that Harvey had caught during the afternoon.

After leaving the dense forest behind, they followed the Marañon through
a much more open country. There were many trees, but they were not so
close together, nor were they so tangled with vines, and the undergrowth
also became thinner. This was due to a change in the soil, they having
passed from the region of black earth to a land that contained more
sand. It became quite rocky close to the river, and they were compelled
to make frequent detours from the bank because of the boulders through
which the stream passed.

One morning all became very much interested in witnessing a body of
foraging ants, to which their attention was called by Señor Cisneros.

“These little creatures can be seen only in South and Central America,”
he said, “and they have the reputation of being the wisest of all
antdom. Look how they are marching in regular phalanxes, with officers
in command!”

The diminutive black and gray army covered a space about three yards
square, and was moving from the river across the path.

“I will interrupt their progress,” said the Peruvian, “and we shall have
plenty of opportunity to observe them. Fetch me that pot full of water,
Harvey.”

While the lad was hastening to the river, he dug with one of the picks
until he had made a narrow channel about ten feet long, into which he
poured the water as soon as it was brought him, and just as the vanguard
of the ant army approached. The little soldiers halted on the edge of
this ditch, and from the sides and rear hurried ants that evidently were
officers.

“Now I shall give them a small bridge,” the señor said, “and if they
have the intelligence of a body that I observed about a month ago, they
will quickly make the footway broader and in a novel manner.”

Saying which, he cut a rather long twig, one that was narrow, but would
reach across the little trench, and this he placed in position.

Two of the ants hurried on the little span, then returned to the army.
They evidently gave some instructions, for two or three score of the
main body left the ranks, and hurrying on to the twig, swung themselves
from the sides in perfect line, until the passageway had been made three
times as broad as before. Then, at an order, the army commenced moving
over.

“Isn’t that wonderful!” exclaimed Hope-Jones.

“Indeed, yes. Many students of the ant rank him in intelligence next to
man. You will observe that the little fellows who are offering their
bodies as planks for the bridge are of a different color, and evidently
different species from the marchers, and that others of both kinds
constitute the main body.”

“Yes, that is so.”

“The little fellows are slaves.”

“Slaves?” echoed all three.

“Yes, slaves captured in battle, and made to do the masters’ bidding.”

“Do they always obey?”

“I have watched them many times and have never seen any sign of
rebellion. Frequently the superior ant, or the one who owns the slaves,
will remain perfectly still and direct the little servants. In that way
I saw a score of the slaves tug away at a dead bee, one day, and it was
perfectly plain that a larger ant that stood near by was giving orders.”

“You say they are called foraging ants?”

“Yes. They roam about in bands like this in search of food. They are
carnivorous and eat such insects as are unfortunate enough to be in
their path.”

The army was fully fifteen minutes crossing the living bridge, and when
the last company had passed, the slave ants detached themselves and
followed. But two or three, evidently exhausted by the strain, fell from
the twig into the river. No attention was given them; they were left to
drown.

“Did you notice that?” said the señor. “Now watch how differently
members of the superior class of ants are treated when in distress.”

He stepped ahead a few feet and drawing some of the larger species from
the main body with a stick, he covered them partly with gravel, until
only a leg or two were visible. At once several ants of the same species
stopped their march, and summoning a small body of slave ants, went to
the rescue. By butting with their heads and tugging away at the small
stones the slaves soon rescued the imprisoned masters, and all rejoined
the army, bringing up the rear.

“Bravo!” shouted Harvey, as if the little fellows could understand.

That afternoon the travellers fell to conversing of the old mine which
they expected to find. Not that it was an unusual subject for
conversation, for it was the topic most frequently broached; but the
talk this day was of special interest, because Señor Cisneros told them
minutely of the mining laws of Peru. Hope-Jones had expressed worry lest
foreigners would not be permitted to enjoy the results of discovery, but
his fears were set at rest by the Peruvian, who said:—

“Our mining laws have been greatly misunderstood in other countries, and
exaggerated reports concerning them have been sent broadcast. The
foreigner’s right to own what he finds, providing no one else has a
prior claim, has never been disputed. Recently it was made the subject
of special legislation. During the last session Congress passed a law
which, among other provisions, states that ‘Strangers can acquire and
work mines in all the territory of the Republic, enjoying all the rights
and remaining subject to all the obligations of the natives respecting
the property and the workings of the mines; but they cannot exercise
judicial functions in the government of the mines.’”

“What does that last clause mean, señor?” asked Hope-Jones.

“It has been interpreted to mean that the foreigner cannot hold the
position of mine superintendent, the object plainly being to prevent his
having active control of the natives who, of course, would be called in
to do the manual labor.”

“It is fortunate then that we have taken you with us,” said Ferguson.
“You will be able to act as superintendent, and we shall not have to
employ an outsider.”

“I should like nothing better; that is, providing we find the mine. But
are we not, as you say in the States, counting our chickens before they
are born?”

“Before they are hatched,” corrected Harvey, but not in a manner which
the señor could possibly take exception to—for that matter, he had asked
them many times to speak of his mistakes during the trip. “Oh, it’s fun
to do that,” continued the lad. “So I move that we have an election of
officers, and I place Mr. Hope-Jones in nomination for president.”

“I vote ay,” said Ferguson.

“And I also,” said the Peruvian.

“Of course _I_ do,” Harvey said. “And I nominate Mr. Ferguson for
treasurer.”

The others agreed as before.

“Let me propose Harvey Dartmoor for secretary,” said the señor, entering
into the spirit of the moment.

The choice was unanimous.

“And now,” Hope-Jones said, “we will name Señor Anton Cisneros
vice-president and general superintendent of all our properties.”

“Thank you, gentlemen,” said the Peruvian, doffing his hat. “I only hope
the stockholders of the corporation will be of your mind.”

“The stockholders! How can they change our election?”

“You will have to sell stock in order to work the property, and those
who buy shares will have a right to vote.”

“Certainly. But cannot we hold the majority of shares?”

“I am glad to hear you say that. If we find anything nearly as valuable
as the old Indian claimed, it would be a pity to let the property pass
out of our control.”

“Tell us something more of the mining laws, won’t you?” asked Ferguson.
“In speaking of the recent enactment, you stated that ‘strangers should
be subject to all the obligations of natives.’ What does that mean? Is
the taxation heavy?”

“On the contrary, it is very light, just sufficient to meet the expenses
of the government mining bureau. The tax is fifteen dollars a year for
every mine,—gold, silver, nitrate of soda, salt, petroleum,—no matter
what it may be.”

“And how would we ‘prove a claim,’ as they say in the States?”

“Did you inquire in Lima whether any mines had been reserved in the
locality where we intend prospecting?”

“No, señor, for we did not wish to attract attention to that section of
the state.”

“You were doubtless right. It was perhaps unnecessary. In all
probability no one has sought treasure in that region. Still, that point
must first be definitely settled. The government issues a quarterly
statement, called the ‘padron,’ in which are given the boundaries of all
new claims. These padrons are indexed, and it is possible to learn the
location of all mines in a given region. If we discover valuable
properties where old Huayno said they were located, or anywhere else, we
will at once stake off the land, just as is done in the United States,
then return to Lima, examine the padron index, and if no one else has a
claim we will notify the Deputy Commissioner of Mining that we desire
title.

“He will issue us a document, upon our payment of the first year’s tax,
which will be similar to the ‘patent applied for’ paper given in the
United States. Within ninety days after receiving this, it will be
necessary to return to the mine with one of the officials of the mining
department and an official surveyor, whose expenses for the trip we
shall be compelled to meet. These will fix the actual boundaries, and
upon their return to Lima a document will be issued giving us the right
to mine the property, and guaranteeing our sole possession so long as we
pay the annual tax.”

“That all seems very simple,” said Harvey.

They had few adventures during this stage of the journey. Several times
wild animals crossed their paths, but the young men had learned wisdom
on the trip from Chicla to Huari, and Señor Cisneros was an old
woodsman, so they were always on the lookout. Game continued plentiful,
although the country grew more open each day.

The Marañon changed from a slow-running stream to a broad,
rapid-coursing river; in places were cataracts, and the shore line
became uneven, boulders being piled so high that the way between them
was difficult to find. In this rough country they were once all day
going three miles and were exhausted when night came. Harvey and
Ferguson had large blisters on their feet, and the other two proposed
that they rest for the twenty-four hours following; but the Americans
were too anxious to proceed, being so near the journey’s end, and the
next morning, binding pieces of a handkerchief around the bruised
places, they announced themselves able to push ahead.

This was the twelfth day from Huari, and all agreed that at any time
they might come upon the great rock that marked the way to the mine.
They were certain they had not passed it unobserved, for since the fifth
day from the village they had not moved a step forward after dusk or
until morning was well advanced. When compelled to make detours, one or
more of them had ascended every half hour to some eminence, like a tree
or a high mound, and had carefully surveyed the right bank to the
water’s edge.

Toward four o’clock on this day Hope-Jones and Harvey were walking
somewhat in advance of the others. The boy was limping slightly and was
in more pain than he would admit to his companion, who had urged him not
to go any further, to which Harvey had replied, “One more mile and then
I’ll give in.”

The lad was singing, to keep up his courage, and the words were those of
the familiar Sunday-school hymn:—

                      “Onward, Christian soldiers,
                      Marching as to war.”

Suddenly he stopped, gave a yell, and his face turned pale.

“What is it?” exclaimed Hope-Jones. “Are you hurt?”

“Look! Look! Look!” and the boy pointed straight ahead, between two
trees. There, bathed in sunlight, the Englishman saw that which made his
heart beat like a trip-hammer—a high boulder that shone as purest
marble.

“Hurrah!” he shouted, throwing his cap in the air. “Come on, everybody!
There’s the rock! There’s the great white rock!”

Ferguson and Señor Cisneros came up at a run.

“What? The rock?” they called.

“Yes. Look!” and the man pointed in the direction they had gazed.

That instant the Peruvian exclaimed excitedly: “Down with you! Drop
down, everybody! Down, flat on your stomachs!”

Startled by his commanding tones they obeyed.

“What is it?” asked Hope-Jones.

“Sh! In a whisper! Indians! A score of them! And they look like the
Majeronas!”



                              CHAPTER VII.
                         THE CANNIBALS OF PERU.


“The Majeronas!” echoed Ferguson, but in the whisper which he had been
cautioned to use. “Are they not a savage tribe?”

“They are.”

“I didn’t know they came this far, not within three or four hundred
miles of here. So I was told in Lima.”

“It is only recently that they have visited this region. Within the last
year several reports have come to Huari of their depredations.”

“They are said to be cannibals, are they not?”

“Yes.”

Harvey shivered and drew his gun closer.

“What are we going to do?” Hope-Jones asked. He was thinking, and so
were the others, how lucky it was that they had induced the experienced
miner and woodsman to accompany them.

“For a time we will wait here,” was the reply. “They may go away. Again,
I am not certain they are the Majeronas. I didn’t spend any great amount
of time examining them, I can assure you. They may be friendly Ayulis,
but just at present we do not care to meet even friendly Ayulis.”

“What is the difference between the tribes, señor?” Harvey asked,
gaining control of himself and preventing his teeth chattering.

“The Majeronas are much lighter and their beards are thinner. The
Indians yonder certainly answer the description, but the light may have
deceived me.”

“I think the light of a setting sun would darken a face, don’t you?”
suggested Ferguson. “It certainly gave a red tinge to that white rock.”

“Perhaps you are right.”

They were lying very close together, and words spoken in a whisper were
heard by all. Each had drawn his weapon to his side, and those with
modern guns threw open the breech-locks and made certain that loaded
shells were in the chambers, while the Peruvian examined the cap on his
rifle and swung loose his powder-horn and shot pouch. They remained in
this position for nearly an hour, and not hearing a sound from the
direction where the Indians had been seen, hope came that the redmen had
gone.

But this was dispelled toward five o’clock by Señor Cisneros, who
pointed to above the rock behind which they were hiding, and called
attention to a thin line of blue smoke in the distance.

“They are making a fire,” he said, “and have undoubtedly chosen that
place for a camp.”

Neither Hope-Jones, Ferguson, nor Harvey said a word. The Peruvian
waited a minute, then whispered:—

“Do you want to retreat? We can crawl for a short distance and then take
to our feet.”

“And the white rock in view! No, I don’t want to retreat,” said the
Englishman.

“Nor I,” said Ferguson.

“What do you say, Harvey?”

“I’d rather die first,” and he clenched his fists in a manner that
showed he meant all that he said.

“That’s right,” whispered the señor. “You have courage; that’s the main
thing. It would indeed be a pity to leave the spot now, for I am
convinced that old Huayno told the truth in everything. If they are
Majeronas, it is only a wandering band. The main tribe is far away, and
we shall have only these to settle with, should the worst come to pass.
But the probabilities are that they will go away in the morning. Should
they stay in this neighborhood for a time, we might be able to remain in
hiding. I think we have three or four days’ supply of dried meat, and it
will be easy to crawl down to the river for water. If it comes to a
fight, we have these,” and he tapped his rifle.

“What are they armed with?” asked Ferguson.

“Arrows and bludgeons, I have been told.”

They remained in the prostrate position for some time, in fact until
night fell, then following the direction of Señor Cisneros they moved
nearer the river, arriving at last at a shallow basin, surrounded on
three sides by boulders, between each of which was a space of about a
half foot, giving a view of the surrounding country, and which would
make excellent openings for their guns, should it prove necessary to use
them.

“How’s this for a natural fort?” said the Peruvian. “We’re near the
water supply, and I think we can hold the position for a time.”

“What about supper?” asked Harvey, who, after the first minute’s fright,
had shown as much unconcern as any of them and was now feeling quite
hungry.

“Dried meat and water,” promptly said the señor. “No fire must be
lighted to-night. I will get the water.”

He took a skin bag, which he had brought from Huari, and slowly crawled
in the direction of the river. He moved so cautiously that they did not
hear a sound, and when he returned to the camp, in a quarter of an hour,
his appearance was so sudden and without warning that all three were
startled.

They ate sparingly of the dried meat, for Señor Cisneros, who had taken
command at the urgent solicitation of the others, had divided the food
supply into rations sufficient to last three days.

“We must call you captain now,” said Harvey, as he munched his share,
“for these are war times.”

After supper they made preparation for the night, moving cautiously, so
that metal might not ring out, nor anything fall. They had no poles for
the shelter-tent; it was deemed unwise to try to secure any, so they
disposed the canvas as a bed and spread a blanket. This done, the señor
said he would go out and reconnoitre.

“I must ascertain whether they are Majeronas or Ayulis,” he explained,
“and I must also learn their number.”

He took everything out of his pockets and divested himself of such
clothing as would impede his progress—removed his poncho, his shoes and
stockings, and soon was ready, barefooted and clad only in a woollen
shirt and trousers. Sounds now came distinctly from down the river.
These noises, first heard faintly while they were eating their frugal
supper, grew in volume and became long wails, rising and falling.

“They are singing,” whispered the señor. “That is a chant.”

He placed a hunting-knife in his belt, laying aside his rifle, and
announced himself ready to leave.

“What if they should see you and should attack? How are we to know it?”
asked Ferguson.

The captain shrugged his shoulders. “I think you would not know until I
failed to return.”

“That will never do, sir,” protested the American. “Take your revolver,”
and he picked up the small weapon, which had been discarded with the
rifle. “If you are attacked, fire a shot, and we will hurry to the
rescue. We all stand together in this. Don’t we, fellows?”

“Of course we do,” said Hope-Jones and Harvey.

He looked at them gratefully and started to leave, but stopped a minute
to say: “While I am gone keep a close watch. Don’t worry, even should I
be absent two hours, for it will be slow work. I will fire the pistol
should anything happen. Good-by.”

“Good-by,” they said, and each grasped him by the hand.

It was quite lonely when he had gone, and they then appreciated how much
they depended upon him. From down the river the sound of the chant came
louder, evidence that more voices were joining in the evening song. It
was a night with no clouds in the sky, and the full moon shone direct
upon their camp and the surrounding country, silvering the broad leaves
of trees, throwing the trunks into blackness more deep by the contrast,
and causing strange shadows to appear on all sides. As a gentle wind
stirred the branches, the shadows moved from side to side. Once or twice
Harvey, who was stationed at the opening near the wooded country, was
certain that he saw the figure of an Indian, and whispered a warning,
but each time it proved to be only the obscuration of the moonlight by a
branch or a rock.

From the river bank came the croaking of frogs, tree-toads sounded among
the growth of vegetation; in the blackness where stood the trees,
flitted fireflies, and occasionally a glow-worm crawled along the
ground. They were startled now and then by a faint splash in the river
and made ready for an attack, but as nothing followed, they concluded
that a fish had risen and in diving again had flipped the water with its
tail—a sound they would not have ordinarily noticed, but which seemed
loud to their sense of hearing, more acute than usual because of the
nerve strain under which they rested.

After a time that seemed to him interminable Harvey whispered to
Hope-Jones, “I wonder if anything has happened to the captain. Has he
not been gone longer than he expected?”

The Englishman looked at his watch. The moonlight was so bright that he
could distinctly see the dial and the hands.

“No, he has been absent only an hour,” was the reply.

From the woods came the hoot of an owl. A few minutes later a low growl
was heard in the distance.

“That’s a puma,” said Ferguson. “If it should come this way we would
have to fire, and then those redskins would be attracted.”

But it did not come near them, nor did the growl sound again. The owl
continued to hoot dismally, and the call of a night bird was also heard.
Of a sudden Hope-Jones exclaimed “Sh!” and pushed his rifle through the
opening at the side of the river.

A dry branch had crackled. His warning was followed by a voice outside
the camp, saying in low tones, “It’s I, boys,” and the next second the
captain had rejoined them. He was considerably out of breath, and they
noticed that his clothing was more torn than when he had left the camp.

“It’s pretty tough work crawling nearly a mile on the hands and knees,”
he finally found voice to say. “But I saw them and had a good view,
lying on a rock that overlooked their camp. I was so close that I could
have picked off a half dozen with my revolver.”

“Are they Ayulis?” asked Ferguson.

“No, Majeronas.”

“The savages?”

He nodded his head.

None of them asked any more questions for a full minute, then Harvey
said rather hoarsely, “How many of them are there?”

“It’s a large band, my boy. More by far than I would wish for. I counted
forty.”

Forty—and they were four! No wonder their cheeks blanched.

“They have eaten a deer and other animals that I could make out,” the
captain continued, “and are lying around on the ground, resting after
their feast. It would be an easy matter for us to creep up to them and
pick off a score and probably put to flight the remainder, but I don’t
like to have the blood of even a Majerona on my hands, unless to save
our lives. What do you say?”

They agreed with him, then inquired what would be best to do.

“There’s nothing to do, but to wait developments. We are in no danger
to-night, so long as we keep still. The probabilities are that they will
move in the morning, and I think they are going down stream. However,
should they come this way, we shall have to face the music.”

“Could we not confer with the chief and promise him presents if they
will let us alone?”

“Confer with a Majerona! Never, my boy. They are the Philistines of Peru
and are cannibals. Why, that fire over there was not to cook their food.
They pulled the deer apart and ate strips of meat raw. I don’t wish to
frighten you, only to make it plain that we are near an enemy that
doesn’t even know what it is to spare a man of a different tribe or
race. To change the subject, I will suggest that as we have to prepare
for a siege, our best plan is to get some sleep. It will be necessary to
keep a close watch all night. I am very tired and I will ask Mr.
Hope-Jones to stand the first, Mr. Ferguson the second, and I will take
the third.”

“What about me?” asked Harvey. “I should do my share.”

“Very well. I thought you might be lonely on guard. You may take that
last watch, the one near daybreak. That will make four watches of two
hours each. Come, those who can get rest had better improve the
opportunity.”

Saying which the Peruvian rolled himself under a blanket and lay down in
the shadow of one of the boulders. Ferguson followed his example, and
Harvey, drawing his cover close, took a position in the centre of the
camp.

“Tell the lad to come out of the moonlight,” said the captain to
Ferguson, who was between them. The American did so, and Harvey crept
closer to Señor Cisneros. “Why was that?” he asked.

“Because moonlight falling on one’s face in this latitude sometimes
causes insanity.”

“I have heard that,” the boy said, “but I thought science had exploded
the theory.”

“Science or no science, no Indian will ever lie down in the open without
covering his head. And now good night. Try to sleep.”

But as for sleep, nothing was farther from Harvey’s mind. He lay quite
still, however, so as not to disturb the others, and watched Hope-Jones,
who stood at the opening near the river, his rifle resting on the little
ledge of rock, gazing steadily in the direction of the Indian camp. The
owl continued to hoot, the night bird to call, the tree-toads chirped
merrily, and the frogs kept up their doleful croaking. But the mournful
chant had ceased, and it was evident that slumber had stolen over the
camp of the Indians. The boy, in earnest endeavor to sleep, resorted to
all those expedients which are recommended, and finally counted up to
one thousand. After that he yawned and wondered if it was possible, if
he was really losing consciousness under such circumstances; if——Some
one tapped him on the shoulder, and he sprang to an upright position.

“It’s your watch, Harvey,” the captain said. “But never mind, I will
stand it for you.”

“No, sir,” said the boy, stoutly, as he rubbed his eyes and picked up
Ferguson’s rifle. The captain rolled himself in his blanket without
further words and was soon breathing heavily.

Could it be possible, thought the lad, that it was really his turn? Why,
it seemed that only the minute before he had watched Hope-Jones standing
at the opening, and now the Englishman was lying down. Why, not only the
captain but Ferguson had stood watch in the meanwhile! And there was no
moonlight! Of course not; it was four o’clock in the morning. He yawned;
then shook himself and muttered, “This will never do!” and, all at once,
he was wide awake and fit for his duty as sentry.

It was chill and damp. From the river a light mist was creeping. He
could not see it, but he felt the wet on his cheeks. The bird had ceased
crying, and so had the tree-toads and the frogs. It was indescribably
lonely; but his great comfort came from the fact that three trusted
companions were so near that he could almost touch them with his foot,
and he knew they would awaken at his slightest call.

While standing there, his rifle resting on the ledge, he thought of the
dear ones at home and wondered what they would say, could they know the
plight he was in. “My, but Louis and Carl would give their boots to be
here, I know!” was a sentence that passed through his mind. And the
other members of the Callao Rowing Club—what adventures he could relate
to them upon his return! He thought of the regattas, when as coxswain he
had steered to victory the eight-oared shells in which Hope-Jones had
pulled stroke and Ferguson bow; and now here they were, far in the
interior of Peru, near a camp of cannibals.

At the thought of cannibals, Harvey’s heart gave a quick jump. But it
was soon steady again, and he commenced thinking of the dreary night he
had passed in Callao Bay, while afloat on a torpedo, which strange
adventure of the younger Dartmoor brother is related in detail in
“Fighting Under the Southern Cross.” He had come out of that safely, and
why not out of this? Then the lad remembered that for several nights he
had neglected to say those words which he had learned when a little
child at his mother’s knee, so he fervently repeated the prayers she had
taught him. After this he felt more courage than ever, and when a fish
rose in the river, it did not cause him to start as had the sounds
earlier in the night. Thus communing with himself and with his God, time
passed quickly for the boy, and soon he began to make out the shadowy
forms of the mist that rose from the water.

In this latitude, near the equator, there are only a few minutes of
twilight, so it was soon bright enough for him to look at the watch that
had been left on the stone ledge. Ten minutes to six! He could soon call
the others. The generous impulse came to let them sleep for another
hour, but it was followed by the thought that the Indians were
undoubtedly awakening, and as they might at once march up the river, it
would be well for all to be on the alert. So when the long hand pointed
at twelve and the short hand at the dot which on clocks and watches is
the sign for six, he touched the captain lightly on the arm. Señor
Cisneros sprang up. It was broad day. He awakened Hope-Jones and
Ferguson.



                             CHAPTER VIII.
                        THE FORT ON THE MARAÑON.


For several minutes after the camp was astir the Peruvian stood near one
of the openings, and placing a hand partly back of an ear, so that more
sound waves might reach that organ, he listened intently, in hopes that
he might determine whether the Majeronas were on the move or still in
camp. But in early day they are not given to making as much noise as at
night, when that wild chant, considered part of a religious ceremony,
rolls out, and the captain turned to his companions, disappointed.

Then, as all were hungry, another ration was consumed by each, and as
there was plenty of cool water in the skin no one was called upon to
risk a trip to the river. They continued conversing in whispers and
observed the same caution as on the evening before. Unless they gave
thought to the cause, their low tones seemed very strange and
unnecessary, for nothing was in evidence to remind them of the presence
in the vicinity of savages; not even did smoke rise from the place where
they were encamped. Soon after breakfast Harvey said to Señor Cisneros:—

“If you will permit me, captain, I will crawl over to that tree,” and he
pointed to one whose lower branches were near the ground, yet whose
trunk rose to quite a height, “and by climbing I can see what the
Indians are doing. The leaves are thick so that I shall be well hidden,
and my suit is about the color of the bark.”

The plan was approved and the boy left the camp, imitating the manner in
which Señor Cisneros had made his journeys of the evening before. The
three within the enclosure looked at him approvingly, and the Peruvian
said: “He worms his way along as well as an experienced woodsman. That’s
a very clever lad.”

“Indeed, he is,” said Hope-Jones, “and a more truthful, honest youngster
I never met.”

They watched the tree which Harvey had spoken of as his goal, and before
long they saw something moving in the branches, but very slowly, for the
boy was observing even more caution than when on the ground. After ten
minutes’ careful climbing he reached a spot halfway to the top, where
the branches were fewer, and there he stopped, evidently at a sufficient
altitude to look over the intervening boulders and see the camp of the
Majeronas. He was stationary for a few seconds, then they saw him
commence to descend, but no longer slowly and with caution; he came down
hand below hand, and when he reached the ground he ran to the camp, not
attempting to observe the quiet which had marked his departure.

Knowing that he must have good cause for alarm and feeling that an
attack was possibly imminent, the three men stood at a “ready” in the
openings, their weapons poised. When Harvey joined them he said quickly,
but in low tones:—

“A half dozen of the savages are coming this way. They were not far off
when I left the tree and were moving slowly, looking closely at the
ground, as if in search of something. The others are still in camp.”

Saying this, Harvey picked up his shot-gun.

“You say they are walking slowly and looking down, as if in search of
something?”

“Yes, captain. They were bent low, and at first I thought they were
crawling; then I saw that they appeared to be examining the ground as
they passed.”

“Hum! I suppose they found my trail. The copper-colored rascals have a
scent as keen as a dog. But I think that I fooled them.”

“How so?” asked Ferguson.

“I took to the water when halfway between the camps and waded for a
couple of hundred yards.”

“Then you don’t think that they will be able to track you?”

“No. But they may search the neighborhood before they leave.”

“Harvey reports the main body still at the white rock. How do you
account for that?”

“The band is undoubtedly resting for the day. It is probable that the
savages have travelled some distance and have called a forty-eight
hours’ halt. I can think of no other reason, for surely there could be
no game to attract them in this vicinity, and there is no hostile tribe
near for them to attack.”

“You don’t suppose they are in search of the gold, do you?” asked
Harvey.

“Gold! They don’t know what gold is. They are the most ignorant Indians
in all Peru.”

This whispered conversation was suddenly brought to an end by Ferguson,
who placed his fingers on his lips, to enjoin silence, and pointed
through the opening nearest the river. They looked in the direction, and
saw a head projecting beyond a rock. It was the head of a Majerona, long
black hair, and skin a light copper color. The savage looked up and down
stream, then was lost to sight for a moment, and soon stood out in the
open, where he was joined by several others.

They were naked, save for strips of hide that served as loin cloths.
They were tall, well-formed men, straight and muscular: each held a long
bow, and dependent from the belt of hide, instead of swung over the
shoulder, was a quiver filled with arrows. The cannibal who had first
thrust out his head had done so cautiously, as if to survey the country,
but they soon became bold, evidently convinced that they were alone.
First, they took a few steps up stream, at which the white men tightened
their grips on the weapons, and then, for some reason, they turned about
and hurried away.

“Whew! that was a narrow escape!” muttered Ferguson.

“Yes; and I fear it will prove no escape after all. They were sent out
to scout, and another band undoubtedly will be despatched in a little
while. The chances are against our not being seen, and as the
probability is that we will have to fight, I propose that we make our
fort better suited for defence. Harvey, fill every pot, pan, and cup we
have with water. Don’t try to crawl; only step as softly as possible so
as not to cause stones to roll and dry branches to break. Hope-Jones and
Ferguson, I wish you would go to that drift pile over there, and bring
me all the branches and wood possible. You cannot bring too much.”

They at once commenced their allotted tasks, and the señor remained
behind the boulders, keeping an eye down stream, and at the same time
directing where the wood should be placed as it was brought in. First,
he had the openings between the rocks carefully filled, to the height of
his shoulders, the pieces of wood interlaced in the same manner that log
fences are built in the American farming country. This done, he gave
orders for wood to be piled at the rear of their position. It will be
remembered that the boulders formed a shelter on three sides, and
Ferguson and Hope-Jones, seeing at once that the Peruvian’s idea was to
close the fourth, redoubled their efforts, and within a half hour they
had brought in what they deemed sufficient material to erect the
barricade.

“More!” the captain said, when they asked him if that would do. “Bring
all of that pile if you can.”

Harvey had finished his task by this time, and placing him on guard,
Señor Cisneros turned his attention to shaping the rear defence. He
constructed the wall V-shaped, the angle outward, explaining to the boy
that in this form it could better withstand the force of an attack,
should the Indians try to rush the position. But the longest boughs he
placed slanting against the high boulders, so that they formed a roof
over half the space. These he wove in and out with a tough young vine
that he had directed Ferguson to bring from a tree near by, and which
had fallen in a mass when a slight pull had been given.

An hour after they had commenced their task, the captain said there was
sufficient wood on hand, and Hope-Jones and Ferguson, tired, red of
face, and perspiring profusely, pushed in through the narrow opening
that had been left for their entrance, which the Peruvian at once closed
with some branches that he had placed to one side for that purpose.

Ferguson had cut his left hand, and the handkerchief which he had wound
around the injured member was blood stained. When he was asked if the
cut was a deep one, he replied by saying that it was lucky it had not
happened to the other, or he would have trouble holding his rifle. Then
he questioned Señor Cisneros why he had formed a roof over part of the
enclosure.

“To be sure it’s nice to have shade,” he said, “but I should have
thought you too tired to attend to that.”

“And might have had mercy on you two and not have asked you to carry in
more boughs than absolutely necessary, eh?” responded the captain,
smiling.

“I didn’t say that.”

“No; but I wouldn’t blame you for thinking it. However, this little roof
will probably prove more valuable than any defence we have constructed.”

“How so?”

“Did you ever see a Peruvian Indian shoot an arrow? an Ayuli, or a man
of any other tribe?”

No. They had not.

“I have watched them many times; and I have seen them kill a deer and
not aim at it at all; only shoot up in the air.”

“And the arrow would describe a parabola and fall on the animal?”

“Its flight would rather be the sides of a triangle, and it would turn
in mid air at the apex, then falling at the same angle on the other
side, would strike the deer in the back.”

“Have you seen this done?”

“Yes; and not once, but several times.”

“Then I can understand why you built the covering!” exclaimed
Hope-Jones; and so did the others.

As the three men were quite tired, the captain let Harvey stand guard,
and they lay down in the shade. Thus another hour passed, and not a
sight of an Indian was had, nor did a sound come from down the river.

Toward noon the rations of dried meat were passed around, and so was
water, sparingly. After that they talked and waited, relieving each
other at the opening near the river every half hour, in order that all
might be in good condition should an attack occur.

One o’clock came, two, then three, and the little garrison commenced to
speculate on the probability of danger having passed. Perhaps the band
had gone away; it might be that the savages they had seen in the morning
had been recalled to camp in order to resume the march; or, perhaps all
were resting, and no further attempt was being made to reconnoitre the
surrounding country. In that event they would undoubtedly leave early
the next morning. But even after the Majeronas had departed, how long
would they have to remain quiet and on the defensive before they dared
approach the location of the mine?

“I would almost rather have a fight with them; that is, if we could give
them such a taste of modern firearms that they would leave the country,”
said Señor Cisneros, rising from the place where he had been resting in
the shade.

He approached the opening that faced the thinly grown forest, and gazed
over the brushwood that was piled as a protection, in the direction of
the trees. They saw him bend forward, as one is apt to do when looking
intently at something, and then, turning, he beckoned Ferguson to his
side.

“Look,” he whispered. “Do you see that long grass waving over there,
under that ironwood tree?”

“Yes. I guess it is wind blown.”

“But there isn’t a particle of wind. Wet your finger and hold your hand
up high.”

The American did so. “No,” he said. “There’s no breeze. What makes the
grass wave, then?”

“One of those copper-skinned rascals is crawling through it,” said the
captain.

“Shall I pick him off?” and Ferguson reached for his rifle.

“By no means.” The señor reached out his hand and caught the barrel. “We
are not sure that they have seen us, although such is probably the case.
Aside from that, I would rather not be the first to engage. But a better
reason than all is that we should reserve our fire, if firing be
necessary, until we can let go a volley into their midst. It might
stampede them.

“Ah! see!” he exclaimed a moment later. “My first surmise was correct.”

The Indian had risen suddenly from the grass and had bent his bow. But
the arrow was not aimed in their direction; it was pointed toward the
woods, away from the river bank, and that moment Ferguson saw a young
deer near a dwarf palm. Sharp and clear they heard the twang of the
hide-string and the whistle of the dart, so near was the savage to them;
and the animal fell dead in its tracks. The Majerona walked leisurely
over to where his prey had dropped, and lifting it on his broad
shoulders, he started back to camp.

“He is a hunter for the band,” said the captain. “There are probably
others out. His actions are proof that they do not even suspect we are
in the vicinity. I suppose they think that my trail, which they followed
for a short distance this morning, was that of a wild animal. Now I
believe that we are going to get out of this without even a brush with
them.”

All breathed easier at these reassuring words; all except Harvey, who
said, “But there is a chance they may come, is there not?”

“Why, from your tone, I really believe you wish they would,” said the
señor. “But,” he added, “that chance and a remark which I made to Mr.
Ferguson have reminded me of something. I believe I said that a volley
might have a demoralizing effect, did I not?”

“Yes; I think you did.”

“Then I shall endeavor to increase the effect. Didn’t I see a gourd in
camp?”

“Harvey has one which Señora Cisneros gave him.”

“Let me have it, Harvey. I can’t promise to return it, but I may make it
of use.”

He emptied some powder into the receptacle, then asked for a
contribution of loaded shells, which he put with the black grains. With
some shreds of cotton, which he twisted into shape, and some dampened
powder he made a fuse and placed it in the opening of the gourd, then
sealed it with moist clay made from the soil underfoot, dampened with
water.

“There!” he exclaimed, “there’s a bomb! It may fail to ignite, and it
will have to be handled quickly, but if it ever does go off in the midst
of the copper-skins there will be a foot-race down the river that will
prove interesting.”

He had been an hour making this weapon of defence. The hands of their
watches pointed to four o’clock, and the shadows to the east of them
commenced to grow long. Ferguson was on watch. The others were lolling
about on the ground, thinking more of other matters than they had at any
time since the evening before, when they were suddenly startled by a
rifle shot.

An answering scream came from above their heads, and a wounded Majerona,
who had crawled to the top of the lowest boulder and was peering into
the camp, came rolling down upon them.



                              CHAPTER IX.
                         ATTACKED BY CANNIBALS.


In his descent the savage struck Harvey, who was crawling from under the
shelter, and the lad was sent sprawling to the other side of the little
enclosure.

“Hold him! Keep him down!” called the señor to Hope-Jones, who with
great presence of mind had fallen upon the struggling Majerona. But
there was little use for the Peruvian to urge, or the Englishman to use
his strength, for the Indian was mortally wounded; his struggles were
death throes, not efforts to give combat, and in a few seconds he rolled
over, dead. The rifle ball had pierced his brain. Two shots had rung out
from the opening while this was going on, and howls and cries answered
them. Ferguson was busily pumping lead into others of the cannibals, and
when his companions hurried to his side, they saw one man stretched out
not fifty feet from the enclosure, and another, evidently wounded, was
being assisted away in the direction of the encampment by a half dozen
fellow-tribesmen.

“Now we are in for it!” said Señor Cisneros. “But first, my friend,” he
said warmly, offering his hand to Ferguson, “I want to tell you that you
have saved our lives. Another minute and all those reptiles would have
been in here, and we should have been massacred. How did you happen to
see him?” pointing to the dead savage, lying against the brush heap—“and
how did you happen to act so promptly?”

Ferguson’s cheeks were red and his eyes were snapping in a manner they
had, when he was excited. He was also breathing quickly.

“It was only good fortune; that’s all,” he replied. “I grew tired
standing stock still while you were loafing in the shade, and to amuse
myself I had lifted my rifle to my shoulder and was taking aim around at
different objects. I suppose that while doing this I neglected to watch
the opening as closely as I should, and one of the Indians sneaked up in
the grass, like that fellow did this morning. But it happened that when
he put his head over the rock, I was aiming at a spot near where his
black hair appeared; so all I had to do was to pull the trigger.”

They all congratulated him—all, including Harvey, who had picked himself
up and was rubbing his head where a lump the size of a hickory nut
testified to his having struck against a stone after being given
momentum by the wounded savage; then they hastened to make such
preparations as were necessary before the attack which they now knew
must come.

“First, let’s get rid of this body,” said the captain, and taking down
some of the brush at the rear, they dragged the corpse out and toward
the river. Returning, they made everything snug again, and the captain
disposed of the forces for the fray.

“My plan of reserving the fire for a volley has been spoiled,” he said,
“so the next best thing will have to be done. Ferguson, you’re a
splendid shot. Do you think that with a boost you can get up on the
rock, in about the place where your friend, the Majerona, was lying?”

“Yes, I guess so,” replied the American, surveying the steep boulder.

“Then it would be well for you to do so and commence picking them off
with your rifle as soon as they come in sight. We have only two openings
down here that command their approach, and there won’t be an opportunity
for us all. We must kill and wound as many as possible before they get
near. That’s our only hope.”

“What am I going to do?” asked Harvey. “There are only two openings, and
I suppose you and Mr. Hope-Jones will want to cover those.”

“You can alternate with me, my boy. My rifle, unfortunately, is a
muzzle-loader, and while I am ramming in a charge you can step to the
peep-hole and use your shot-gun. Of course,” he continued, “the
shot-guns will not carry as far as the rifles and will not be
serviceable as soon, but we have plenty of ammunition, and I think it
would be wise to blaze away with all pieces as often as possible during
the first five minutes and make plenty of noise.” Then turning to
Ferguson again he said:—

“Don’t stay up there a second after it seems dangerous. You can slide
down, can you not, without assistance?”

“Of course.”

“How many cartridges does your rifle carry in the chamber?”

“Eight.”

“Then don’t take any more with you. They will be sufficient until the
arrows commence to fly, and then I want you with us here. That reminds
me, I told Hope-Jones and Harvey to blaze away, regardless of aim, with
their shot-guns for a time, but I suppose you understand the same does
not apply to the rifles. We must make every shot count.”

“Never fear for that. Will you give me a boost now, sir? They will be
coming any minute.”

“Yes. Help me, Hope-Jones. Steady me a bit,” and the Peruvian stood
upright against the rock and told the Englishman to press against his
back. “Leave your rifle, Ferguson, and we will pass it up to you.”

By stepping on a stone the American obtained a foothold on the señor’s
shoulders, then reaching up, he caught a ledge of rock and bringing into
practice an exercise he had learned on the horizontal bars, he drew
himself with ease to the ledge, from which he scrambled to the surface.

“Quick!” he exclaimed, the moment he looked around. “Pass me my rifle.
They are coming! I can see them down the river! Gracious, what a band of
them!”

At the captain’s direction, Harvey jumped on his shoulders as Ferguson
had done and passed the repeating rifle to his companion, then the
Peruvian and the Englishman took positions at the peep-holes, while the
lad stood back, waiting.

If the truth be told his heart was beating like it had on days after a
boat race, and he felt the blood surging to his temples. There was an
instant after Ferguson said that the Indians were coming that he felt
dizzy. But it passed almost as soon as it had come, and he bit his lip
until it bled, for he was angry that any alarm should have seized him.
The moment this feeling of anger came, he was surprised to note that his
heart commenced to beat normally, that the fever left his cheeks, and
that he became self-possessed. And from that moment he became as cool
and collected as any one in the little fort.

“How far are they off?” called out Señor Cisneros.

“A half mile, sir,” answered the voice from above.

“Do you think there are more than forty?”

“I dare say not; but they seemed to number two or three hundred when
they first came in sight.”

“I counted forty when I reconnoitred their camp last night, and they
must have all been within the vicinity of the fire, for there would have
been no object in their scattering at that hour. Therefore, with two
dead and one wounded we have thirty-seven to fight. How are they coming?
In a body?”

“Yes; close together; all in a bunch.”

“So much the better.”

This conversation had been carried on in loud tones, that Ferguson might
hear and be heard, for he was lying on the far side of the boulder. It
seemed strange to speak in this manner after the enforced whispers that
had been the rule for twenty-four hours.

“Now I can see them,” said the captain, and he rested his rifle on the
ledge. A sharp report sounded above.

“Did you bring another down?”

“No,” called back Ferguson. “I missed.”

“You’re honest, that’s sure. Most persons would have said they didn’t
know, but thought so. Better reserve your fire a few minutes.”

The American did as he was advised, but before any of them below had an
opportunity to take effective aim, his rifle spoke again and the captain
called: “How now?”

“I saw a copper-colored rascal whirl ‘round and ‘round and then drop.”

“Bravo! That makes thirty-six!”

A minute later the Peruvian’s weapon sounded, and without waiting to
notice the result, he darted back and commenced to reload, saying:—

“Now blaze away, my lad!” and Harvey rushed to the opening. Hope-Jones
in the meantime had discharged one barrel, then another, of his shot-gun
and had thrown back the breech to press in fresh shells, while the sharp
report of Ferguson’s rifle came from above, once, twice, thrice, and the
American was heard to call above the din:—

“They’re getting it! You struck one, Cisneros, and I have fetched two
more.”

“Thirty-three,” said the Peruvian, and he crowded Harvey one side as the
boy was loading his double-barrelled gun, and taking aim once more, he
sent another bullet into the dark throng that was rapidly approaching,
for the Indians were running.

After that there was no opportunity to keep count. Ferguson came sliding
down from his altitudinous perch, having exhausted all the cartridges in
his rifle; and ejecting the worthless shells, he loaded again, then
stood behind Hope-Jones, to alternate with him at the peep-hole, and
after the Englishman had fired both barrels point-blank, the American
jumped to the opening and pumped eight shots in the direction of the
enemy, as fast as the mechanism of the modern arm would work.

Harvey, the while, had been loading with feverish haste, running toward
his peep-hole the moment it was left by the Peruvian and discharging his
weapon. He took aim, and after the third discharge, he saw an Indian
fall, evidently from shot he had sent speeding, for the man was somewhat
detached from the others and the boy had tried to bring him down. The
little enclosure became filled with smoke, and their faces and arms were
streaked with dirt. All were more or less powder-burned, but of this
they did not know till afterwards.

“What now?” suddenly said the captain, for the Majeronas had halted.
“They are bending their bows! Watch out, all! Down on your faces!”

The warning was not a second too soon. Whistling like a wind that
scurries around the gable of a house in winter, a flight of arrows
poured into and over the little fort, and others could be heard striking
against the front boulder. Several of the darts came through the
openings and rattled against the stones, and one transfixed Ferguson’s
knapsack, which was in a corner.

“Now, at them once more!”

And the men and boy jumped to their places as before.

The target was not nearly so good. The Indians had separated and were
spreading out. They could be seen running in different directions,
evidently carrying out some command of their chief, and a few minutes
later a dozen commenced climbing trees, keeping their bodies on the side
opposite the fort.

“This is different,” exclaimed the señor. “Pick off all you can while
you have the opportunity, for we shall soon be compelled to seek
shelter.”

The guns were kept busy until the barrels were so hot that they burned
the hands, but only one Majerona fell—a bold fellow who had run forward
of the others, and whom it was Harvey’s lot to make bite the dust, at
which the captain patted the boy on the shoulder and said:—

“I wish I had a lad like you. If God spares me, I am going to make it my
business to tell Señor Dartmoor what a son he has.”

A little later he called, “Under cover, all of you!” and they darted
beneath the thick mass of boughs that he had placed against the side of
the boulder. Then they knew with what wisdom he had constructed this
protection, for arrows commenced to rain into the enclosure from all
sides, some whistling low over the boulders, others dropping as if from
the skies. They came with such force that those which fell without stood
upright in the ground, and although others penetrated the protecting
branches, they lost their force and none of the defenders of the fort
was harmed. However, as a further protection, they lay flat on their
faces. This lasted for full five minutes; then there was a lull, and
Señor Cisneros, creeping to an opening, said:—

“They are forming again. No, don’t fire,” and he restrained Hope-Jones.
“I have an idea.”

“What is it?”

“If we withhold our fire, they will think we are all dead or so
grievously wounded as not to be able to resist. You see, they don’t know
anything about our roof. The fellow who got a view inside was placed in
a position where he could not relate the result of his observations.
Yes, they are forming in a body for a rush. Now wait, everybody, until I
give the word!”

He darted under the boughs to the furthermost corner and at once
reappeared with the gourd which, earlier in the afternoon, he had
fashioned into a bomb.

“Who has a match?”

Harvey gave him some.

[Illustration: “Angry copper-colored faces showed at the opening.”]

“Here, Hope-Jones, take my rifle! You can use it and your shot-gun as
well, for I shall be busy with this thing. Harvey, don’t try to fire,
but have your gun handy. When I give the word, pull away as fast as you
can at the brush in the opening nearest the Indians, so that I may have
room in which to throw.”

These directions were no sooner given than the band of Majeronas,
yelling, sprang toward the stone fort. The four defenders bent down low,
that they might not be seen. The Indians ran with great speed,
brandishing bludgeons; they had cast their bows one side, evidently
believing the victory won. Señor Cisneros let them come to within a
stone’s throw, then he called:—

“Now let drive!” and Ferguson and Hope-Jones, jumping to the opening,
discharged three shots simultaneously, and the repeating-rifle of the
former was worked as it never had been worked before.

“Pull down the brush! Use both hands! Quick now!”

Harvey sprang to his task and tore away the small branches. The crackle
of a match was heard, and, just as angry, copper-colored faces showed at
the opening, the captain called out:—

“Duck down, everybody!”

The next instant a report as of a cannon was heard, followed by
screeches and howls; and a cloud of white smoke drifted away before a
light breeze that had sprung up, while a crackle as of giant
fire-crackers told of the exploding cartridges with which the gourd had
been loaded.

“Out and after them!” screamed the señor, seizing his rifle and pushing
his way through the opening, in which act he was followed by the three
companions.

But they met none in combat. The Indians were fleeing, running in a
confused mass along the river bank, shrieking in their fear. Two or
three picked up their bows as they sped, and turning, let fly each an
arrow, then joined the others; but the majority never turned. The
defenders of the little fort followed for several hundred yards, firing
as they went, not in endeavor to kill more, for they did not stop to
take aim, but to spread the alarm; until at last loss of breath caused a
halt. But the Majeronas, greatly reduced in numbers, kept on, their
howls growing fainter and fainter, until they were heard no more, and
the last of the savages disappeared down the river.

“Do you think they will come back?” panted Hope-Jones.

“No. They believe they attacked a band of devils. There is no longer
danger.”

“Where’s Harvey?” It was Ferguson who asked.

They looked around, and their cheeks blanched. The boy was not with
them.



                               CHAPTER X.
                         NEAR TO DEATH’S DOOR.


For a minute none of the three said a word, then Señor Cisneros
suggested that perhaps the lad had remained behind.

“No. That’s not his way. He would be with us unless hurt, or——”

Hope-Jones could not find the word for the alternative; his voice
choked. “Let’s hurry back,” he added.

They did so, going as fast as when in pursuit of the enemy, and not
stopping until they had reached the fort. Outside they saw their boy
companion lying beside a large stone not a hundred yards from the
opening. An arrow was fastened in his breast.

Hope-Jones dropped on his knees. Ferguson reached over to pull out the
arrow, but was restrained by the captain.

“Don’t,” he said. “It might cause a fatal hemorrhage if there is not one
already. Wait until we see how far it has entered;” and he commenced
unfastening Harvey’s coat, which had been buttoned close, that it might
not impede his action.

“I fear it has reached his heart,” said the Englishman, in a whisper.
“See, it penetrated the left side.”

“His hands are cold,” Ferguson added. “I cannot feel the pulse.”

All three were quite pale and were trembling. It seemed probable that
life had left the boy’s body.

“Bring some water, quickly,” said the captain. “I will do the best I
can.”

Ferguson darted off to the fort and returned at once with the skin bag
filled.

“Help me turn him over. There, that’s right; not too much,” and the
captain loosened another button, then carefully inserted his hand
beneath the coat. He felt in the region where the arrow had penetrated,
and touching the shaft moved his fingers cautiously downward. Then a
puzzled expression came over his face, and he muttered: “Something hard.
I don’t quite understand. There isn’t any blood.”

He withdrew his hand, looked at it, then inserted it again and caught
the shaft firmly. The dart turned to one side, but did not come out. The
captain jumped to his feet.

“That arrow isn’t in Harvey’s body!” he exclaimed. “It’s fast in
something that he has in the pocket of his flannel shirt. He’s fainted;
got a knock on his head or something. Throw some water on his face!”

Ferguson did as directed, and Harvey immediately sat upright, then began
pawing the air, as if warding off a blow, and tried to rise to his feet.
Desisting suddenly from this effort he exclaimed: “What’s all the rumpus
about? And—and—where are the Majeronas?”

Ferguson and Hope-Jones were too overjoyed to speak. They clapped the
boy on the back, rubbed his arms, and asked him where he was hurt. For
reply he put his hand to his head, and they found there another lump.

“I stumbled, I guess, and struck my head,” he said. “I can remember
falling, and I saw a lot of stars and—but say, where are the savages?”

“Yes; and when you were falling, this was shot into you.” The captain
pointed to the arrow, which was drooping, but still was held firmly.

Harvey looked at it in surprise, then reached under his coat. As he
touched the shaft his cheeks turned a fiery red. He endeavored to
withdraw the dart by pulling at it from the outside, but it would not
come, so Ferguson bent down and helped him unfasten the remaining
buttons of his coat and remove the garment. But even with the weight of
that on the shaft, the arrow held firmly to the something that was in
Harvey’s pocket, and he was at last compelled to cut the flannel. Then
all saw that the point was embedded firmly in a pincushion, no larger
than a plum, a pincushion well stuffed with cotton and which had barred
the way to the boy’s heart.

“How on earth did you happen to be carrying such a thing in your
pocket?” asked Hope-Jones.

He did not answer. He was looking at the little article, and his face
turned pale as he thought of his narrow escape from death; and at the
same time he thought of those he had left behind and of the giver of
that which had so strangely saved his life, Señorita Bella Caceras,
niece of the famous Captain Grau, who, the evening before the departure
of the three from Callao, had made this little present to the lad, that
he might have some token to carry with him into the wilds of Peru. Thus
a girl’s thoughtful gift and a boy’s romantic manner of carrying the
keepsake had resulted in the arrest of a Majerona arrow, aimed at the
heart.

He did not explain all this to his companions, who pressed closer,
congratulating him and patting him on the back, for every moment they
realized more and more what a narrow escape he had had; no, he kept his
secret and later he sewed up the pocket, replaced the little pincushion,
and vowed that he would carry it with him so long as he lived. He also
saved the arrow, so that when he returned to Callao he could present it
to the señorita.

The men attempted to assist him into the fort, but Harvey protested that
he was as well and as able to be about as ever in his life.

“Then let’s start for the white rock,” said Ferguson.

“No, indeed,” was Señor Cisneros’s rejoinder. “I for one favor a good
rest.”

“Perhaps that would be a better plan.”

“Indeed it would,” assented Hope-Jones. “I confess that I am played
out.”

“First, let’s give these bodies some sort of burial,” said the Peruvian,
and he pointed to the corpses that were strewn over the ground.

They dug a trench with their picks, and gathering the dead Majeronas
from near the fort and from several hundred yards away, they placed them
in the shallow opening and covered them with earth. Fourteen were thus
interred. How many savages had been wounded they never knew. A few of
those who had been struck by bullets and not killed during the battle,
had been helped away by their comrades; others, who were mortally
wounded, had been killed, as was the custom of the tribe.



                              CHAPTER XI.
                         BEYOND THE WHITE ROCK.


The grewsome work of burial completed, they reëntered the little fort
and made preparations for the night. First, they went to the river bank
and enjoyed a bath in the cool, crystal waters; and there for the first
time they discovered many bruises on their bodies, caused by bumps and
knocks received during the quick action of the afternoon.

Ferguson had scraped one of his shins while sliding down the rock after
emptying his rifle at the approaching Majeronas, and the cut on his left
hand pained him greatly. Hope-Jones found a black and blue spot on his
right shoulder, which he could not account for until he remembered that
in his excitement he had several times neglected to press his shot-gun
close when firing; and a little later he discovered that the lobe of his
right ear was torn.

“An arrow struck there,” said the captain, after examining the wound.
“You had as narrow an escape as had Harvey.”

Then the captain looked at his own physical condition and reported that
the tendons of his left ankle had been strained, and that a long powder
burn on his right cheek marked where a flash had sprung upward from an
imperfect cap on his old-fashioned rifle.

But of them all Harvey showed more marks of battle. A very painful black
and blue spot on his side told where the foot of the Majerona had struck
him after the drop from the rock, and two bruises on the back of the
head marked his contact with stones on the occasions of his falling. His
hands were scratched and torn in several places, but he could not tell
how these minor wounds had been received until the captain remarked that
he had never seen a brush-heap disappear so rapidly as when the boy
pulled away branches from the opening, to make room for the bomb; and
then the lad recalled that at the time he had felt the sharp prick of
thorns.

Although they were refreshed after the bath, they limped more or less on
their return to camp.

“Is that due to the fact that we have just seen where we have been
hurt?”

“Partly that and partly because the excitement is over,” said the
captain.

“It will be good to have a hot supper,” the elder American remarked,
changing the subject; “but I’ll be switched if I feel much like making a
fire and cooking.”

“What have we to cook, anyway? There’s not a bit of fresh meat in the
camp, and I’d rather go to bed hungry than hunt for anything,”
interposed Harvey.

“Go to bed?” queried Hope-Jones.

“Well, turn in, lie down, go to sleep, or whatever you call it; but it’s
going to be ‘go to bed’ for me, because I shall pile up some of that
dried moss over there and make a couch.”

“A good idea,” said the señor. “We will all do it. As for supper, I for
one propose to eat my last ration of dried meat and not try for any game
to-night.”

The others did not demur, and although the sun was not yet set, they
proceeded to bring in the moss and distribute it under the boughs that
had sheltered them from dropping arrows. But as the three adventurers
from Callao were spreading their blankets and kicking off their shoes,
Señor Cisneros interrupted them with, “Not so fast there! What about a
watch?”

“A watch to-night? Is one necessary?”

“Certainly, and every night, so long as we are in this region. The
Majeronas are probably gone for good, but some of them might return.
Yes, sirs, we will take our turns, above and below, as they say on
shipboard.”

“Who first?” asked Hope-Jones.

“Suppose we draw lots. Better still, let Harvey choose which watch he
will stand, as he is the one most used up, and we men will draw straws!”

Harvey decided that he would prefer to be sentinel from six till eight
o’clock, then have a night’s rest through, so the others lay down under
the shelter, and he stationed himself in the opening, near the river,
with Ferguson’s rifle in hand.

A heavy rain fell on the following day, and they were only too glad to
remain under the shelter of the boughs which, reënforced with the canvas
of the shelter-tent, made an almost perfect watershed. Harvey was
somewhat feverish in the morning, and the others felt even more wearied
than on the night before, so all were rather pleased than vexed that the
elements had conspired to delay their journey.

Lest the younger member of the party should fall ill, Señor Cisneros
early set about administering the remedies which were at hand, the first
of which was quinine, and he gave Harvey ten grains. Then, believing
that a hot foot-bath would prove beneficial, he cast about for a utensil
that could be improvised as a tub, and finding none, he dug a hole, two
feet deep and about two feet square, into which he poured water heated
by Hope-Jones over a brisk fire built in a corner of the fort, where a
ledge of rock sheltered the crackling wood from the rain. This novel
bath was at the edge of the lean-to of boughs, and when Harvey,
following the captain’s directions, plunged his lower limbs into it,
raindrops fell on his knees, but these and his body to the waist were
covered with moss, and the lad was compelled to stay in that posture for
ten minutes and “steam,” while the captain added hot water until the
patient yelled out that he was being scalded.

“I dare say you think you are,” said the Peruvian, as he desisted, “but
I can bear my hand in here.”

Notwithstanding a demonstration to this effect, Harvey protested against
the temperature being increased, and at last was permitted again to roll
over on his moss couch, where, covered with blankets, he soon fell
asleep.

It was three o’clock in the afternoon when he awakened. The fever had
passed, the aches had disappeared from the muscles, and he said that he
felt somewhat better, though a trifle weak. To prove there was at hand a
remedy for this condition, Señor Cisneros pointed to Ferguson, who was
busy in the far corner, turning ‘round and ‘round, over the glowing heat
of embers, the ramrod of the captain’s rifle, on which were spitted a
dozen little birds; and from the broilers came a savory odor that caused
Harvey to smack his lips in expectation.

“They are plovers,” said the señor. “Hope-Jones went out about ten
o’clock to find you a delicacy, and he succeeded in bagging enough for
us all.”

The wild birds, reënforced by one of the captain’s palm-shoot
vegetables, furnished a most edible repast, and it was not long
thereafter before Hope-Jones, Ferguson, and the youngest member of the
party turned in, the captain taking the first watch.

When Harvey awoke in the morning, he reported himself fit for any task,
and the others, having recovered from strains and bruises, agreed to
start as soon after breakfast as the packing of the camp equipment would
permit. Before the departure, Señor Cisneros fastened a pole firmly
between two of the rocks and attached thereto a handkerchief.

“It’s possible, though not probable, that hostile Indians may appear
again,” he said. “In that event it would be well for us to retreat to
this position, which is naturally fitted for defence, and which we have
rendered even more impregnable. As the boulders do not show their
peculiar form from down stream, we might pass the place by in our haste
to seek shelter, but with that flagstaff set I don’t believe we could
miss it.”

“Hadn’t we better give our little fort a name?” asked Harvey.

“To be sure we had,” said Ferguson. “Victory do?”

“I would suggest Majerona Hill,” said Hope-Jones.

“Would not Fort Pincushion be more appropriate?” asked the captain.

“Capital! Capital!” exclaimed the two men, and the boy blushed as he had
done on the occasion when he felt the object in his pocket which had
been pierced by the arrow.

Although the white rock, which had been their goal since leaving Callao,
had seemed only a short distance from the fort, yet they were nearly
half an hour reaching a point beneath its strange formation, and all
four expressed astonishment at the brilliant, pearly white lustre.
Ferguson was the first to touch the stone, and in passing his hand over
the surface, he noticed that his finger nail left a mark.

“My, how soft it is! Almost as soft as soapstone! Can you tell us, Mr.
Geologist, what manner of outcropping the Earth has given us here?”

Harvey, thus appealed to, took from his knapsack the little hammer which
he had brought for such purpose, and knocking off a fragment, he
examined it critically, then said:—

“It looks very much like alabaster.”

“Alabaster in these regions?”

“Yes, and it is not unusual. The stone is found near Cuzco, and it
abounds in the Cordilleras of Chile. To be sure, the best quality comes
from Tuscany, but excellent specimens abound in this interior region,
and we have found an unusually large deposit.”

“It seems to me that I perceive a faint odor of lime,” said Hope-Jones.

“Then I am correct in saying that this is alabaster,” the boy answered;
“for alabaster is a compact variety of sulphate of lime.”

“Now for the mine!” exclaimed Ferguson, and they at once turned from the
shaft and made ready to continue the journey.

“Old Huayno directed you to proceed farther north for a half mile, until
you should see another white rock, did he not?” asked the captain.

“Yes.”

“Then put your compass on something level, Hope-Jones, and give us the
bearings.”

The Englishman did so, and the needle pointed in a direction that took
them away from the stream, into the light growth of woods. They
tightened their belts and started, pushing forward rapidly and eagerly.
Months afterward Harvey said that no stage or event of the journey, not
even the encounter with the savages, was so firmly impressed on his mind
as was this period after they swung to the left from the bank of the
river Marañon.

“I had a stuffy feeling,” he explained; “all choked up, and didn’t know
whether I should cry like a baby when I reached the mine, or shout like
a man. I thought all the time of mother, father, Rosita, and Louis, of
what riches would do for them. Yes, to be sure, I thought of myself as
well, but to tell the honest truth, it was not so much with the idea of
having great riches at hand, as it was to be able to purchase some books
that I wanted, and a sail-boat.”

These thoughts of the boy were shared in their intensity by the other
members of the party. Hope-Jones had left an aged mother in England,
who, though not in want, would be none the less a sharer in any good
fortune that might come to her son; Ferguson built air-castles for his
sister, who was studying music in Boston, and who had written him only
by the last mail that she would be perfectly happy, could she but go
abroad. As for the captain, he had long wished that six months might be
passed in Lima and the remaining period of the year in their home in
Huari. Thus busied they said little or nothing during the first ten
minutes after leaving the Marañon, but kept on diligently, making as
much speed as was possible over the rough country.

Their speculating reveries were interrupted by the captain, who called a
halt for a conference.

“Your old Indian friend said something about trees having been felled
across the path from the river to the mine, did he not?”

“Yes.”

“Then it is about time for us to meet with them in quantity. There are a
few here and there, but not enough as yet to indicate that we have
reached the region where the Ayulis placed obstructions. Another matter
to consider is that a white rock hereabouts, although the timber is
sparse, would not be so readily seen as the pile of alabaster on the
river bank. And again, it must be remembered that the Ayulis did not use
a compass in determining the course of their journeys; they judged such
a direction to be north, and another south, by the relative bearing of
the sun. Therefore, although Huayno said to go north from the river, yet
his ‘north’ might have been northeast or northwest.”

“What then do you propose to do, sir?”

“I believe it would be wise to spread out. You, Hope-Jones and Harvey,
walk over to the right until you are within easy calling distance of one
another, and Ferguson and I will do the same on the left. We will then
move forward in a fan-shape and cover the country closely, watching out
for a white rock and for fallen trees that seem to have been felled
systematically. Everybody move slowly,” he added. “About like this,” and
he took several paces, to give them an example.

Fifteen minutes later not one was in sight of the other, and then they
commenced the slow forward journey, “beating the country,” one might
say, not for animals or birds, but for signs that a century before had
marked for the aborigines of Peru the place where great treasure lay
buried.

Harvey, between the captain and Hope-Jones, could hear the swish of the
latter’s walking-stick as he cut the plants through which he moved, but
not a sound came from his left. Occasionally a little animal darted from
a decayed log; or, with a whir, a bird, startled from the undergrowth,
would fly ahead, slanting upwards. But he saw nothing else. The trees
were not much nearer together than in an orchard. Of course they were
large of trunk and branch, and the shade was almost continual. Here and
there one had fallen, but the boy saw no signs of a number having been
felled by man. After fifteen minutes had passed he heard Hope-Jones
call: “Anything in sight, Harvey?”

“Nothing.” Then he repeated the question, turning to the left.

“Not a sight that is cheering, my boy,” was the captain’s answer.

The Peruvian’s voice was quite indistinct, and Harvey, believing he had
borne too far to the right, altered his direction somewhat. Then time
commenced to hang heavy, and the minutes dragged like hours as he moved
on, but ahead he saw an interminable succession of giant trees,
interspersed here and there with immense heliotrope bushes, but never a
rock of prominence or a number of trees felled as if to offer a bar to
progress. Finally there came a call that set his blood tingling.

“Come on, Harvey, and bring Hope-Jones with you!” shouted the captain.

The lad repeated the cheerful words, and soon the crackling of
underbrush announced the approach of the Englishman, who, panting from
his exertions, joined the boy, and then the two made equal haste to the
side of the Peruvian, who guided them by frequent shouts.

“What is it?” both asked.

“Ferguson has seen something and is waiting,” he answered, then called
out: “Give us a word, over there!”

A shout came in reply, and going in the direction of the sound, the
three made the most haste possible.

They found the elder American standing near a mass that resembled a
mound, and in every direction ahead of him were similar curious shapes.

“Don’t you think these have been formed by heaps of fallen trees,
covered in time with vegetation?” he inquired.

“You may be right. Here, lend me your pick-axe, Hope-Jones;” and taking
the tool the captain commenced vigorously to make an opening. The mound
yielded beneath the blows and proved to be little more than a mass of
foliage supported by soil that had been formed of dead timber. Within
were gray, shrivelled pieces of wood, some of which Harvey drew forth
and eagerly examined.

“Yes,” he exclaimed, “these are pieces of trees, almost fossilized.”

“Then we are in the right path,” said Hope-Jones. “But where is the
white rock?”

“That remains to be found. Let’s push onward,” said the captain.

As all the mounds seemed to be within reach of the eye on both sides,
and to extend in a line straight ahead, they continued their way
together and travelled through the strange land that spoke of the
Ayulis’ anger and the efforts of the aborigines to prevent their
treasure falling into the intruders’ hands.

Captain Cisneros remarked that the trees were not so tall as those they
had left behind, which, he said, was conclusive evidence that the
primeval growth had been cut down, and that this thin forest had sprung
into being since that day. It was noticed that the ground sloped
somewhat from both right and left; they were, in fact, in a little
valley, through which, as Ferguson remarked, a stream once flowed and
probably still flowed during the rainy season.

For nearly fifteen minutes they kept on, and then as suddenly as the
mounds had commenced, they came to an end, and beyond them the trees
were of ancient growth once more. They looked at one another
quizzically, as if to say: “We have passed the obstructions. Where is
the white rock that marks the mine?”

“We’ve missed it somehow,” said the captain. “Perhaps it’s to the right,
or the left. Hope-Jones, you and Harvey go around the mounds on one
side, and Ferguson and I will go on the other.”

They separated, as proposed, and carefully surveyed the country for the
landmark which meant fortunes to them. The two parties were an hour
making the detour, and when they met again at the point where Ferguson
had first called their attention to the curious earth formations,
neither had any encouraging report to make. All were puzzled. What could
it mean? Had old Huayno hoaxed them, and thus vented his wrath against
white men? The captain asked this question and was assured by both
Hope-Jones and Ferguson that they, who had known the old Indian, could
not entertain the thought for a minute. Could he have been mistaken
concerning the location of the second white rock? That was possible, but
where could they search for it, if not among these mounds? Huayno’s
estimate of distances had proved different from theirs; still the
general direction had been correct, and they had found all the landmarks
that he had named—all save the last and the most important.

While discussing what had better be done, they unstrapped their
knapsacks and ate the noonday meal, for the morning had passed. This
done, the captain said that he would keep on some distance in the
general direction they had followed since leaving the river, and while
he was gone the others could explore the mound region more thoroughly.

It was four o’clock when they met again, weary and discouraged, for not
one had seen aught that led him to believe they had located the mine.

“I thought I had the rock in sight once, boys, but it turned out to be a
tree with white blossoms,” said the captain.

As the shades were lengthening in the woods, the explorers turned back
to the river, and once arrived at the white rock on the bank, they
decided to camp there for the night and not walk to Fort Pincushion. So
they pitched the shelter-tent, built a fire and cooked some game which
they had killed on the return trip. Then, after arranging for the watch,
those who could “turn in” went to sleep immediately, for their brains
were fatigued by the disappointment, even as their bodies were by the
physical exertion.



                              CHAPTER XII.
                          HARVEY AS A SENTRY.


Harvey was called at two o’clock in the morning, and he posted himself
as sentinel under a small tree that grew near the shelter-tent. He had
become somewhat accustomed to being rudely awakened and to being alone
while the others slept, and now that an attack by Indians was
improbable, and it was no longer necessary to strain his sense of
hearing that he might note the slightest sound, the novelty of the
situation appealed to him.

This night the moon in its third quarter shone from out a cloudless sky,
and at the altitude of the great intermontane valley in which they
rested, the rays were brighter than at points nearer the sea level, so
the river bank and the open country were visible with nearly the
distinctness of day.

As the boy walked a few times back and forth, a rifle on his shoulder,
then paused for a short rest under the tree, he puzzled his brain to
account for their not having found the second white rock. He believed
implicitly in the truth of all that Huayno had said, and was confident
that not far from where he stood great riches were stored in the ground.

But could they ever locate the mine? It would be a task of years to
demolish all those mounds and ascertain which hid the entrance to the
old workings; and should it be attempted, others must learn what they
were doing on the banks of the Marañon, others would flock to the place
with picks and shovels, and among these others some one or two might
first find the store of yellow metal.

Thus cogitating he walked closer to the river and stood beneath the
great white rock, which shone resplendent in the moonlight, glistening
and seeming to be translucent. Studying the strange geological formation
attentively, he noticed for the first time that only the side facing up
stream and the side facing the woods were white; those facing down
stream and the opposite shore were much darker, almost a slate color.
This peculiarity had not been remarked, because no member of the party
had gone farther down stream. The boy also saw that the rock was several
feet from the river and that its lower portion, where the water washed,
had turned this same slate color.

He paced slowly back to the tree, meditating on these observations, and
endeavoring to solve the reason for the varying of the physical features
of the unique landmark. In the midst of this his mind strangely reverted
to the time of a dinner party that had been given at his father’s home
in Chucuito about six months before, and try as he might he could think
of nothing else than this entertainment and the people who were present;
then of the conversation that had occurred—and the moment the mind cell
that contained the impression left by that conversation opened, he had
the solution of the problem which confronted them.

At this dinner Don Isaac Lawton, editor of the _South Pacific Times_,
had been asked to explain the absence of rain on the Peruvian
coast-line. He had done so in these words:—

“The absence of rain on the coast is caused by the action of the lofty
uplands of the Andes on the trade-wind. The southeast trade-wind blows
obliquely across the Atlantic Ocean until it reaches Brazil. By this
time it is heavily laden with vapor, which it continues to bear along
across the continent, depositing it and supplying the sources of the
Amazon and the La Plata. Finally, the trade-wind arrives at the
snow-capped Andes, and here the last particle of moisture is wrung from
it that the very low temperature can extract. Coming to the summit of
that range, it rushes down as a cool and dry wind on the Pacific slopes
below. Meeting with no evaporating surface, and with no temperature
colder than that to which it is subjected on the mountain tops, this
wind joins the south trades and reaches the ocean before it becomes
charged with fresh moisture.”

Harvey, recalling this conversation, for it had been imprinted upon his
mind, because it was the first explanation he had heard of this Pacific
coast phenomenon, began to reason that if the trade-winds blew in a
certain direction over Brazil and in a certain direction on the coast,
there was undoubtedly a regularity of the wind currents in this
intermontane valley. He had noticed since leaving Huari that what breeze
stirred, blew in their faces; therefore the general direction of the
wind was up stream, or toward the southwest.

That being true, the reason why a portion of the great white rock had
turned a slate color was evident—it was weather-stained, and the
remaining portion, sheltered from the winds, retained its lustre. At
this stage in his reflections he recalled a sentence from his geology:
“Alabaster is soluble to a certain extent in water.”

This white rock was high above the river and had not been dissolved by
the stream. Its northern portion had undoubtedly been worn by rains, and
it was probably not so high as when old Huayno was a young man; still it
had been better preserved than if the full force of the stream had been
brought to bear upon it.

“What if conditions had been different and the rock had been wave-washed
all these years?” Harvey asked, and then answered himself: “It would
have been worn down and all sides would have been weather-stained, even
as the more exposed portions are.”

In the region of the peculiar mounds they had noticed a depression, and
all had agreed that it probably formed the course of a stream during the
rainy season. Perhaps the second white rock had stood in this
depression; it was undoubtedly not so high as that which was nearer the
river, even in old Huayno’s day. What then would have been the natural
result of a low rock of alabaster, washed five and six months in the
year by swiftly running waters?

Again he answered himself, to the effect that under such circumstances a
rock of this description would have been worn down in the eighty years,
perhaps almost to a level with the country, and its entire surface would
be slate-colored, like the weather-beaten sides of the landmark on the
Marañon.

Five minutes later Harvey entered the shelter-tent and awakened
Ferguson.

“My turn to stand guard, eh?” said the elder American, as he threw off
the blankets and commenced putting on his clothing.

The boy made no answer until he was joined on the outside by the young
man; then he said:—

“No, it isn’t your turn, and it won’t be for an hour, but I would like
to go into the woods for a little while and don’t wish to leave the camp
unguarded.”

“Go into the woods! Are you crazy, lad? Has the moon affected you?”

“I have an idea that I can find the second rock.”

“You have, have you?”

“Yes.” And then he explained his chain of reasoning.

“Now I call that clever,” said Ferguson, “and I believe you have hit the
nail on the head. Don’t you want somebody to go with you?”

“No. There’s no danger. I shall carry my shot-gun. Besides, the camp
must be guarded, and I don’t want to awaken the other two.”

“Why not?”

“They’ve had their watch; and besides, if I fail, there won’t be so many
persons disappointed.”

“Sensible precaution, that.”

“I wish I had Mr. Hope-Jones’s compass.”

“Here it is. He gave it to me in the woods because his pocket is torn.”

“Let me have it, please. Mr. Ferguson, 5280 feet make a mile, do they
not?”

“Yes.”

“And one-half of 5280 is 2640?”

“Certainly.”

“I cover about two feet at every step through this broken country, do I
not?”

“About that. But what are you driving at? You are the greatest boy to
fire questions at one that I ever met.”

“Why, I want to go in the direction old Huayno gave for exactly a half
mile, or as near that as possible, and then investigate.”

“Well, take care of yourself, and if anything happens fire a shot and I
will hurry to your aid.”

“Good-by.”

“Good luck.”

And the boy disappeared in the timber. “One, two, three, four, five,
six, seven, eight, nine, ten,” Harvey counted, and then into the
twenties and into the hundreds, thus numbering the steps as he took them
in a north direction, guided by the compass needle. He soon lost sight
of the camp and of the white rock and was well in the region of the tall
trees. He had carried only his shot-gun, the little iron hammer, and the
compass. The early morning was cool, the air bracing, and as the moon’s
rays gave plenty of light, he made quick progress; but from the start he
so regulated his steps that they would not be much over two feet each in
length. Whatever addition there might be to that measure he thought
would in the total correspond with old Huayno’s idea of a half mile, for
the Indian’s estimate had invariably been less than the actual distance.

He had counted one thousand before he stopped to rest; and then the halt
was but momentary, more to tighten his belt and shift his shot-gun from
one shoulder to the other, than because he was tired. Soon after
starting again, he noticed to his satisfaction that he had entered the
slight depression which they had observed in the afternoon, and through
which it was believed a river ran during the rainy season. Its course
there was north to south, where it entered the Marañon. Thus the
strength of one link in his theoretical chain had been proven; if the
second white rock was directly north from the main river, it undoubtedly
stood in the bed of this periodical waterway.

About this time he entered the region of the curious mounds and was able
to remain in the little valley, for the waters had washed a way around
each, not so deep as the channel, however, proving that a portion of the
flow had soaked through the strangely formed hillocks.

At his two-thousandth step the boy noticed that the mounds had increased
in size and were closer together. A hundred yards farther they appeared
to be merged into one, which was several hundred feet in circumference,
and which appeared to be a little table-land, indented by the depression
across its surface. At the opposite end from where he had entered the
table-land, or rather on the opposite side of the circle, the river-bed
swept in an angle to the east.

Perspiration stood in beads on his forehead; his heart beat wildly. Was
he right? Was this little table-land, this mound larger than all the
others, an elevation at the mouth of the mine? Was the decomposed wood
under his feet the remains of trees which had been felled in the
greatest number by the Ayulis, because of proximity to the treasure? If
these facts were true, then where had the white rock stood? Why, at the
point where the river of winter changed its course to the east; that was
the most probable point, if the pillar that marked the mine opening bore
north from the Marañon, as old Huayno had said.

It took him but a minute to reach this point, and once there he put down
his rifle, then commenced to crawl on all fours over the little hillocks
with which the big mound was dotted, striking the ground hard blows with
his hammer. After having done this for a quarter of an hour or so he
stopped, for he was almost out of breath, then when rested he moved to
the other side of the depression, at a point a few yards beyond, where
it turned east at right angles. There his foot encountered something
hard, and throwing himself down, he commenced feverishly to tear aside
the vines and creepers that formed a covering. When they were removed he
saw a dark brown rock that was covered over with decayed vegetable
matter. Scraping this off, the lad made use of his little hammer, and
after three or four blows a wonderful thing happened.

As the dirty brown shells of an oyster open and reveal an interior of
pearly white, so the breaking of the rock showed a seam that was the
color of milk.

Ferguson, standing guard near the Marañon, was wondering what kept
Harvey so long and was blaming himself for permitting the lad to enter
the woods unaccompanied at such an hour, when his attention was
attracted by the crackling of underbrush some distance away, and then
the sound of footfalls nearing him rapidly.

“Harvey’s on the run!” he ejaculated. “Wonder if it’s a puma this time,
or what?” and swinging his rifle on his shoulder, he started at a double
quick to the forest, where he met the boy, hatless and minus his
shot-gun, just beyond the first line of trees.

He had no opportunity to make inquiries, for the lad waved a piece of
rock the instant he caught sight of him and screamed:—

“I’ve found it! I’ve found it! Look at this! will you?”

It happened that the shelter-tent had not been erected in a very secure
manner the evening before, for all hands had been too tired and
discouraged; they had used a very thin piece of wood for a centre-pole.
Therefore the result of a wild rush under the canvas by Ferguson and
Harvey, both anxious to tell the cheering news, was the collapse of the
cloth structure, and in the entangling folds three men and a boy were
soon struggling. To add to the confusion, Hope-Jones, who had been
dreaming of the Majeronas, imagined an attack was on, and reaching out
for the fancied opponent nearest him, he commenced pommelling Ferguson
lustily. The elder American, who was so imprisoned by the canvas that he
could not defend himself, might have been seriously injured had not
Señor Cisneros rolled himself free, and dragged the bellicose Englishman
away. He then freed the others, and as Harvey was still breathing
heavily, after the wild dash through the woods, he drew the boy to him,
believing he had been injured.

“No, I’m not hurt,” exclaimed the lad, panting. “Look, I have found the
white rock over there in the woods! Here’s a piece that I chipped off,”
and he exhibited the specimen of alabaster, to which he had held firmly.

Hope-Jones, who by this time had come to his senses, gave a yell of joy,
and the captain, jumping to his feet, caught Harvey by the shoulders in
an embrace, then urged him to relate the details of his exploration.

Of course there was no thought of attempting to sleep again that night;
they did not even straighten up the shelter-tent. Hope-Jones and
Ferguson favored starting at once in search of the treasure, but the
captain said it would be wiser first to eat breakfast. “Besides,” he
added, “Harvey needs some rest.”

So they built a fire and soon were enjoying tin cups of hot coffee and
some broiled duck’s meat—for the captain had snared wild fowl the
evening before and had prepared it while on watch.

Although the moon was setting when the start was made from the camp,
they pushed on quickly, for their watches told them that in another half
hour dawn would come; and when at last they reached the large centre
mound and the point where Harvey had found the second white rock, a gray
light was penetrating the woods.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Three happy men, and a boy who was even happier, sat around the
camp-fire on the banks of the river Marañon that evening.

“You say the quartz is the richest you ever saw?” asked Harvey.

“Yes, it is,” and the captain lifted one of the many pieces they had
brought from the mine as samples, and all looked at it for perhaps the
hundredth time that day.

“How long do you think we had better remain here?” Ferguson inquired.

“Perhaps a fortnight. That will give us ample time in which to explore
the property and stake it off.”

Another member of the camp was a friendly Ayuli Indian, who had appeared
on the bank as they emerged from the wood. He with others had been
driven far from his village by the marauding band of Majeronas before
the latter’s encounter with the white men, and he was making a long
detour on his return. They had detained him over night and on the morrow
intended sending him with letters to Huari, from where they would be
forwarded to Chicla and then to Callao.



                             CHAPTER XIII.
                   BELLA CACERAS RECOGNIZES A VOICE.


One evening early in November, 1879, several persons met at the home of
John Dartmoor in Chucuito, a suburb in Callao.

From La Punta, a seaside resort, had come Captain and Mrs. Saunders,
with their sons, Carl and Harold, the first-named a boy who was just
graduating from his teens and the latter a much younger lad. Carl was
the chum of Louis Dartmoor, Harvey’s elder brother; and these three,
Carl, Louis, and Harvey, had experienced many adventures in Callao Bay
together. Another adult guest was Don Isaac Lawton, a courtly British
colonial, editor of the _South Pacific Times_, a man greatly esteemed by
both Mr. Dartmoor and Captain Saunders, indeed by all the American and
English residents of Peru.

A younger visitor was Bella Caceras, whose name has appeared in earlier
chapters. Seated beside her on a couch in the little parlor this evening
was Rosita Dartmoor, whose strong resemblance to her Peruvian mother was
as marked as was her younger brother’s resemblance to his American
father.

A dinner had preceded the social evening, and the occasion of the
gathering was to celebrate Rosita’s fifteenth birthday. One who did not
know how rapidly girls mature in these South American countries would
have thought her several years older; indeed, in the United States she
would readily have passed for a miss of eighteen or nineteen, and so
would Bella Caceras, who was Rosita’s age. Both girls wore long skirts,
and in Peru they were considered old enough to enter society. This
winter would have witnessed their début, had it not been for the
circumstances of the times preventing the social entertainments that for
years had marked Lima and Callao as gay cities of the West Coast.

Peru, in this November of 1879, was a nation of mourning, a country
plunged in despair. Eight months before she had taken up arms against
Chile, to prevent the latter’s seizure of land to the south which was
rich in nitrate of soda. Entering the contest with a well-equipped army
and with a navy that was deemed by many the equal of the enemy’s, she
had met a series of reverses that were disheartening, and in this early
summer month—the seasons below the equator are the reverse of those to
the north—it was evident that the country’s doom was sealed, and that
any day a conquering army might move from the south and besiege the
capital.

Fate had been unkind to the northern republic. One month after
hostilities had commenced, the largest war-ship, the _Independencia_,
had been lost on a reef near Iquique while in pursuit of a little
Chilean gunboat that was hardly worthy the capture. In October, the
_Huascar_, a turret-ship of great power, had been surrounded off Point
Angamos, while steaming north, by nearly all the ships of the Chilean
fleet and had been captured after a bitter engagement, but not until
nearly one-half of her crew had been killed and she had been set on fire
in several places.

It was during this engagement that Grau, admiral of the Peruvian navy,
had been killed; and that is why Bella Caceras was in mourning, for he
was her uncle. The loss of the _Huascar_ had cast a gloom over all Peru,
and the despair was heightened a few weeks later by the news that the
gunboat _Pilcomayo_ had been captured.

Meanwhile revolution had left its scar upon the country. Prado, the
president, had fled to Europe, and an attempt by his ministers to form a
government had been resisted by Don Nicolas de Pierola, who with a force
of mountain men and some army and navy officers, who flocked to his
standard, had attacked the palace in Lima, which they had captured after
a bitter struggle; and as a result, Pierola was at this time dictator of
Peru. The land forces had not been more successful than had the
maritime. Reverses had been met in the south, and orders had been given
to concentrate troops in the vicinity of Lima, to take part in the
defence of the capital; for now that the Peruvian navy had been nearly
annihilated, the ocean highway was clear, and it was possible for Chile
to move transports as she wished.

Callao was the one strong point in the country. Defended by large modern
guns in the castles, in the Chucuito forts, at Los Baños and at La
Punta, the city was pronounced able to withstand any bombardment. But a
blockade! That was what the residents feared, for with a cordon of ships
in the offing commerce could not be maintained; supplies of food from
the north and south and supplies from Europe, upon which the residents
greatly depended, would cease.

As yet no Chilean ships had appeared off the port, except to
reconnoitre, but rumors came from the enemy’s country that a squadron
for blockade duty was forming, and more heartrending than all was the
report that machinists were busy on the _Huascar_, putting her in trim,
and that she would form one of the fleet. At this news Peruvians gnashed
their teeth with rage.

It would be bad enough to have the ironclads _Blanco Encalada_ and
_Almirante Cochrane_ dominate the sea within their sight, but to be
compelled to witness a little turret-ship, once the pride of the
Peruvian navy, steam near San Lorenzo island at the entrance to the
harbor, flying the lone star flag of the enemy, would be the last drop
in the bitter cup.

The gloom which overspread the country had little part in John
Dartmoor’s home on this evening. They were all very happy, for any day
they were expecting the return of Harvey from the interior, and a letter
received from him had told them that his mission had been successful,
even beyond their most fanciful expectations.

It was only the extreme of circumstances that had influenced Mr.
Dartmoor to let his younger son undertake this hazardous trip. At the
time of the lad’s departure he had believed he could postpone the evil
day for several months, but a few weeks later came the news of the naval
engagement off Point Angamos and the defeat of the _Huascar_, which
caused a financial panic in Callao and Lima, and among the many forced
to the wall was the American iron merchant.

He bravely faced the storm and was ably assisted by his wife and
children, who cheerfully accustomed themselves to the new life that was
made necessary. They gave up their handsome home and moved into a little
cottage; Mrs. Dartmoor yielded her jewels, that more money might be paid
their creditors; Rosita denied herself the pleasures which her father’s
wealth in former years had enabled her to enjoy, and Louis, believing
that he should no longer be a burden at home, secured a position as
purser’s clerk on one of the steamers of the Pacific Steam Navigation
Company.

A fortnight before this evening the same persons had met at Mr.
Dartmoor’s home to bid good-by to Louis, who had planned to sail on the
morrow, and while they were gathered in the little parlor a clerk had
arrived from the ship chandler’s, where Mr. Dartmoor had found temporary
employment, and had brought a letter received late in the afternoon. It
was from Harvey, and the lad had written:—

    “DEAR ONES AT HOME: I have found it, or rather we have found it.
    The mine is here, just where the old Inca said it would be found.
    Mr. Ferguson, who is somewhat versed in such matters, says that
    millions are buried. From the study that I have had, I know that
    our assays have shown twenty-five per cent gold to seventy-five
    per cent gross.

    “Of course it is difficult to work this mine, because no means of
    transportation exist, but as Mr. Hope-Jones says, ‘Gold is gold,’
    and there will be no lack of capital to exploit what we have
    found. This letter I have written with the stub of a pencil,
    seated on the side of an ironwood tree. It is sent by a native,
    who has promised to take it to Chicla, from where it will be
    forwarded by post. We shall start home in about two weeks, after
    we have collected sufficient samples. My love for everybody, and I
    hope this letter will not arrive too late.

                                                              “HARVEY.

    “P.S. Please ask Rosita to tell Bella Caceras, the next time she
    sees her, that I have appreciated her gift very much. It has been
    a constant companion.”

The joy which the receipt of this letter had given them all can well be
imagined. John Dartmoor saw the rehabilitation of his fortunes at no
distant day, and the reinstatement of his wife and children in the life
to which they had been accustomed. The letter had also made it
unnecessary for Louis to go to sea, but as he had promised the
superintendent of the steamship company to take the position, and as it
would have been difficult to find another person competent for the place
on such short notice, he had made one voyage to Panama, returning the
evening before this entertainment in honor of his sister’s birthday.

To another member of this party Harvey’s news had also brought happiness
and relief from worry. Mr. Lawton had felt the burden of financial
depression almost as much as had Mr. Dartmoor, and although he had
weathered the first storm, yet every one knew that it was but the matter
of a month or two before his publishing house would be compelled to
close. The very day after the boy’s letter came to Chucuito, Harvey’s
father had entered the editorial rooms and had said:—

“Don Isaac, can you hold out for a little while longer?”

“Yes, I think I can,” was the reply. “But what is the use? The end must
come, and might as well happen now as later. Advertisers simply cannot
pay their contracts, for all business is at a standstill, and there is a
straight loss in the circulation with the currency so depreciated.”

“Well, I wish you to hold on until Harvey returns.”

“Why so, my friend?”

“Because I know that nothing would give my son more pleasure, after
caring for his mother and sister, than advancing you all the money
necessary to tide you over.”

“Do you think so, Dartmoor?”

“Indeed I know it, and can promise it for him.”

“Thank God!” exclaimed the Britisher fervently, but in a choking voice.
His eyes were unusually brilliant, for they had grown moist. He was a
bachelor, all his relatives were dead, and his newspaper was the one
object that made life dear to him.

That evening Mr. Dartmoor said to his wife: “It seemed so strange for me
to speak of Harvey lending money. But it is a fact, and he will really
be lending it to us, for it will be his.”

“I am certain you know Harvey better than that,” Mrs. Dartmoor had
replied. “You see if his very first act is not to insist that his
interest be transferred to you.”

“But I would not accept it.”

“Nor should I wish you to. But he will have it arranged in some manner,
that I know.”

Although Captain Saunders was not in financial distress, for he was paid
in gold by the American Board of Marine Underwriters, for whom he was
agent on the West Coast, yet the letter from the interior had made him
none the less happy than it had the others, for John Dartmoor was not
only a close friend of his Peruvian life, but they had been chums in
boyhood, even as their sons were at this time; and for Don Isaac he had
the same regard.

None of them in Chucuito permitted the news to alter their mode of
living. Mr. Dartmoor remained at the desk in a ship chandler’s, and with
his wife and Rosita lived in the little cottage, waiting until the
adventurers should return from the interior. The good news had been
noised about in Callao and Lima, and several offers had been made Mr.
Dartmoor by persons anxious to advance money and secure a promise of an
interest in the wonderful mine. But all these the American refused,
saying that the property was not his, but his son’s, and he did not wish
to make any arrangements until the lad should return.

It will be noticed that Harvey in writing had refrained from making
mention of the encounter with the Majeronas. He had done this so that
his parents might not be alarmed. And he had said nothing concerning
Señor Cisneros. So that all they knew was that the mine had been
located, that it was rich in gold, and that the boy was well.

“Let’s see, it’s a little over two weeks since the letter came, is it
not?” asked Captain Saunders on the occasion of this birthday
entertainment.

“Yes, two weeks ago Tuesday.”

“He said that they expected to leave within a fortnight?”

“Yes.”

“Then he is due now at any time.”

“I hardly expect him so soon,” said Mr. Dartmoor. “The Indian runner,
accustomed to the country, and having nothing to carry, would be able to
make much better time through the mountains than Hope-Jones, Ferguson,
and my son, burdened with their camp utensils, and with the samples of
ore. So I would not be surprised should another week elapse before their
arrival.”

“You are doubtless correct. I had not thought of those matters.”

“Wouldn’t it be jolly though if they should arrive unexpectedly
to-night!” exclaimed Carl Saunders, and Louis added, “I should say so.”

They were interrupted by a loud ring at the bell.

“I wonder if it can be possible!” exclaimed the elder Dartmoor boy,
springing to his feet and rushing out into the hall. All conversation
ceased, and they listened intently. But it was not the voice of Harvey
that sounded when the door was opened. The tones, however, they
recognized as those of a very dear friend, General Matajente, the
smallest officer in the Peruvian army, a man who had been a captain in
the navy during the administration of President Prado, but who had
joined the land forces of Pierola and had rendered that leader such
signal service that he had been rapidly promoted.

“Are your parents in?” they heard the general ask Louis, and the next
minute he came hurriedly into the room, apologizing for having called at
such a late hour, and expressing himself overjoyed at meeting so many of
his friends at one time.

The general was an exquisite in the matter of dress, and wore black
mustachios that were so long and stood out so prominently that he gave a
person the idea of a walking cross. Although he was much undersized, yet
those who knew him never gave the matter of his height any thought, for
he was a most courageous and pugnacious personage. Both Carl and Louis
had seen him facing an enemy, and had marvelled at his quickness and his
dexterity. They had been present on the _Pilcomayo_, which he once
commanded, when the captain had fought a duel with a naval officer who
was much his superior in physique, yet who had been in the hands of the
little man as a mouse in the paws of a kitten. They had also seen him
lead the famous cavalry charge in Lima, and sweep right into a battery
of guns, sabring the artillerists until all the pieces were silenced.
When they thought of these things, Captain Matajente, as they always
called him to one another, appeared as a giant, rather than a dwarf,
which he was in reality.

“Had we known that you were in the city, general, we should have sent
you an invitation on behalf of Rosita,” said Mr. Dartmoor.

“I know you would, and I am delighted that I happened in. The fact is I
came from Lima only on the last train.”

“Are you going to remain long?”

“Only over night,” he replied. “I came to listen in detail to some
remarkable adventures; as remarkable, I am sure, as any that ever
happened to three young men; and I came also, Mr. Dartmoor, to introduce
my cousin, Anton Cisneros, a resident of Huari, who has journeyed to the
coast on a business trip.”

“I should be delighted——”

Mr. Dartmoor was cut short by the entrance from the hallway of a tall,
dark-featured Peruvian, clad in a long poncho and wearing heavy
top-boots, who was presented to those who were in the parlor.

“Rosita,” whispered Bella Caceras, “I believe that Harvey has returned.
Look at the general. Don’t you notice a twinkle in his eyes? And what is
Louis waiting out in the hall for? I hear voices, Rosita! I tell you,
it’s your brother!” and the vivacious Peruvian girl darted from the
room. A second later she gave a little scream of delight, then was heard
to say: “I knew it! I knew it! Rosita, come here!”

“Ah! the little minx has spoiled my surprise!” said General Matajente to
those in the parlor. “Harvey, come in and bring your friends!”

“Harvey here!” exclaimed Mrs. Dartmoor, rising quickly, and she ran to
the door, followed by her husband.

Yes, Harvey was there, and so were Hope-Jones and Ferguson.

“Why, you have grown nearly a foot!” said Mr. Dartmoor, holding him off
at arm’s length after the first welcome was over. “And you are almost
black.”

Then all fell to talking at once, as is usual on such occasions. General
Matajente explained that he had met the travellers by chance as they
were leaving the Oroya Railroad station in Lima, after coming in from
Chicla. That was at five o’clock in the afternoon, and he had taken them
to his home, where they had removed the stains of travel. He had been
pleasantly surprised to find that the companion of their interior
journey had been his cousin from Huari, and from him he had learned
something of the adventures of the four. Anxious to hear the story in
detail, and also to be a witness to the joyful reunion, he had
accompanied them to Callao and on to Chucuito. He had planned that
Harvey’s entrance should be a surprise, but the keen ears of Bella
Caceras had enabled her somewhat to turn the tables.

The five had dined in Lima, but were nothing loath to again sitting down
at the board, and at ten o’clock all drew up chairs. Then, as every one
insisted that the story of the adventures be told that night, Hope-Jones
described their experience from Lima to Huari, and the captain took up
the thread of the story from the time of their departure from the
mountain town. Mrs. Dartmoor shuddered when the adventure with the puma
was related, and the girls turned pale. But when it came to the battle
with the Majeronas, the details were listened to with breathless
eagerness, and Harvey felt his mother’s arm press him closer.

There were two scarlet faces in the room as the captain detailed the
sequel to this fight and Harvey’s narrow escape from death; and then,
for the first time, the men learned who had been the donor of the
pincushion that had stayed the arrow’s flight, for Bella Caceras had
jumped to her feet, and had run over to the boy’s side when she heard
how he had carried her little gift, and what it had done for him. The
two were for several minutes the objects of many good-natured jests, but
they bore them bravely, and, all being interested in hearing of the
further discoveries, the narrative was resumed.

It was after midnight before everything had been told, and before they
thought of rest. Mr. Dartmoor insisted that Señor Cisneros should remain
with him, and that Hope-Jones and Ferguson also should stay. As the
house was too small to accommodate all whom the genial American wished
to accommodate, Captain Saunders invited General Matajente to go with
him to La Punta, and he also urged that Louis join them as Carl’s guest.
This arrangement was finally agreed upon, and the party for La Punta
withdrew, being accompanied as far as the little railway station by Don
Isaac, who had refused all invitations and had said that he would prefer
to walk to his rooms in Callao.

“For,” he explained to Captain Saunders, “I feel a strange buoyancy
to-night; even as if I were a boy again.”

The editor had good cause for this. A few minutes before good nights
were said, he had been taken to one side by Mr. Dartmoor, who had
whispered:—

“I spoke to Harvey of my wish that you should share our good fortune,
and he is enthusiastic at the idea.”



                              CHAPTER XIV.
                       BLOCKADE OF CALLAO HARBOR.


Louis Dartmoor and Carl Saunders were early astir at the home of the
latter’s parents in La Punta the next morning. The Peruvian residence of
the American captain was a suite of rooms in a large, rambling hotel,
situated at the extreme tip of the narrow peninsula that juts into the
Pacific west of Callao, and forms, with San Lorenzo Island, three miles
distant, a shelter for the bay.

It was only a stone’s throw from the hotel to the beach, and as was
their frequent practice, the boys donned their bathing suits in the
bedrooms, and running down the rear stairs, took a dip in the ocean
before breakfast, diving through the inrushing breakers and swimming out
some distance from the shore. They were in the water about a half hour
and had returned to the rooms by half-past six. Faustina, Mrs.
Saunders’s cook,—the suite occupied by the Americans resembled in many
respects the apartment house of the United States, inasmuch as they had
their independent kitchen and dining room,—had just arrived from Callao,
and had put the water for the coffee over to boil. So the boys, having
plenty of time on their hands before breakfast could be ready, dressed
at their leisure, after a brisk rub-down with coarse towels, then went
out on the broad veranda, where Louis told Carl of some of his
experiences while on his one voyage as purser’s clerk; then they began
discussing the return of Harvey.

The veranda was unusually wide, even for a South American country, and
ran the entire length of the hotel. From the north end it commanded a
view of the bay and also of the entrance to the harbor, which was past
the north end of San Lorenzo. The channel between that island and La
Punta was so strewn with reefs as to be dangerous for any except very
light-draught vessels. When they had reached the end of the veranda, a
light mist had obscured most of the bay, and it was quite dense to
seaward; but while they were talking this mist gradually disappeared
under the influence of the sun’s rays, and a breeze had commenced
blowing from the south, so that within a quarter of an hour the waves
had turned from a dull gray to bright indigo, except close in shore,
where they broke in white foam before dashing on the stony beach.

Louis, happening to glance toward the end of San Lorenzo soon after this
transformation was wrought, seized Carl’s arm and gave a yell as he
pointed in the direction where ships round the headland to enter port.
“Look! Look!” he said.

Carl did so, then gasped, “The Chileans!”

“Yes, the Chileans! The blockading fleet! One, two, three, four, five
ships!”

“Oh, Louis!”

“Yes, Carl!”

“Isn’t that the _Huascar_?”

“Great Scott! I believe it is! Our little _Huascar_, with the lone star
flag at her gaff! Isn’t that terrible!”

“And there’s the _Pilcomayo_ too. Think of it. The gunboat that Captain
Matajente once commanded; and now he is perhaps asleep in our guest
room. We must tell him and also tell father.”

“Wait a minute, Carl. That’s one of the big ironclads, I guess; that one
to the right of the _Huascar_, Wonder whether it’s the _Blanco_ or the
_Cochrane_?”

“I don’t suppose anybody can tell at this distance. They are sister
ships, you know, and I heard father say they differed only in their
superstructure. Whichever she is, she is the flagship, for I can make
out the admiral’s pennant at the fore truck. And look, a steam launch is
putting off from her side and making for shore! Perhaps they are sending
notice of a bombardment!”

The boys then hurriedly left the end of the veranda and ran into the
little parlor, then into the first bedroom, where they found Captain
Saunders shaving. Both were too excited to say anything for a full
minute, and the American, somewhat vexed at the intrusion, exclaimed:—

“Carl, you should not bring your friend in here, for I am not yet
dressed.”

“But father—the Chileans—the Chileans—are—in the offing.”

“The Chileans! Who said so? It must be a bola!”[2]

Footnote 2:

  Many false rumors and many grossly exaggerated reports were current up
  and down the coast during the Chile-Peruvian war, and these were
  designated by the term “bola.”

“But it’s not a bola, father. We have seen them ourselves. There are
five ships—one of the big ironclads, the _Huascar_, the _Pilcomayo_, and
two other vessels; all are steaming up and down.”

Captain Saunders placed the razor on the dresser, hurriedly washed his
face, and went with the boys to the point from where they had viewed the
fleet. They had no more than reached the end of the veranda than they
heard the pattering of bare feet on the wood floor, and turning, saw
General Matajente running toward them, exclaiming at the top of his
voice: “What’s that I heard? The Chileños? Did any one say the Chileños
were in sight?”

It was well for the boys that they had frequently been impressed with
the little general’s prowess, else they might not have restrained their
laughter at the sight which he had presented. Hearing their report of
the enemy, he had jumped from his bed and had run without stopping to
dress. The evening before, Captain Saunders had given him a pair of his
pyjamas, and these the little general had been compelled to turn up both
at the legs and arms, until the fold of the former reached to his knees
and of the latter to his elbows. He was evidently accustomed to wearing
a nightcap when at home, and such an article not being in the American’s
wardrobe, the Peruvian had tied his handkerchief over his head. Beneath
this band of white his long, black mustachios stood out straight and his
shaggy eyebrows protruded.

In his haste and excitement he pushed Carl and Louis one side, and to
see the better, when he reached the place that commanded a view of the
harbor entrance, he stood up on the foot-board of the rail. Then he
broke out into violent exclamations.

“C-a-r-a-m-ba!” he hissed, “the audacity of them! To bring the _Huascar_
here with their abominable flag flying! And my little _Pilcomayo_! My
pride! My treasure! With dirty Chileños on her decks! C-a-r-a-m-b-a! It
is too much! It is too much!”

Tears commenced to roll down his face, and he became almost hysterical.
The man who, during his lifetime, had faced death perhaps a hundred
times without flinching, the man who, in the streets of Lima, had led a
cavalry squadron right into the very centre of a battery, was sobbing
like a child. But they understood those tears and also the convulsive
chokings. They knew that not only sorrow, but anger, was struggling for
utterance, and in addition to all was humiliation.

“They are coming ashore, coming to give notice!” he explained, noticing
for the first time the little steam launch that was now some distance
from the largest ship. “I hope that notice will be of a bombardment;
that they will engage the forts like men, and not skulk in the offing
and destroy ships that cannot fight. O for one shot at them with the
castle guns!”

He darted away from the railing and started for the stairs that led from
the veranda to the main floor beneath.

“Where are you going, general?” asked Captain Saunders, catching the
little officer by the sleeve of his pyjamas.

“To the castles,” he replied.

“But you cannot go in this attire. Remember, you are not yet dressed.”

The Peruvian officer then realized for the first time that he had
appeared in his night clothes, and his one fault being his vanity, he
became as humble as a reprimanded child when he appreciated what a sorry
figure he had cut. To add to his confusion, Mrs. Saunders came from her
rooms at that moment, and before her husband could reach her side and
ask her to withdraw, she had taken a dozen steps in their direction. In
his anxiety not to be seen, the general had stepped behind Carl, and had
whispered to the boy: “Shield me! Shield me, I beg you!”

That was easy to do, for the youth was much taller than the officer, and
considerably broader, so that, standing still, he completely hid the
diminutive general, who remained quiet until Mrs. Saunders had left the
balcony. Then, darting from behind his human barrier, he made haste by a
side door to the room where he had passed the night.

A few minutes later Faustina announced that breakfast was on the table,
and Carl and Louis at once sat down with Captain and Mrs. Saunders.
Although the latter was much interested in the news of the advent of the
Chilean fleet, she asked if General Matajente had been awakened, and
suggested that they await his arrival. But Captain Saunders understood
the officer so well that he knew he would not wish to present himself
before the boys after his peculiar appearance, and he also realized that
the Peruvian wished to reach Callao with all haste; so he made excuses
for him, and with his own hands carried a tray laden with edibles to his
room.

“I shall go to Callao with our friend,” he said, on his return. “It is
necessary that I know at once what course the Chileans have decided to
take.”

“May we go with you?” Carl asked.

“Yes, if you hurry, for I shall not detain the general. The next dummy
leaves in ten minutes. If you can catch that, you may go. But not so
fast with your coffee, Carl. You will choke.”

“What do you think they will do?” asked Mrs. Saunders.

“I hardly think they will bombard,” he replied, “for they know the range
of the guns in Callao, and they could not approach near enough to do any
damage without exposing themselves to the Peruvians’ fire. So I expect
they will send notice of a blockade. However, it may be of a
bombardment, and in that event, Louise, we shall have to move to Lima
to-night. So immediately after breakfast, you had better call in
Faustina and pack the trunks; then we shall be ready for any emergency.”

“What if they declare a blockade?” his wife asked.

“Then our future actions will depend greatly upon its nature. If a close
blockade be declared, one that will prevent the entry of any vessels
until the war is ended, I believe it would be wise for you to leave at
once for the States with the children.”

“Oh, father, please don’t send me. Let me remain with you.”

“Would you not wish to go with your mother, Carl?”

“Yes, of course, but——”

“If I should have to go, let him stay with you,” Mrs. Saunders said. “I
can understand exactly how he feels about leaving now. He would be a
companion for you, dear; and besides, the experience would be valuable.”

“Well, well, we shall see about it later. Matters may not come to such a
pass that it will be necessary for anybody to go. Are you ready, boys?
Then join me at the dummy, and I will walk over with the general. Pardon
him, Louise, if he does not come in to say good-by; he is quite put out
by the course of events.”

A half hour later the four had reached Callao, and Captain Saunders,
with Carl and Louis, went direct to the editorial rooms of the _South
Pacific Times_, knowing that there they would hear the first reliable
news; and General Matajente went to the office of the captain of the
port. In Mr. Lawton’s apartments they found Mr. Dartmoor and Harvey, and
several other American and English residents of Callao, all assembled
for the same purpose. Harvey at once joined his brother and their chum.

“Where are Hope-Jones and Ferguson?” asked Louis.

“They left early this morning for Lima, by the first train, I believe;
before we knew the Chileans had been sighted. And I want to know, Louis,
why you didn’t tell me last night that the _Huascar_ and the _Pilcomayo_
had been captured while I was in the interior? It came as a great shock
this morning.”

“That’s so, Harvey. I confess I had completely forgotten that you were
not as well posted as we. But tell me, does father think that this will
make any difference with your mine?”

“Don’t call it _my_ mine, Louis. It belongs to us all; or rather, it is
father’s, and that is just the same thing.”

“Well, does he think the arrival will interfere much with your plans?”

“No. He is rather glad than otherwise that the fleet has come, for he
believes it will hasten the end. Of course, it will be impossible for us
to do anything until peace shall be declared, that is, to commence any
mining; so the sooner Peru yields the better.”

“In the meantime, what are you going to do?” asked Carl.

“Señor Cisneros will return to the interior this week with a surveyor
and a deputy from the mining bureau, so as to comply with the law and
perfect our claim, and some one will go to either New York or London and
interest capital, in order that we may have the ready money with which
to secure machinery and bring the ore to the coast. In the meantime, we
shall be able to borrow sufficient from one of the banks here to pay all
preliminary expenses.”

“Who will go to New York?”

“That I don’t know. We have arranged to hold another meeting to-night at
Chucuito and decide.”

Their attention was attracted by the entrance of an officer in the
service of the Pacific Steam Navigation Company, who had come from the
office of the captain of the port.

“Has the Chilean launch arrived at the mole?” asked Don Isaac, eagerly;
and the others pressed near.

“It has. And the admiral has served notice on all interests that he
intends maintaining a close blockade. Non-combatants will be allowed
forty-eight hours in which to leave; after that no vessel, sail or
steam, will be permitted to enter port or depart. So my ship, gentlemen,
will be the last to leave.”

Hearing this, Captain Saunders jumped to his feet, and beckoning Carl to
his side, bade him come, and the two hurriedly left the room.

“What’s the matter, father?” the boy asked, as they walked rapidly
across the plaza.

“Didn’t you hear Captain Brown say that his ship would be the last to
leave Callao?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Then I have no time to lose in securing a passage for your mother,
Harold, and yourself. The boat will be crowded; hundreds will apply who
will not even be able to get berths. By going to the office at once, I
can perhaps reserve a stateroom.”

“Father, I wish you would let me remain with you.”

“Do you know what it means, Carl, to be in a blockaded city with all
supplies cut off?”

“I can imagine, father; but I should like very much to stay with you.
Besides, I am some little help in the office, am I not?”

“Yes. But with a blockade established, no ships will come in, and I
shall have nothing to do.”

“Then, isn’t that a reason for my remaining? You will be very lonely,
and should have one of your sons by your side.”

Captain Saunders smiled. “Very well put, Carl,” he said, “but I wonder
how much Louis and Harvey have to do with your anxiety to remain? But
you may do as you wish, and I shall reserve a stateroom for your mother
and Harold. Now that this is settled, I wish you to take the next dummy
back to La Punta, and tell your mother what has occurred; then help her
all you can with the packing. I shall be home early this afternoon,” and
he turned in the direction of the Pacific Steam Navigation Company’s
offices, while his son kept on to the railroad station.

As Captain Saunders was leaving, after having secured the quarters on
the Panama steamer, he met John Dartmoor and Señor Cisneros.

“Are you going to send Mrs. Dartmoor to the States?” he asked.

“No. I should like to, but she and Rosita would prefer to remain and
move to Lima in the event of open hostilities. The señor and I are about
to engage a berth for some one who must go to the States and arrange to
secure working capital for our mine. Saturday’s boat will be the last
out, you know.”

“Yes, so I heard Captain Brown say, and I came here at once to engage
passage for Mrs. Saunders.”

“I am very sorry to learn that she is going, but I think you are wise.
We may see some pretty tight times here.”

“There’s little doubt of it.”

“Are both boys going?”

“No, Carl remains with me.”

“That will delight Louis and Harvey. And by the way, Saunders, I am
going to move back to my old home in Chucuito this week. Suppose you and
Carl come and live with us after Mrs. Saunders and Harold leave; or at
least make us a visit.”

“I should be very pleased, Dartmoor; that is, to visit until I can find
suitable quarters.”

“Do so, then.”

That evening a meeting was held of those interested in the Bella
mine—for so Captain Cisneros had insisted upon naming the property after
he had learned the true story of the pincushion in Harvey’s pocket. It
was decided that both Hope-Jones and Ferguson should go to New York, for
the purpose of interesting capitalists; that Señor Cisneros should
return to the interior, and that Mr. Dartmoor should attend to the
company’s interests in Callao and Lima.

So it happened that when the last steamship sailed from Callao before
the blockade commenced, Harvey waved an adieu from a small boat to the
two young men with whom he had passed such adventurous times in the
interior; and from another boat Captain Saunders and Carl fluttered
handkerchiefs and were answered with love signals waved by Mrs. Saunders
and Harold.



                              CHAPTER XV.
                          DARNING THE NEEDLE.


The darkest period in Peruvian history was the year 1880. Defeated on
sea and on land, the nation had drawn its forces toward the centre and
awaited a final struggle near historic Lima, the City of the Kings.

But the Chileans, triumphant, were in no haste to follow up the
victories of Tarapacá, Tacna, Arica, and Point Angamos; they realized
the enervating influences that always are at work in an army that is
inactive and on the defensive; and although as early as January nothing
hindered the northward movement of their land forces, they refrained
from striking the decisive blow, and passed the time perfecting the
transport service, increasing the efficiency of the troops and laying by
stores of munitions of war.

The blockade of Callao, established toward the close of 1879, was
maintained without interruption, and the harbor, which only two years
before had been second only to San Francisco in commercial importance on
the west coast of the Americas, became a drear waste of water, for not a
vessel, of sail or steam, was permitted to enter, unless it might be an
occasional war-ship of a neutral power; nor could any craft depart after
the expiration of the forty-eight hours which the Chilean admiral had
given as notification.

During those two days and two nights, craft of all description and
flying flags of all nations prominent in the maritime world put to sea
and sailed north or south, some laden, but the majority in ballast; and
when the last one had departed and the enemy’s cordon was close drawn in
the offing, the Bay of Callao reflected only one story—the death of
commerce.

Where two hundred ships had swung at anchor, a Peruvian sloop or an
abandoned bark rose sluggishly with the ground swell; where once was
seen the men-of-war of the Peruvian navy, awaiting the word from Lima to
dash south, now appeared only the wooden corvette _Union_, the obsolete
coast defence monitor _Atahuallpa_, and the school-ship _Maria Theresa_;
once there was constant danger of collision in the harbor, because of
the press of small boats—cutters, gigs, and barges, propelled by oars;
steam launches darting here and there, whistles blowing lustily;
lighters moving slowly as long sweeps were pushed, and sailboats gliding
with white wings outstretched,—now the appearance of even a rowboat
caused conjecture.

Before Harvey’s departure for the interior, the bay had been a never
ending source of delight to the three boys; indeed, it had appealed to
all foreign residents, as well as to the natives, but to none more than
to the members of the Callao Rowing Club, for the placid waters
permitted their going some distance from the shore, even in the racing
shells, and the trade wind not reaching the water near the beach line,
and the surface not being ruffled, it was possible to feather the spoon
oars by sliding them, even as is done on pond and river. After the
blockade was established, Carl, Louis, and Harvey occasionally went out
for spins; but the wide waste of harbor had little attraction, and they
soon abandoned visits to the boat-house at Los Baños, preferring to take
their recreation in the fields, on horseback, or in some of the games
that had been introduced from the United States and England.

Other members of the club felt the same about rowing in the bay; and a
fortnight after the Chilean vessels appeared in the offing, the
governing board decided to close the boat-house until peace should be
declared and normal conditions be restored in Callao. So the shells,
practice boats, canoes, and the sail-boat were carefully housed in the
large covered barge that was anchored a short distance from shore; the
doors were securely fastened, and Pedro, the keeper, was told he would
have to seek other employment. The members removed their effects from
the lockers in the apartments which had been rented from the owner of
the Baños del Oroya, and the lease to these shore quarters was
surrendered. But the Callao Rowing Club did not disband. The
organization was maintained, and to-day it is a flourishing athletic
association, famous up and down the West Coast.

In naval parlance ships are “darning the needle” when they steam back
and forth before a harbor, out of the reach of shore batteries, yet near
enough to prevent entrance and departure of vessels. This is what the
Chileans did day after day, week after week, and month after month, and
it became an accustomed sight to see their low, black hulls in the
offing, steam rising lazily from the funnels.

The vessels first on blockade duty were the _Blanco Encalada_, which
flew the admiral’s pennant, the _Huascar_, the _Angamos_, the
_Pilcomayo_, and the _Mathias Cousino_. Others were added after a time,
and there were frequent changes in the squadron; but the little
_Huascar_ was kept on the station as an aggravation to the Peruvians.
The _Angamos_ was a cruiser of a modern type and armed with one rifle
gun, which, reports said, could throw a shell from Callao to Lima—eight
miles.

The monotony of the blockade was broken after the first month by a short
bombardment of Callao, which was brought about by the Chucuito forts
opening upon a steam launch from the _Blanco Encalada_, that ran in
close to La Punta, evidently to reconnoitre the shore battery there. The
shots from the land guns were fired at six o’clock in the evening, and
the Chilean squadron steamed into the harbor one hour later. The first
broadside from out in the bay was followed by a panic in the seacoast
city and a wild rush of the residents to escape into the environs. Among
the thousands who fled from their homes were Mr. Dartmoor and the
members of his family and Captain Saunders and Carl. After that exciting
night, most of which was passed in the fields, they and many others
moved to Lima and only visited Callao during the day.

Little damage was done by the bombardment; only a few houses were
destroyed, and no loss of life was reported. But the brief engagement
was signalled by as remarkable an incident as any ever related
concerning war times, and the story thereof is told in Callao to this
day. Immediately after dinner that evening the daughter of an American
bookseller sat down before the piano in the parlor of her father’s home
and commenced playing. After rendering one of Mozart’s compositions she
swung around on the stool, in order that she might easily reach for more
sheet music, and the motion brought her feet and lower limbs from
beneath the instrument. At that instant the _Blanco Encalada_ opened
fire out in the bay, and a shot from one of her guns, flying shoreward,
pierced the side of this residence, cut through the piano stool, as
neatly as would a buzz-saw, crushed the lower part of the piano, and
made its exit through another wall. The young woman fell upon the floor
unharmed. Had she not swung partly around her legs would have been shot
away. No other residence of any consequence was struck that night, the
dwellings destroyed being ramshackle structures.

One week later an attempt was made at midnight to destroy the monitor
_Atahuallpa_ with a torpedo, but side-nets had been lowered around the
war-ship, and the submarine engine was caught in the meshes, where it
exploded, throwing water on board. The report caused alarm in the city,
but investigation proved that no damage had been done. Attempts were
made later in January to destroy the _Union_, and they also failed.
Short bombardments became of more frequency, and those who remained in
Callao grew accustomed to the gun-fire and the whistling of shot and
shell.

Thus passed the late summer and early spring of 1880. With each
succeeding week the value of food products increased, for no supplies
came into port, and the irrigated lands were not of sufficient area to
furnish all vegetable products that were required. Demand was made on
the interior, but the means of transportation were so poor that articles
thus brought commanded almost prohibitive prices. Eggs were sold for two
and three dollars a dozen, and meat became worth almost that sum per
pound; potatoes, even in the land of their birth, brought fancy prices,
and milk and butter were soon not obtainable. But rice and corn were in
plenty, so that, although the majority were compelled to deny themselves
a variety of diet, there was no fear of starvation.



                              CHAPTER XVI.
                        JOHN LONGMORE’S REVENGE.


Señor Cisneros returned from the interior toward the latter end of
January, and immediately after the report of the surveyor and the deputy
inspector had been filed, a patent was issued to the Bella Mining
Company of Callao and New York, to dig ores from the district which had
been chartered and to extract precious metals therefrom.

Beyond this action, which secured the claim, nothing could be done until
peace should be declared. Hope-Jones and Ferguson undoubtedly had
interested capitalists of the United States, but it was impossible for
the Englishman and American to reenter Callao; and it was equally
impossible for them to communicate with their associates in Peru,
because all mail service had ceased with the establishment of the
blockade.

The fact that mining operations had been delayed did not greatly
inconvenience the Dartmoors, for the banks of Lima were only too glad to
come to their assistance. And at that period occurred a demand for
agricultural implements, so great that the receiver who had control of
the bankrupt hardware store reported rapidly increasing business,
notwithstanding the fact that Callao was often under fire; and with the
consent of local creditors he engaged the former owner of the
establishment to conduct the new trade, which promised soon to pay all
indebtedness and leave a profit.

Mr. Dartmoor regretted that he had not sent his wife and children to the
States, when he saw how the war promised to drag along; and Captain
Saunders was sorry that he had not insisted upon Carl going north with
his mother. But the boys were very well satisfied to remain. Not a day
passed without some excitement—the firing upon forts and the attacks on
war-ships at anchor, and the kaleidoscopic panorama of Lima, which was
the centre of a brilliant army corps.

The Dartmoors lived in the capital until the latter part of June, when
the bombardments having practically ceased, they reopened the house at
Chucuito and lived there part of the time. Mrs. Dartmoor and Rosita
would pass several days in each week in the spacious suburban home,
returning to Lima in the evening; but Louis and Harvey would frequently
remain all night, and usually Carl Saunders was with them. Although the
boys enjoyed life in Lima for a season, they were happier near the
ocean, for all three were splendid swimmers, and every morning they
could run over to the Santa Rosa beach and have a dip before breakfast.

On one of these occasions—it was the morning of July 3—they left home
somewhat earlier than usual; indeed, it was a half hour before dawn, for
they had been asked to go to Callao immediately after breakfast and
assist on their father’s books.

“Whew!” exclaimed Louis, as they emerged from the house. “It’s rather
cold for a dip, isn’t it?”

“The water is warmer than the air, fortunately,” said Carl, who had been
a visitor for nearly a fortnight with his chums.

“And a brisk run will put us in condition,” added Harvey. “So let’s be
off!”

They started at a swinging pace to cover the quarter mile, which was the
width of the peninsula at this point, and leaving behind them the rough
breakers of Mar Bravo, in which no man could live, they rapidly neared
the more peaceful shore on the bay side, where bathing was safe for
those who could swim.

But they did not take a “dip” on this morning; instead they became
witnesses to a tragedy, one of the tragedies of history.

For, as the lads swung down beneath the Santa Rosa fort, toward the line
where the rollers break, they saw a number of forms gathered on the
beach, and a sentinel’s call to “halt” brought them to a sudden stand.

An officer came running up, a very small officer, who, as soon as he saw
who the intruders were, exclaimed, “Good morning, boys”; and recognizing
General Matajente, they at once felt at their ease.

“You are out rather early, are you not?” he asked. “But you are in time
to witness something that I am sure will interest you. How would you
like to see the _Blanco Encalada_ blown out of water?”

This question was asked in a whisper; and without waiting for it to be
answered, the diminutive general turned and walked down to the beach,
closely followed by the three thoroughly astonished and interested lads.

A dozen officers and a score of soldiers and sailors were gathered near
the water line; but towering above them all was a figure that the boys
at once recognized in the growing light, and Harvey, exclaiming: “Why
that’s John Longmore! I haven’t seen him since the _Huascar_ was
captured!” darted forward and seized his old-time friend by the hand.

The man thus addressed had once been a recluse on San Lorenzo Island,
having lived there in solitude from the time of his wife’s death until
the outbreak of the war with Chile. He was an American by birth, but he
had so loved his Peruvian wife, for whom he had abandoned the sea, that
for her sake he had sworn allegiance to this South American country.

When war had been declared he enlisted on board the _Huascar_ and was
one of the crew during all her famous engagements. Wounded during the
fight off Point Angamos, he was sent home; and soon thereafter he
followed Captain Matajente into the ranks of Pierola’s forces, and took
part in the famous charge upon the artillery in Lima.

The boys had known him while he lived on San Lorenzo Island, frequently
rowing over to the rugged place where his hermit’s hut was perched; they
had been with him during some of the exciting scenes of the early war
and had witnessed his daring in Lima. But since old John had become a
captain in the Peruvian army they had not met him as frequently, and a
week before Harvey’s return he had been sent north on recruiting duty;
so the lad had not been able to greet him until this morning.

He grasped Harvey cordially by the hand, exchanged a few words with him,
then with Carl and Louis, and finally saying, “You are just in time,” he
left them to attend to the work in hand.

A remarkable sight met their gaze when they turned from greeting their
old-time friend to learn what was going forward. For a space of several
yards the beach appeared to have been transformed into a market stall.
The sand and stones were covered with meats and fresh vegetables, of a
quality that would have made them tempting even before the blockade had
transformed ordinary food products into delicacies, and of a quantity
that bespoke a large outlay of money. Rich red shoulders of beef, the
fat white and firm, told of the slaughter of a young Andean bull;
rounded joints of lamb and mutton spoke of importations from the fertile
grazing lands of the interior. Quail, snipe, and plover, which all knew
must have come from the mountain valleys, were piled promiscuously, and
so were barnyard fowl of the western slope. There was much green stuff
in sight—corn, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and beans; baskets were
filled with tomatoes, paltas, and the tempting chirimoyas.

The boys looked upon all this in astonishment, marvelling equally
concerning the use to which it was about to be put, and the means by
which it had been procured. In the rapidly growing light, they saw other
strange sights—articles in marked contrast with the wealth of edibles:
barrels marked “gunpowder” and kegs filled with even more powerful
explosives. Near these was a peculiar machine, resembling druggists’
scales inverted, and minus the weighing pans. Drawn up on the beach, so
that only the stern rested in the water, was a large lighter. A number
of sentinels surrounded this strange conglomeration and also the
soldiers, sailors, and officers of both army and navy, who were gathered
near.

“Harvey,” said General Matajente, approaching the boys, “it’s lucky you
came. Can you tell us what time the tide turns? Since Captain Longmore
and I left the navy, to join the land forces, we have not kept posted on
such matters.”

It was not unusual for persons to appeal to the younger Dartmoor boy for
information concerning conditions in the bay. For three years before
going into the interior, he had made them a special study, and had found
that the information so gained aided him greatly when acting as coxswain
in regattas. After removing from Lima to Chucuito, he had resumed these
observations, probably more from force of habit than other reason, and
so he was able to answer promptly, “At twenty-nine minutes after six,
sir.”

“Then we have no time to lose. Captain, as this is your idea, I wish you
to take command here and carry out your plans.”

At the order from General Matajente, Old John—the boys could not think
of him save as Old John, the sailor, although he was now an artillery
officer—stepped forward, and by his command work was begun. The object
of their endeavor at first puzzled the lads, but in a few minutes all
became quite clear.

Sailors and soldiers rolled the barrels and kegs of explosives to the
side of the lighter, and the larger ones were lifted into the hull and
placed amidships. Also into the hull went Old John, who was handed the
peculiar mechanical contrivance, and the boys, who were permitted to
peer over the sides, saw him make fast the base to the floor of the
craft, then busy himself adjusting the arms, to one of which they saw a
spring had been attached. The kegs of explosives were now passed in and
placed nearer the peculiar machine than had been the barrels, then
Captain Longmore, still remaining within the lighter, directed that the
provisions be handed to him.

The more bulky of these, such as the shoulders of beef, were distributed
on the bottom of the boat, but arranged in such a manner that portions
of their surface would show above the mass of green stuff that was soon
thrown in. Although the beef, mutton, potatoes, cauliflower, and the
other vegetables were stowed away in bow and stern with apparent
carelessness, more attention was given to the placing of the products
amidships, in the vicinity of the explosives, and above the mechanism a
space about a foot in diameter was kept open.

The game, the fruit, and the smaller vegetables were placed in tempting
array on top of the coarser products, and after adjusting the edibles to
his satisfaction, John Longmore sprang out and called all the sailors
round him.

“Now, in with her, men! But carefully, so as not to dislodge the cargo!
Wade out beyond the line of breakers and hold her there, steady, until I
come.”

They formed ten deep on each side of the craft, and slowly pushed her
down the beach and into the water; then, following orders, they waded
out until the bow was about ten feet from shore. The big boat rose and
fell on the glassy rollers, and was kept in place by the sailors, who
held firmly to the gunwales.

“What time is it, sir?” asked Old John.

“Exactly half-past six,” replied General Matajente.

“Then the tide has turned and is on the ebb. Shall I let her go, sir?”

“Yes, if all is in readiness.”

“In a moment, sir, as soon as I attach this,” and he held up a
percussion cap; “and this,” and he displayed a small shoulder of lamb.

Strange combination! thought the boys as they saw these last articles
needed to complete the engine of death that was about to be set sailing
under the most alluring flag of peace—agriculture; and they watched
intently as the gaunt seaman strode through the surf to the side of the
lighter, then climbed on board.

The morning was misty, but at such a short distance from shore he was
easily discernible, bending over and moving his hands and arms. He was
not engaged in this for more than two minutes, then he dropped over the
side, and called out, “Push her off, men!”

Old John waded ashore, and the lighter, loaded with explosives and
disguised with market gardeners’ truck, with the choice from butchers’
stalls, with delicacies from the fruiterers; yes, even with a few
flowers, which were strewn carelessly on top, as if placed there by some
one who had given them as a memento to the owner of the cargo—this
engine of death drifted slowly into the mist, out toward the sea, borne
by the ebb tide.

The artillery captain spoke for a moment with General Matajente, then
turned to the boys and bade them good-by, saying that he must go to the
castles.

“But first, won’t you please tell us what you did when you went on the
lighter while the men were holding her?” asked Harvey. “We saw what was
done on shore, but cannot understand what followed.”

“Certainly, my lad. You noticed that I carried a percussion cap and a
shoulder of lamb?”

“Yes.”

“I placed the meat on the arm of the machine to which the spring is made
fast, and the percussion cap upon an open keg of powder, beneath the
other arm. Do you understand?”

[Illustration: “The engine of death drifted slowly into the mist.”]

“Yes, I think so. When the piece of lamb is lifted the spring will fly
up, the opposite arm will descend, explode the cap, and——”

“Exactly,” the captain said.

“But could not a person see all this arrangement and suspect something?”
asked Louis. “You left quite a space there.”

“That is all filled in, and I put the most tempting game and fruit right
above the powder.”

“Then,” said Carl, slowly, “you expect the boat will drift far out in
the bay; will be sighted by one of the ships on blockade; that an
attempt will be made to take the stuff on board, and all hands will be
blown to kingdom come?”

“That is what I hope, my lad.”

“It’s horrible!” said Harvey.

Old John laughed in a peculiar manner and walked away.

As the boys were going slowly up the beach, Carl said:—

“Did you notice the change in Old John? I believe he’s insane.”

“So do I,” said Louis.

“And I,” echoed Harvey. “The old whaler we once knew on San Lorenzo
couldn’t have planned such a trick.”

They had not gone far before they were joined by General Matajente. He
walked on in silence until they reached the La Punta road, then they
heard him mutter:—

“I don’t like it one bit, boys; I don’t like it one bit.”

“Don’t like what, general?”

“That business down on the beach.”

“Why then did you permit it, sir?”

“Orders, my boy, orders. It was not the old boatswain who suggested the
plan to a naval officer, but a captain in the artillery arm who went to
headquarters. John Longmore told the people in the palace at Lima of his
plan, and I was sent down here to oversee the operations.”

“Then you do not approve of what has been done?”

“Orders, my boy, orders,” was his only reply.



                             CHAPTER XVII.
                 JOHN LONGMORE’S REVENGE (_continued_).


When the sun was an hour high the mist faded away; the gray mantle
disappeared, and Callao Bay became of two colors, a green within the
space of an imaginary arc extending from the tip of La Punta to Los
Baños, and a blue beyond, as far as San Lorenzo, where it merged into
the indigo of the immensity of waters.

Upon the surface of the green, circling around occasionally when caught
by a surface current, but steadily moving with the tide, was a market
gardener’s lighter, crowded from keel to gunwales with every variety of
produce. Such a sight had not been witnessed for more than six months,
not since those ships, discernible far in the offing, had enforced the
closing of the port. Before that time these lighters had been frequently
rowed and sailed over the bay, moving toward the heart of the city from
the fertile region of the Rimac on the north.

When men saw what manner of craft was adrift they rubbed their eyes, to
make sure that sleep was not with them and conjuring a fanciful vision
in a dream. No, the boat was still there, rising and falling on the
slowly undulating rollers and moving ever toward the open. Then between
La Punta’s tip and the northern shore perhaps a dozen persons sprang
into skiffs, whitehalls, and wherries, and let fall oars to race for the
prize.

“Halt!” called a soldier standing on the beach near the big, smooth guns
on The Point.

“Halt!” An infantryman levelled his rifle beneath the forts at Chucuito.

“Halt!” yelled a red-uniformed guard, stationed on the mole in Callao.

“Halt!” A boatman who was pushing off from Los Baños dropped his oars
and came back on shore.

“Halt! Halt! Halt!” was heard at intermediary points, for around all the
sweep of land bordering the bay stood sentinels, and their orders were
to permit no man’s interference with the progress seaward of that
lighter laden with garden truck.

From these guardsmen was learned the nature of the craft that was so
jealously watched, and the news spread with lightning rapidity over the
city of Callao, to Bella Vista and haciendas adjoining, to Miraflores,
to Chorillas, and all over Lima; and from there it was wafted up the
mountains to Chosica and even to Matucana.

Peru was to be revenged! That was the keynote of the message, and then
followed in more or less exaggerated form an account of what had been
done and what was the expected sequel. Revenge! After having been
humiliated in the south by many defeats, after suffering from
blockade—which is a thumb-screw torture inflicted by one nation upon
another—and after being insulted by the flaunting in their face of the
lone star flags hoisted on the _Huascar_ and the _Pilcomayo_; after all
these had occurred and all this time had elapsed, Peru was at last to be
revenged!

The Chilean fleet would be blown out of the water before noon! This was
the word which was sent from mouth to mouth.

Early risers, who were on the streets soon after dawn,—venders of water
and venders of such scant green stuff as could be obtained,—hurried to
the shore and dotted the beach here and there, gazing seaward
expectantly. All that day jackasses wandered unattended around the
streets of Callao, braying mournfully, and bearing on their backs casks
that had been filled from the river Rimac, or baskets that contained
plantains and coarse vegetables.

In a few minutes these hucksters and providers of the day’s drinking
supply were joined by other men, persons who lived near the beach and
had run from breakfast tables when the news had reached them; some were
only half dressed, for they had jumped from their beds at the summons.
Then from out all the streets of the seacoast city poured a throng, and
men were joined by women and children. A solid human line marked the
entire water-front, and behind it formed others. Balconies of buildings
that faced the sea were rented that morning, and then space in windows
was sold. Callao’s shore line was the tier of a gigantic amphitheatre;
the bay was the arena.

A severe earthquake shock is followed by an exodus from the seacoast to
Lima, which is on high ground and beyond reach of a tidal wave. At such
times all manner of equipages are pressed into service; railroad trains
are overcrowded, and those who cannot ride in car or carriage, on horses
or mules, run or walk along the road. But no flight from the coast to
Lima ever equalled the outpouring from the City of the Kings toward
Callao on this morning of July 3, 1880; and within two hours after the
lighter had been pushed from the Chucuito beach the depopulation of the
capital commenced, and a wave of humanity swept down the highway and
spread out over the pampas country.

After taking leave of General Matajente, the boys had directed their
steps toward the Dartmoor residence on the Mar Bravo side of the
peninsula, and realizing each minute more and more vividly the
stupendousness of the impending tragedy, they increased their speed
accordingly, until, when the house was reached, they were running as
fast as they could; and bounding up the stairs, two and three at a time,
they burst into the dining room, reaching there nearly out of breath.

Mr. Dartmoor was at breakfast, and with him at table was Captain
Saunders, who had been his guest over night. The men listened in
astonishment to the recital, and at its conclusion the iron merchant
said:—

“No business can be transacted this day. We may as well go to Callao and
witness this deplorable attempt at destruction of life and property.”

“You may well say deplorable,” remarked Captain Saunders. “Torpedo
warfare is to be regretted under any circumstances. But against the
modern engines of destruction, which are projected beneath the water,
the enemy has some means of defence. He may let down nets at the sides
and entangle the projectile, or by continual vigilance keep his ship
from being struck. Against this bomb-laden market boat there is no
defence, except accidental discovery of its true character. It is an
abominable trap, and if any one is killed thereby, it will be
coldblooded murder.”

“You say that General Matajente did not approve the action?” asked Mr.
Dartmoor.

“Indeed he did not, sir. His expression told us more than did his words,
however. He seemed to be thoroughly disgusted.”

“I should expect as much from him, and I believe that Peru as a nation
will not approve such methods of warfare. Let us hope this attempt will
not succeed. I am surprised, though, boys, that your old friend should
have conceived such a plot.”

“That man, John Longmore, is insane,” said Captain Saunders, with
emphasis. “He has been insane ever since he received that sabre cut on
board the _Huascar_. He is a monomaniac in his hatred of Chileans.”

“We noticed his peculiar actions this morning, father,” said Carl.

The boys were hastening their breakfast while this conversation was
taking place, and announced themselves ready for departure as soon as
their fathers pushed back chairs from the table.

“If this succeeds, it will be deplorable for another reason than the
immediate loss of life,” said the captain, rising.

“You mean because of a postponement of peace negotiations?”

“Yes.”

“I fear you are correct.”

“How will it affect the peace negotiations, sir?” Louis asked.

“Because the Chileans will become so incensed that they will not listen
to the propositions for arbitration which have recently been made by
commissioners sent from Washington. Not only that,” said Captain
Saunders, “but any hope of Chile abandoning her idea of territorial
annexation will be gone. I prophesy that if this lighter, armed and
equipped by John Longmore, does any considerable damage in the Chilean
fleet, that Peru will pay for it with the province of Tarapacá.”

“The richest province?” said Harvey.

“Yes, my lad, the richest nitrate of soda country in the world.”

By this time they were on the plank road that leads from Chucuito to
Callao, and after a brisk walk of fifteen minutes reached the business
section. They were too early to meet the mass of humanity that later
surged through all the streets; but they encountered some hundreds of
persons who were rushing toward the water-front.

“This will be a gala day,” remarked Captain Saunders.

“Yes, until the truth is known,” was Mr. Dartmoor’s reply. “Then you
will see a reaction and genuine sorrow. I know these people, I have
lived among them since we parted company in the States, immediately
after the war—and,” he added in a low tone, “I married one of them.”

“Pardon me, my old friend,” said Captain Saunders, “I did not intend to
wound your feelings. I was not speaking bitterly of the Peruvians as a
people, but of those who are responsible for this action to-day.”

“You must remember that an American suggested it.”

“That is true, John, but he is insane, I am certain. Those who gave it
the stamp of approval are the guilty ones.”

They had reached the large building owned by the English Railroad
Company, and the boys, who had walked somewhat in advance, stopped in
front of the entrance to the flight of steps and looked back
inquiringly.

“Yes,” said Captain Saunders, in reply, “go ahead.” Then he added,
“There’s no better place, is there?”

“No. We may as well go up here.”

The railroad building was situated on the beach, and a broad balcony on
the second floor jutted out over the water. This veranda and nearly all
the rooms on the floor were leased by the English Club. From no place,
except the tip of La Punta, could a better view be obtained of the bay.

Mounted on tripods at both ends of this open space were two large
telescopes; numerous marine glasses were on tables. For years, until
1880, these clubrooms had been a favorite place for captains of the
merchant marine and naval officers to lounge during afternoons, and they
had been no less enjoyed by the Anglo-Saxon residents of Callao and
Lima.

The boys hurried to the railing as soon as they had reached the veranda
and looked seaward. Out in the offing, darning the needle, were six
ships on blockade duty. About a mile from shore, heading well out from
the Chucuito beach, was what appeared to be a small boat. They knew it
was the lighter, and glances which each in turn took through one of the
telescopes showed that the cargo of vegetables and meats had not been
disturbed. It was the only craft moving on the bay. At anchor, but safe
under the forts, were the monitor _Atahuallpa_, the corvette _Union_,
and the training ship _Maria Theresa_, remnants of the Peruvian navy.
Within the new pier were perhaps a score of vessels, tied up until the
blockade should be over. Nothing else was on all that broad expanse of
beautiful harbor, except a little schooner, moored at a buoy, and an
abandoned, unseaworthy bark.

For several weeks after the blockade had been established, the members
thronged the club-house and waited their turn to gaze through the
powerful lenses at the ships flying the lone star flag; but long before
July, 1880, came around, the enemy’s fleet had ceased to attract
attention; and as nothing stirred in the bay, the men shunned the
balcony because the view it commanded was disheartening. It told of a
dead commerce, of stagnant trade. But this morning all those who
possessed the little blue membership tickets hastened to the quarters,
and many brought friends, so that within an hour after the arrival of
Captain Saunders, Mr. Dartmoor, and the boys, the place was overcrowded,
and late comers were compelled to go higher and seek vantage points in
windows of the railway company’s offices.

The Chucuito party was fortunate, both in arriving early and in being
joined by a number of intimate friends, for they were enabled to take
possession of one of the large telescopes, and hold it for the morning.

Don Isaac was the first to come, and he listened attentively to the
recital by the boys, who told again, for his benefit, of the strange
doings at the break of day on the Chucuito beach. They had hardly
finished when Señor Cisneros appeared.

“What is this I hear? Are they going to use a torpedo in broad daylight?
I fear it will prove certain death for the crew that attempts to
approach those ships,” and he pointed seaward.

Captain Saunders explained that the torpedo was not of the kind
generally launched from war vessels, or sent from shore, and he briefly
described the construction of John Longmore’s engine of death. The
Peruvian’s face flushed while he listened to the recital, and his
eyebrows contracted.

“This should not be allowed!” he exclaimed. “It is a crime! Pierola
should be appealed to and asked to stop this slaughter.”

At these words Mr. Dartmoor looked at Captain Saunders triumphantly. He
had been correct in his estimate of the people. First, the officer who
had been ordered to oversee the details of launching the lighter had
denounced the work to which he had been assigned; and now a
representative citizen from the interior deplored the event in even more
energetic terms.

It was too late to stop the enactment of the tragedy, too late to appeal
to Pierola. The fiendish plot, hatched in the crazed brain of the old
whaler, and approved by a hot-headed official in Lima, must go forward.
The boat which was laden with market produce had drifted two miles from
shore, and was nearing the line where the green water of the harbor
merged into the blue beyond; as it passed from one colored surface to
the other events began to move rapidly—and all the while, from along the
shore, came the buzz of the many thousands who had crowded as near as
was possible to the water’s edge.

“Look!” suddenly exclaimed Louis. “A boat is putting off from the mole!”

“It’s the state barge,” said Harvey, after a glance through the marine
glasses. “I wonder what’s up now.”

The question was soon answered by the craft itself, which was rowed
alongside the _Union_. Believing it had been sent out only to carry an
officer back to his ship, they paid no more attention to this section of
the harbor until Carl called attention again to the corvette, by saying
that a steam launch had put off from her side. Puffs of smoke came from
the short stack on this small vessel, and after swinging under the stern
of the _Union_ she shaped a course out toward the open.

The foreigners on the club veranda looked at one another in amazement;
the natives on the beach set up a shout.

“Thank God!” fervently exclaimed Señor Cisneros. “They are going to tow
that lighter back to the shore.”

Out steamed the launch, at full speed, sending spray flying at the sides
of her stem, and leaving astern a narrow path of white that marked where
her propeller had churned the water.

Until this small craft appeared in the bay, the Chileans had evidently
given no heed to the lighter that, by this time, had well entered the
blue; if it had been sighted by them, no sign to that effect had been
made; they continued to steam slowly backward and forward, patrolling
the entrance. But when the launch had covered half the distance between
the shore and the provision-laden barge, the cruiser _Mathias Cousino_,
which at that time happened to be the nearest to La Punta, changed her
course and made toward the harbor. Ten minutes later she fired a bow
gun, and the shot plunged into the water not far from the launch.

The Peruvian boat at once put about and made for the _Union_. A dense
cloud of smoke from her stack told that the stoker on board was using
all his energy, and that the boiler had been called upon for the highest
pressure it could stand.

An expression of disappointment could be seen on the faces of Mr.
Dartmoor and Señor Cisneros. The crowd shouted again, and the noise made
by the many thousands was like the roar of a train, or the rasping of
stones over stones on a beach when the undertow sucks them back. One
could not tell whether this shout was in approval or disappointment.

“I do not believe it was ever the intention to have that launch tow the
lighter back to port,” said Captain Saunders.

“You do not?”

“No.”

“Why did she go out, then?”

“It was a ruse.”

“But what could have been the object?”

“That ship’s manœuvre answers your question,” and the captain pointed to
the _Mathias Cousino_, which was moving slowly toward the
provision-laden craft. “The Chileans had not noticed Old John’s floating
mine, or having noticed it were suspicious,” he added. “The launch was
sent to attract their attention, or to lull their fears by an apparent
anxiety to tow the lighter inshore.”

Whether Captain Saunders had surmised correctly or not was never known
in Callao; the instructions given the officer in command of the launch
were not made public.

Every eye had been turned in the direction of the Chilean cruiser that
had left her station, and as she came within a mile of the barge, men on
the club balcony climbed on the railings and on tables, that they might
see the better, expecting that she would prove a victim to the floating
mine. But after a few minutes the _Mathias Cousino_ altered her course,
and describing a broad semicircle, returned to her position in the
squadron.

“She has set signals!” said Captain Saunders, who had been looking
through the telescope.

“And the _Blanco_ is answering!” remarked Señor Cisneros, after sweeping
his marine glasses to the right, where the flagship formed one of the
wings of the fleet.

“She’s shaping a course for the lighter!” exclaimed the captain, who had
swung his telescope around; and then every one looked toward the north,
from which point of the compass the big ironclad was lumbering
shoreward.

A breeze from the south, blowing somewhat earlier in the day than was
usual, had cleared the last shadow of mist away, a cool temperature had
prevented the forming of a heat haze, and the eye could discern even
trees on San Lorenzo Island.

At the time of exchanging signals the _Blanco_ was about six miles
distant from the _Mathias Cousino_. She moved sluggishly, not over eight
knots an hour, for her hull had become foul with the marine growth of
the South Pacific; and it was a half hour from the time she left the
line before she reached the spot where the cruiser had been. The lighter
had moved some two and a half miles from shore, and was still drifting.
To reach this craft the big man-of-war had approached so near that even
those who had no marine glasses could make out features of her
superstructure; while persons sitting at the telescopes counted the
number of men stationed on the bridge and on other elevated deck works.

By approaching this close the flagship came within easy range of the
shore guns, and when she was only a few cables’ length distant from the
lighter, a shell was sent screeching over the water from one of the
rifled pieces in the castle. It struck to the south of her, fully a
quarter of a mile.

“That bluff is so poor that I should think her commander would see
through it,” said Captain Saunders.

“What do you mean by a bluff, father?” asked Carl.

“Why, that gun-fire, evidently ordered to lull the suspicions of the
Chileans, who might wonder if no shots were let fly.”

“Didn’t they aim at her, then?”

“Certainly not, son.”

At that moment a shell flew from the Chucuito fort, and it went as wild
as had that from the castle.

Then everybody bent forward breathlessly, looked out over the bay with
staring eyes, and not a word was spoken; a silence as of death had
fallen upon the multitude that thronged the shore lines. For the _Blanco
Encalada_ had slowly passed between the lighter and the land, had
reversed her propeller, and had come to a stop with the lighter
alongside. None could see this boat that was crowded with food-stuffs
and undermined with sufficient explosives to destroy every ship out
there in the offing, but they knew that it had been made fast, and that
greedy eyes of half-famished sailors were spying the wealth of
edibles—enough food to put new life into every man in the fleet, even as
there was sufficient material, hidden by the green, to insure every man
a horrible death.

Minutes passed like hours; the ticking of watches could be heard. What
could they be about on the ironclad? Why the delay? Why did the crash
not come and be over with?

Harvey was watching as were the others, but all at once he buried his
face in his hands and covered his eyes. The boy who had stood before the
Majeronas so bravely became dizzy when he thought of the awful scene
that might spring into being any moment out in the bay; a lump was in
his throat. Carl and Louis also turned away at times. Strong men were
affected and nervously twitched their fingers, tapped the floor with
their feet, or bit the ends of their mustaches.

“She’s away! She’s safe!” suddenly exclaimed the captain. “She’s made
out the trap and is putting out to sea again!”

Then everybody saw the lighter reappear under the war-ship’s counter,
and gradually the water and sky line broadened between the big ship and
the boat.



                             CHAPTER XVIII.
                 JOHN LONGMORE’S REVENGE (_concluded_).


Señor Cisneros gave vent to a sigh of relief; so did Mr. Dartmoor. The
boys were both disappointed and pleased. If they could have seen a
war-ship destroyed without loss of life, the spectacle would have
thrilled them; or could they have been eyewitness to a naval engagement
in which both sides had warning, they would have enjoyed nothing better.
They understood perfectly the attitude taken by their seniors, and their
love of fair play told them that such methods of warfare as that
employed by John Longmore could have no honest approval.

Captain Saunders picked up his hat from a table, and, rising from the
chair where he had ensconced himself so as to look the better through
the telescope, he prepared to leave the veranda, and waited a minute
until the others could make ready. Several club members had hurriedly
taken their departure, anxious to avoid the crowd that would throng the
streets.

“Come, boys,” Mr. Dartmoor said, and he started toward the stairs.

“Just a minute, please, father?” asked Louis, who had taken a seat at
the telescope. Then he added, “I wonder what the _Blanco_ is signalling
for?”

“She is signalling, that’s a fact,” said Carl, who had taken up a pair
of marine glasses and was looking seaward.

“Hurry! Don’t you see you are keeping us all waiting?” insisted Mr.
Dartmoor.

“One second, please, one second! Oh, father, look! There’s another ship
coming up. See, that one to the south is leaving the line!”

Mr. Dartmoor turned and took the marine glasses which Carl handed to
him.

“Take a look, captain,” he said, after a minute. “I do believe another
ship is planning to take the cargo on board.”

Captain Saunders put his eye to the telescope and was heard to mutter:—

“You’re right, Dartmoor.”

He gazed at the oncoming vessel some few minutes longer, then added:
“Yes, sir; one of the transports is making in this direction. And I
think that I can understand the reason.”

“Are we still in doubt as to the outcome?” asked Don Isaac, who with
Señor Cisneros had returned to the corner.

“Yes. And if I am correct in my surmise, the plot will now succeed.”

“How so? Don’t you think that the _Blanco’s_ officers guessed the nature
of that cargo?”

“No. I don’t believe they did. If they had, she would probably have
stood off a short distance and put a shell into it, to test the
correctness of the suspicion. Instead of that, the admiral has signalled
another ship to approach. My strongest grounds for believing that the
ruse has succeeded are based on the nature of the vessel that has been
called from the line.”

“In what respect?”

“She’s a transport. Moreover, she was formerly in the coast service.”

“Yes?”

“If I am not mistaken, she is the _Loa_, formerly one of the Chilean
Transportation Company’s vessels. You will remember her. She was on the
Callao-Valparaiso run a year or so ago.”

“I remember her well,” said Mr. Dartmoor. “I once took passage on her to
Arica. Why has she been called?”

“Because she has machinery on board that can be used for lifting the
provisions from the lighter. There is a heavy swell outside, and the
_Blanco_ could not bring the small boat close enough to transfer the
green stuff; so the former coaster has been ordered to do it. She is
especially equipped, with steam winches and swinging cranes, which have
been used for that purpose for many years, up and down the coast. Watch,
and you will see that I am correct,” and he settled himself firmly in
the chair, convinced that the tragedy had been postponed, not avoided.

Other club members had noticed the manœuvre out in the open, and had
returned to their seats and positions near the railing; and still
others, who were descending the stairs, had been called back by their
friends. A movement had been noticed in the crowd on the beach, a wave
of humanity had receded toward the city when the _Blanco_ put out to sea
again; now the wave was sweeping back, for keen eyes all along the
water-front had noticed that change in position by ships of the enemy.

The _Loa_, one of the largest passenger steamers on the Pacific in that
day, had been bought by the Chilean government for the purpose of
carrying troops from Valparaiso to the Peruvian seaports. Pending the
embarkation of the large force that was ultimately to march on Lima, she
had been sent to the blockading fleet with supplies. The vessel was
almost new, her engines were of a late pattern, and she could steam a
good fourteen knots. Therefore her progress from the line was much more
swift than had been that of the _Blanco Encalada_. On she came, parting
the glassy rollers, throwing a curved wave to port and another to
starboard, smoke belching from the stack, and steam flying in gray
tangles from the escape pipe.

“What a shame!” remarked Señor Cisneros, as they watched her approach.
“I have heard that the poor fellows out there have been attacked with
scurvy. Think what a treat those vegetables would be to them after these
long months of salt pork and dry bread!”

“We can only hope that they will discover the plot,” said Mr. Dartmoor.

For ten minutes little was said by those on the veranda; then Captain
Saunders, who remained with his eye glued to the object glass,
exclaimed:—

“She’s shifted her helm and will bring the lighter on the shore side of
her.”

They noticed that she had altered her course; then she slowed down
perceptibly.

Five minutes later the _Loa_ appeared to be motionless; if she was
moving, it was very slowly; the lighter had been brought abeam.
Observers who had no glasses could tell the relative position of the two
craft, so clear was the air; those with marine glasses could see that
preparations were going forward to make the provision boat fast; through
the powerful telescopes every movement of persons on the deck and bridge
could be watched.

Captain Saunders commenced to describe rapidly what was happening, for
the benefit of those who had no lenses to aid their vision.

“The lighter is abreast the _Loa_,” he said. “They have let a rope down
over the side, and a sailor is descending to the boat. There! he has
found a footing and is making the rope fast to the bow. Another rope has
been thrown him, which he is making fast to the stern. Down this comes
another fellow, to help him, and another. Three of them are now on
board. Fenders are being thrown them to place between the sides, for she
is bumping heavily. Ah! nearly over!”

“What was nearly over?” Mr. Dartmoor asked. “The lighter?”

“Yes. She was almost swamped. I wish she had been. Perhaps that wrench
has dislodged the machinery of the mine. Now they are passing down poles
and these are being used between the sides, instead of fenders, so as to
keep her farther off. More men are going on board; there are fully a
score of them among the green stuff. I can make out a number of them
eating fruit. Poor fellows, what a treat all that does seem! Little do
they know that they are enjoying chirimoyas, paltas, and oranges while
standing on the brink of death! Now we shall be able to tell. The
suspense won’t last much longer!”

“What has happened?” asked Don Isaac.

“They have swung the crane around and are lowering the chain with a
basket attached.”

“That means they are loading with the green stuff first, I believe. You
said that was on top, did you not, Carl?” asked the editor.

“Yes, sir,” the boy replied, in a choking voice. “The fruits, the
lettuce, beans, and such things are scattered about over the meat and
larger vegetables. And flowers too.”

“Flowers?”

“An armful of them, sir,” Harvey said.

“Then that accounts for the bunch of red which I saw one of the men
throw on board just now,” said Captain Saunders. “There goes the first
basketful. It is going up rapidly; the crane is swinging inboard; it is
being dumped on deck. Now the crane is travelling back and the basket is
lowered again. The men fall to. They are loading with a will, for an
officer has gone down among them and is directing. I suppose the poor
devils stopped too often to taste the fruit. The second basketful is
going up! up! up! That also is dumped. What’s this? The basket is not
coming back! No, hooks are being lowered on the end of the chain. They
must have put in all the vegetables that were on top and have reached
the meat. Ah, they are commencing at the bow and not amidships. There
goes a shoulder of beef! Inboard with it! Out comes the crane arm again
and down go the hooks! Another shoulder of beef! Those fellows are
working like mad. Why, Dartmoor, they must be nearly famished. I suppose
they didn’t appreciate what a rich haul they had come across. Merciful
God, if Thou wilt but stay Thine hand!”

The brief, fervent prayer was echoed by all who heard. The faces of men
and boys had become ashen pale. Two hundred men were on the transport
_Loa_, two hundred hungry men, and there were thousands of others in the
fleet. The launch contained enough fresh provisions to give them all a
treat for at least one day.

The _Blanco Encalada_ had steamed only a short distance away, and then
had swung around and lay rolling in the trough, waiting, her crew
evidently watching the work that was being pushed forward. Other ships
of the fleet, realizing from the signals what was happening, had edged
closer in.

“They are working their way aft,” continued Captain Saunders. “Some
smaller pieces are being sent up the side. You say the infernal machine
is located exactly amidships?”

“Yes, sir,” answered Harvey, in a whisper.

“There, there!” The captain held his hand out, as if in a warning. “The
officer is bending over; a sailor bends over with him. The hook is being
made——”

The sentence was never finished.

A blinding flash sprang from the side of the transport, a flash that
dazzled the eye even in the bright day, and for one infinitesimal
measurement of time everything stood out plainly—the side of the ship,
the lighter, the men bending over, the men grouped among the provisions,
and those who had manned the chains. Then, in contrast with the
lightning-like movement of the great glare was the slow movement of the
steamship, parting in twain. She opened as though a giant wedge had
cleft her in two; she had been rent asunder by a force that was titanic.
And as she thus divided, a roar the like of which no man in Callao had
ever heard came thundering over the water. The great sound waves threw
themselves upon buildings, causing them to tremble to their foundations,
and thrust upon sensitive ear-drums with deafening force. Then they
swept on, over the seacoast city, over the pampas country, up to Lima,
rattling windows there, and passed from the City of the Kings to the
spurs of the Andes, which threw them back in a prolonged echo, so that
all the valley seemed filled with sound.

While the roar was spreading, a column of water had sprung into being
out in the bay, and spurting through it was a writhing mass of steam.
This vaporous geyser bore in its embrace fragments of men and fragments
of iron, steel, and wood; it carried dismembered human beings aloft in
its gray fantastic flight, and it also bore piston rods, segments of
crank shafts, plates, torn and twisted from the hull, hatch coverings,
deck railings, and sides of superstructures; it enveloped a medley of
wrought metals and rough wood, and a medley of quivering bodies. It bore
upward also the ragged ends of the transport _Loa_, lifting the segments
that had been torn asunder, so that the bow of the ship dipped down, and
the stern did likewise. Then these two parts plunged beneath the
surface, going in opposite directions, and as they went, the spout of
water fell, and the steam settled down over all. This steam could be
seen whirling and eddying, and when the light wind threw it to one side,
the water was seen to be whirling and eddying even as had done the
vapor, throwing up pieces of wood in places, and also black objects,
which those who still looked—and they were not many, for the great
majority had turned their heads because of the horror—knew to be the
bodies of men.

From the sides of the _Blanco Encalada_ boats commenced to creep; from
farther out in the bay other vessels of the fleet cast great columns of
smoke into the air as they made haste to the rescue.

The many persons on the veranda of the English Club said nothing for
fully five minutes, so struck with awe were they. Then Captain Saunders
found voice to call the boys.

“We had better go now,” he said. “You have witnessed what will go down
into history as the crime of the Chile-Peruvian War.”

His prophecy was true. That which Mr. Dartmoor and Señor Cisneros had
said also came to pass, for Peru as a nation mourned what had been done,
and the blush of shame came to the cheeks of many whenever the sinking
of the _Loa_ was mentioned.

Months later those in Callao who had watched this spectacle learned that
one hundred Chileans had been killed and fifty wounded by Old John’s
infernal machine.

“We had better go to Lima,” added the captain, when they had left the
veranda and had mingled with the thousands who were slowly leaving the
beach.

“Why? Do you think there will be a bombardment?”

“Assuredly there will be. The Chileans will be avenged to-night.”

They went to the capital, and so did thousands of other residents of the
seacoast city.

At sunset the Chilean fleet steamed in close under the guns, and paying
no heed to the fire from the forts, poured shot and shell into Callao
until morning came. Houses were destroyed, large buildings were lacked
through and through, and many fires were started. There was a death list
among those who remained in the town, and many persons were wounded.



                              CHAPTER XIX.
                        A STRANGE DISAPPEARANCE.


News filtered through the lines from the south of serious reverses to
Peruvian arms. It came overland, for there was no communication by sea.
The word was to the effect that Arica had been taken by assault on June
7, and that there had been great loss of life in the Peruvian army.

No man doubted that the Peruvian city had fallen, but as for the
particulars, so many rumors were afloat that no credence was given any
of them, and every one anxiously awaited definite information.

Much lawlessness prevailed about this time, both in the cities and in
the surrounding country. Nearly half the population was under arms in
Lima and Callao, and these many thousand soldiers, inactive save for the
daily drills, became restless, and when given liberty they resorted to
deeds of violence. Day after day reports reached the towns of country
haciendas having been pillaged, and the occupants forced to pay tribute
to marauding bands; citizens, out late at night, were frequently robbed;
and a prominent English physician of Callao was attacked while walking
on the plank road leading from Chucuito, and was killed.

The army as a whole deplored this reign of terror, and officers did
their best to check the wave of crime. Courts-martial were frequent; the
guilty were ranged against a wall and shot, but, despite this energetic
action, deeds of violence continued. Some of the worst characters in
Peru had volunteered for the ranks, and as they were known as desperate
fighters, their services had been accepted. All would have been well
could they have been led at once against the enemy, but retained in
camp, and months passing without action, their worst natures came to the
surface.

When the reign of terror had become recognized as beyond the power of
the authorities entirely to subdue, Mr. Dartmoor regretted more than
ever that he had not sent his family to the United States; indeed, he
regretted that he had not left the country with them before the enemy’s
ships had closed the port.

Captain Saunders, convinced that no vessels could enter the harbor for
many more months, and realizing that in their absence his presence in
Peru was of no benefit to the American Board of Marine Underwriters,
decided upon an overland journey, with Carl, to one of the northern
cities, from where they could take passage for Panama. He spoke of the
plan to Mr. Dartmoor, and the iron merchant decided to accompany him.
Mr. Lawton, hearing of their proposed trip, and having arranged his
affairs in a satisfactory manner, said that he also would go.

“But your newspaper?” asked Captain Saunders.

“I shall suspend publication. All my obligations have been met, thanks
to Harvey and his father, and I am in a position where I can close the
plant and reopen it when peace shall be declared and business resume.”

“I think it would be wise for us all to go,” declared Mr. Dartmoor.
“Nothing can be done with the mine until this unfortunate war shall come
to an end, and we are constantly exposing our lives here. What will you
do?” he asked, turning to Señor Cisneros, who had remained in Callao,
hoping that the clouds of depression might lift.

“I shall return to Huari and wait for peace,” he replied. “We are safe
in the mountains. I wish you all could go with me.”

They thanked him, but declined. Mr. Dartmoor had not been home save for
a brief period since the Civil War; he wished his children to become
better acquainted with the great republic to the north, and he was
anxious that Mrs. Dartmoor should see more of the United States.

Plans were formed to travel overland to Payta, and some forty or fifty
other Americans and English decided to accompany them. The day for
departure had been set when two events occurred, the first of which put
a temporary stop to preparations, and the second altered their
arrangements materially.

One evening, during the last week in July, five young persons were
gathered in the parlor of Mr. Dartmoor’s Chucuito residence—Carl
Saunders, Louis and Harvey Dartmoor and their sister Rosita, and Bella
Caceras. The presence of the girls in the Callao suburb was due to a
temporary truce that had been agreed to by the commander-in-chief of the
land forces and the admiral of the Chilean fleet, whereby it was agreed
not to exchange shots for a fortnight.

This had no effect upon the blockade, but it made Callao a safe place to
live in so far as the element of bombardment was eliminated, and, taking
advantage of the lull in hostilities, those who had homes near the sea
removed from Lima, so as to enjoy the bracing salt-laden air and have a
brief respite from the crowded, soldier-burdened life of the capital.

The evening had been prefaced by one of those dinners for which John
Dartmoor’s home had been noted before his financial difficulties had
embarrassed him. To be sure, this day the dishes were not as numerous as
they had been before the blockade, and that which was served cost four
and five times the price of edibles in the olden times, but steaming
pucharo was there, as of yore, and there was no lack of paltas and other
fruit.

After the enjoyable hour at table, Mr. Dartmoor, Captain Saunders, and
Señor Cisneros went to the billiard room, and Mrs. Dartmoor accompanied
the young people to the parlor, from where, after a few minutes’
conversation, she went to her bedroom, having some sewing to do—for
these days of preparations were busy ones, and, as all women know, it
was upon the mother that the greatest burdens fell.

Toward eight o’clock, Harvey, who had stepped out on the balcony for a
minute, suggested that they stroll over to Mar Bravo beach.

“It’s a perfect night,” he said. “The moon is full and there’s hardly a
cloud to be seen; only a few of fleecy white that scud along as if
ashamed to interrupt the light.”

“Do you realize, sir, that if you should change that sentence a trifle
you would have a verse for a poem?” laughingly said Bella Caceras. “But
you are right. It is lovely. Let’s all go. The evening is warm and we do
not need any wraps, do we, Rosita?”

“I think not,” and rising, Miss Dartmoor joined her friend, then all
passed out the door and down the stairs.

“Where are you going?” called Mr. Dartmoor, from the billiard room.

“To the beach, father,” answered Louis.

“Don’t be gone long.”

“No, sir; not over a half hour.”

It was the first time the five had visited Mar Bravo beach since the
happy days preceding the blockade, when these evenings at Chucuito were
of frequent occurrence.

“This does seem good!” exclaimed Harvey, as he sat down on a circular,
flat-topped stone, as near the line where spray dashed as he could
venture without being wet.

“What did you say?” called Bella Caceras, who was seated somewhat above
him.

“I said that this seems good,” he called back. For, although they were
almost within touch, the roar of the breakers and their accompanied
undertow was so loud as to drown conversation.

“Better than fighting Majeronas with pincushions?” he heard her
mischievously ask.

At this he followed a receding breaker, and snatching a clump of seaweed
from the swirl, he returned and threatened to crown the Peruvian with
the dripping mass unless she offered an apology.

“I’ll be good! I’ll be good!” she shouted, endeavoring to rise. “Oh,
look at the beautiful starfish you have in the bunch!”

Harvey deposited the seaweed at her feet, and Rosita came over with Carl
and Louis, to examine closely the red stellerid that had been so
unexpectedly captured. The time passed only too quickly, and all were
surprised when Louis, looking at his watch, and recalling the remark he
had made to his father, said they must hasten home, for they had been
absent from the house nearly an hour.

On the return, when halfway between the beach and the Dartmoor Row, as
the house owned by the boys’ father and those adjacent to it were
called, Carl proposed a race.

“I can’t run,” protested Bella Caceras.

“Oh, try,” urged Louis.

“Let me whisper in your ear,” said Rosita, and then exclaiming, “Pardon
me, boys,” she said to her friend, very low, “Let’s start with them,
then you and I stop suddenly, and walk on. We will have a nice talk all
alone and they’ll never notice it.”

“Very well.”

“Will you race?” asked Carl.

“Yes, we’ll race.”

“Then all in line,” said Louis. “One, two, three, and off!”

Great rivalry had always existed between the boys, and once started they
strained every muscle to call forth speed. Before his trip into the
interior Harvey had never been able to keep up with his brother and
chum; but that journey had toughened him greatly, made him more agile,
and this evening he surprised the other two by taking the lead and
keeping it. So intent were all three, that they never looked around
until the house was reached, nor even then, for Harvey dashed in at the
front door, the others after him, and all sat down on the steps, panting
and out of breath.

“Well, that’s the jolliest sprint we’ve had for a long time,” said
Louis, when he had recovered sufficiently to form the words.

“I believe it is the first time we have tried to see who could beat
since we used to run from Chucuito to La Punta in the old days of the
Rowing Club,” replied Carl. “And say, Louis, what do you think of your
young brother here? Beating us square and fair by three feet or more in
a three hundred yard dash!”

“Sh!” exclaimed the boy whom they were complimenting. “Listen! What’s
the row in the yard? And, Louis, mother is screaming, calling out, or
something. Come on! Come on, Carl!”

They needed no urging, but dashed up the stairs, two and three steps at
a time, then through the house to the rear balcony, which overlooked a
large court. There they met Mrs. Dartmoor, who was crying hysterically.

“What’s the matter, mother?” asked Louis and Harvey, at the same
instant.

“I don’t know,” she sobbed. “There was a noise in the stables and your
father went down. I heard some terrible sounds, and then he called for
Carl’s father and Señor Cisneros. They were already on the way to him,
and the three must have had an encounter with some one. It seemed as if
all the horses had been turned loose. Oh, I don’t know what has
happened!”

At that moment a voice came from below, calling:—

“Have the boys returned?”

“Yes, father,” replied Louis. “We are here.”

“Come down.”

“All right, sir,” he replied, and the lads obeyed only too willingly.
Mrs. Dartmoor, reassured at hearing her husband’s voice, returned to her
room.

The Dartmoor Row, which included the house occupied by John Dartmoor
before his failure, and to which he had removed since the discovery of
the gold mine, and the advance to him of money by capitalists of Lima,
consisted of a number of fine residences, built in a semicircle in the
heart of Chucuito suburb. They were, in fact, the most pretentious
structures in this little place, and because of the prominence in
diplomatic and business life of the tenants, they were known by
foreigners all up and down the West Coast. Back of the houses was a high
fence, which completed the circle, and which enclosed a large court.
Within the enclosure were the stables and other outbuildings, arranged
so that the whole somewhat resembled an English country residence;
indeed, it was said to have been patterned from an estate near London.
Flights of stairs connected the court with the different houses, and it
was down one of these that the boys ran. At the bottom they met Mr.
Dartmoor, Señor Cisneros, and Captain Saunders.

“We had a little brush with them,” said Louis’s father.

“With whom, sir?” the lads asked, and they saw that the iron merchant
was holding a handkerchief to the side of his head and that the Peruvian
was limping as if his leg pained him.

“With a rascally band of soldiers,” replied Mr. Dartmoor. “But they were
not half so bad as their leader. Louis, who do you think he was?”

“But, father, are you hurt?”

“Nothing to speak of. Tell me, who do you think led the soldiers into
the court?”

“Alfred?”

“Yes, Alfred.”

“The scoundrel!”

Mr. Dartmoor spoke of a young Englishman to whom they had given
employment about the place. He had deserted from an English man-of-war,
and, believing his story to be true, that harsh treatment had caused him
to run away from the ship, the iron merchant had found work for him. But
he soon learned that the young man was addicted to the use of strong
liquors, and after repeated warnings he was compelled to discharge him.
The notification that he was no longer needed had brought bitter words
from the former sailor boy, who had denounced Mr. Dartmoor and had
threatened to “get even.”

“What did he try to do, father?” asked Harvey.

“Try to do! He has done it. He and his band have taken all the horses!”

“The horses?”

“Yes, every one that was in the stables. Yours and Louis’s, mine, and
two that belonged to Mr. Dartnell. I heard the noise and ran down the
stairs. There were fully twenty of them, and I could do nothing, so
called Captain Saunders and the señor, but they got away.”

While this conversation was taking place they had walked from the centre
of the court to the stairs, which they soon commenced to mount. At the
top they were met by Mrs. Dartmoor, who asked:—

“Did Rosita go into the court with you, boys?”

“Rosita? No,” said Harvey. “Is she not in the house with Bella Caceras?”

“No. I have called her several times.”

“Why, that is strange. They came back with us from Mar Bravo. That is,
they followed close behind.”

The boy ran into the house and called “Rosita! Rosita! Rosita!”

No answer came.

Louis and Carl hurried after him. “They are hiding downstairs,” said the
latter. “They are playing a joke on us because we ran away from them.”

“They shouldn’t do that,” said Harvey. “They must have heard mother
call. A joke is a joke, but they ought not to worry her.”

The boys ran down the steps and out in front. The girls were not in
sight. They looked in the doorways of the neighboring houses. No one
could be seen.

“Rosita! Rosita!” called Harvey and Louis. “Don’t try to hide any
longer. We know where you are.”

There was no answer.

“Where do you suppose they are?” asked Harvey, and his voice trembled.

“I think we should tell father,” said Louis, and running to the foot of
the stairs he called to Mr. Dartmoor.

“What is it, Louis?” asked the iron merchant.

“We can’t find Rosita and Bella Caceras.”

“Can’t find Rosita! Why, what do you mean? Rosita!” he called.

No reply came.

“Where were they, boys, when you saw them last?”

“Following us from Mar Bravo. We all started on a foot race, and the
girls were with us. They couldn’t have been more than a dozen steps in
the rear.”

“Perhaps they are hiding behind the stones. Run over to the beach and
see if they are not.”

The boys did as they were bid and returned in five minutes. No sign of
the girls had been seen. All called again. There was no answer. Mrs.
Dartmoor came downstairs and added her cries to those of the men and the
boys. Not a voice was heard in reply.

Rosita Dartmoor and Bella Caceras had disappeared.



                              CHAPTER XX.
                    A CHASE INTO THE PAMPAS COUNTRY.


They formed a startled group out in front of the Dartmoor Row, standing
in the white of the moonlight, and for fully a minute not a sound came
from them, except low moans from Mrs. Dartmoor’s lips. These, too,
suddenly ceased, and the woman fell toward her husband.

“Quick, Louis! Help me! Your mother has fainted!”

The boy sprang to his father’s side.

“We must carry her upstairs.”

Captain Saunders also hurried to assist, and the three bore the
deathlike mother to her bedroom, where restoratives were applied, and
she soon regained consciousness.

“There, I am better now,” she said, as soon as she could sit upright. “I
must go down and look for Rosita,” and she tried to struggle to her
feet.

“No. Please don’t try to do that,” urged her husband. “Louis will go,
and so will the captain, and with Señor Cisneros, Carl, and Harvey they
will do all that is possible. I shall remain by your side until you are
much better.”

Then he stepped over to Captain Saunders and whispered, “For God’s sake
do what you can!”

“Rest assured that I will,” was the reply, and he left the room with the
boys.

Below they saw Señor Cisneros walking slowly up and down the road, near
the end of the row. He was bent nearly double, and was carefully
examining the ground.

“Come here,” he finally called to those who were gathered near the door,
and when they had approached, he added, “Do you see these hoof prints,
rounding from the stables.”

“Yes,” they all exclaimed.

“Notice that they continue on in front of the houses about a hundred
feet and then stop.”

He had walked along while calling their attention to the marks that were
plain in the light-colored, sandy soil of the roadway.

“You are correct,” said Captain Saunders. “What does it mean?”

“First, let’s ascertain if they continue up the main road,” and turning,
he walked in the direction of Callao again.

“Yes,” he added, “they doubled over this stretch. Notice how confused
the imprints are, and now,” when they had passed the corner, “see, they
are plain again on the way to the city! Those girls, Rosita and Bella,
have been kidnapped.”

“Kidnapped? By whom?”

“By that scoundrelly Englishman and his ruffianly band. After leaving
the stables they made for the main road. At the corner they saw the
girls, and as they were only a few feet away, they picked them up and
dashed off again. We did not hear them nor the cries of the girls, which
of course were soon stifled, because we were so occupied in the court.”

“I _did_ hear a scream,” said Captain Saunders, “but paid no particular
attention, thinking one of the women servants had cried in alarm because
of the uproar in the stables. But, señor, for what reason would they
kidnap the girls?”

“For a ransom. That English renegade knows about the gold mine, and the
thought came to him at once to extort money. Here, Harvey, come back!”

The boy, who had started on a run, came to a halt.

“Where are you going?”

“After them,” he replied.

“You can do nothing alone and on foot. We’ll all start. Louis, are there
any horses in the neighborhood?”

He shook his head in negation.

“Oh, yes there are!” exclaimed Harvey, who had quickly returned. “There
are some at the fort.”

“Then hurry over there as fast as you can, explain to the commandante
what has happened, and ask him if he will lend us mounts. Louis, you go
with him, and Captain Saunders, let your son go also. It will take three
of them to bring back the horses.”

“Certainly. Make haste, Carl!”

The lads disappeared around the corner, and their footfalls could be
heard as they started to cross the peninsula.

The señor at once went upstairs, and returned with Mr. Dartmoor, who
looked over the ground as the others had done, and became convinced that
the Peruvian’s theory was correct.

“Mrs. Dartmoor is better,” he said, returning to the door. “Captain,
will you do me a favor?”

“Anything you ask.”

“Then remain with my wife, for I must join in this chase.”

“I shall do so willingly, if she needs any one.”

“Yes, she does; for her nerves are completely shattered, and I dare not
trust her alone.”

“Very well, I will remain. Would you like to have Carl accompany you?”

“By all means. We need as large a force as can be quickly mustered.”

They were upstairs again before this conversation was ended, and Mr.
Dartmoor, hastening to his wife, reassured her the best he could.

“I do not apprehend any harm will befall the girls, aside from a rough
ride,” he said. “Those marauders want money, that’s all.”

“You will pay them?”

“Yes, of course I will, should it be necessary; but I don’t think it
will be.”

“Hurry, then; oh, do hurry!”

“We will be off as soon as the horses come. It will be all right then
for me to go and leave Captain Saunders with you, dear?”

“Yes, yes. I really do not need any one—but if the captain could stay, I
should like to have him.”

“I am very glad that I can be of any service,” said Carl’s father. “And
let me assure you, Mrs. Dartmoor, that I feel convinced your daughter
and Señorita Caceras will soon be recovered.”

Meanwhile the men who were to go were making hurried preparations,
casting aside coats and vests, and donning flowing ponchos; also
exchanging shoes for high boots. Mr. Dartmoor went into the boys’ room
and gathered an armful of articles, which he thought his sons would
need, and which he carried downstairs so they might lose no time in
getting ready for the road.

“We’ll leave what we don’t want on the sidewalk,” he called to Captain
Saunders. “Please have one of the servants take them in.”

The clatter of hoofs sounded, and four horsemen dashed around the corner
and came to a sharp halt in a cloud of dust. Four other horses were
being led. The first to dismount was a little man clad in a brilliant
uniform of red and gold braid.

“General Matajente!” exclaimed Mr. Dartmoor, and he grasped the soldier
fiercely by the hand. “Thank God you have come!”

“Rosita and Bella kidnapped!” replied the officer. “Never fear, we will
soon be up with them.”

“Hurry, boys! dismount and make ready!” and Mr. Dartmoor pointed to the
clothing that lay on the pavement.

So expeditious were the lads that they were fully equipped by the time
the men had tightened their saddle girths.

“Have you weapons?” asked the general, as they all prepared to mount.

Mr. Dartmoor made an affirmative gesture.

“And the boys?”

“Each has a revolver. I have permitted them to carry firearms since
these dangerous times began.”

“Then let’s be off!”

They started at a canter up the road to Callao, knowing the wisdom of
not urging the horses at the start. As for the course they pursued, the
topography of the land was such that the marauders could have taken no
other. In the city they received information that directed them still
farther. A policeman near the English railway station had seen the
soldiers going rapidly to the northeast. Yes, he had noticed two
señoritas in the party, and he had believed the troops were escorting
them. Did they call out? No.

“Then,” said General Matajente, “they must have been gagged, or else the
scoundrels rode close and threatened them. Tell me,” he inquired of the
policeman, “were the señoritas mounted—each on a horse by herself?”

“Yes, señor commandante.”

“Forward, then!” And the party started across the city in the direction
indicated. At the farther end, not far from the Baños del Oroya, they
came upon a sentinel on guard near an artillery camp, and from him they
also secured information. The kidnappers had passed on beyond Callao,
going in the same general direction.

“They have taken the road to Bella Vista, that’s certain. Now we can go
faster.”

Spurs were pressed to flanks, whips were let fall, and the horses dashed
forward on a run. The three men were in front and the boys close behind.
The animals that had been brought from the Santa Rosa fort were the best
in the stables, for General Matajente, who had been the guest, during
the evening, of the commanding officer, and had heard Louis’s and
Harvey’s petition for steeds, had warmly seconded their request and
finally had selected the mounts himself. Accustomed to command, the
little officer had unconsciously taken the head of the party; and Mr.
Dartmoor was rejoiced thereat, for the courage and ability of the
general had been tested many times, and was known to equal that of any
man in the service of Peru.

It is two miles from Callao to Bella Vista, and within five minutes
after leaving the city they drew rein in the little settlement, their
horses snorting, with heads uplifted, necks arched, flecks of foam
dropping from their mouths, and sweat commencing to show on their
shoulders.

“Two roads branch from here,” said the general, “and we must decide
quickly which to take. Señor Cisneros, perhaps you can aid us again.”

The resident of Huari had already dismounted, and he went at once to the
fork, then walked rapidly in a stooping posture along the highway to the
right. It was still bright moonlight and would be for several hours, so
that he had little difficulty in scanning the ground. After going a
hundred feet or so, he returned with the information that no one had
recently passed that way, except a party of two or three, and they had
moved at a walk. Then he moved over the left branch, going even farther
this time, and upon returning he said:—

“Not a person has passed over this road on horseback in the last
twenty-four hours.”

They looked at one another in alarm. Had a mistake been made and all
this time wasted? Who had given the wrong direction, the policeman or
the soldier?

But suddenly the general exclaimed: “There may be a clever rogue in that
party. To horse, señor! I have a plan,” and riding forward, he led them
along the road that branched to the left.

“Where can he be going?” asked Mr. Dartmoor. “He must realize that every
moment counts.”

“He believes they made a detour, and so do I,” replied Señor Cisneros.

The general rode at a rapid gait full a quarter of a mile, bending down
close to the saddle, his head almost on a level with his horse’s neck,
scanning the white roadway; then, drawing rein suddenly, he exclaimed in
a triumphant tone:—

“Try it again, señor, at this point.”

Señor Cisneros was no sooner on his feet than he said: “Yes, here are
the tracks! They came out of the short grass at this point.”

“And they entered it below Bella Vista, believing they could throw us
off the trail!” added General Matajente. “Now I think we have them. The
road is straight to the Rimac, then follows along its bank for ten
miles, and after that comes a bridle-path up the hills. Forward! Not too
fast, señores! Easy with the horses for a few minutes, then we’ll let
them out!”

They rode close. No words were exchanged; the only sounds were the
hoof-beats and the hoarse breathing of the horses. The speed was
increased gradually, General Matajente setting the pace, and soon the
gnarled cacti and dwarf shrubs of the pampas country seemed to pass them
by as do objects seen from the window of a train. A half hour of this
riding brought a mass of vegetation in sight ahead: rows of bamboos,
palms, and willows. The soil became more fertile; thick, heavy grass,
dotted here and there with yellow lilies, took the place of the dry
vegetation.

They had reached the valley of the Rimac. From the dense underbrush on
each side darted birds; the cries of others sounded. A silver thread
shone between an opening in the woods ahead, and in another minute the
road turned more to the east, commenced to follow the wanderings of the
river, and became no longer level but slightly up grade.

“Halt!” said General Matajente, and when they had drawn rein he added:
“A five minutes’ rest now may be worth a mile of extra speed later.
Everybody dismount! Now let’s lead the animals to the bank and let them
drink. But only a little. Remember, boys, only a swallow or two. Beat
them back if you have to.”

They did as he directed, and had no little trouble restraining the
heated, panting animals; then returned to the road again and waited by
the horses’ sides until the word was given to mount, when they started
once more, convinced that they were on the right track, for all had been
able to see the imprints of hoofs on the roadway.

“The scoundrels didn’t stop to water here,” said General Matajente to
Mr. Dartmoor, when they were riding again. “They probably tried it
farther along and failed, for the banks are too high. I tell you, my
friend, we’ve got them!”

The iron merchant reached out his hand and grasped that which the little
officer had extended. No further words were exchanged, for the father
was too choked for utterance.

Fragrance from heliotrope bushes came to them, borne on the light wind
that swept down from the mountains. The road turned frequently, and at
no time could they see far ahead; it was thrown into shadow in places by
dense grasses, and in others stretched away in clear moonlight. On they
rode, faster and faster, the horses needing very little urging, for they
sprang forward gladly in the clear, cool night. An hour passed without a
word being said by any one, then the silence was broken by the general.

“They should not be far off now. I don’t believe they had over a half
hour’s start, and they do not know how to save their horses. Besides,
the most of the animals they have cannot compare with these. Of course
those which they took from your stables are runners, but all the others
must be ordinary cavalry mounts.”

Mr. Dartmoor nodded his head, to signify that he understood, but he did
not speak.

Still they rode on, sweeping under willows that touched their heads and
shoulders, curving in and out between the bamboo rows, at times near the
river, again several rods from the bank, following the winding road that
by this time had narrowed so that only two could ride abreast, and was
increasing in up grade. They had passed through an unusually long
stretch of forest and had emerged into an equally long reach of roadway,
lighted by the moon, which was still about two hours high—for it was
nearly midnight—when General Matajente yelled:—

“There they are!” and pointed to markings straight ahead that at first
looked like tall bushes, indicating another turn, but which a second
glance told were moving.

A burst of speed followed his exclamation, for reins had been loosened,
rowels dug into the horses feverishly, and whips let fall. The pursued
were not a quarter of a mile distant and the pursuers were rapidly
nearing them, for the shadows grew in size. Indeed, they grew so rapidly
that the general looked with care, and then cried sharply, “Halt!”
catching Mr. Dartmoor’s horse by the bridle, throwing both the front
animals almost on their haunches and bringing those behind to a stand.

“What do you mean?” exclaimed the iron merchant, angrily. He had drawn
his revolver.

“You must not fire. Remember the girls are with them.”

Mr. Dartmoor replaced the weapon in his pocket. “But why do we stop?” he
asked.

“They have stopped. And see, one of the band is coming to meet us. They
want to parley. Let me speak with him, will you?”

“Yes, yes, and pardon me, general.”

The little officer rode ahead a few paces, and Señor Cisneros moved up
to Mr. Dartmoor’s side, then all pressed closer.

A man clad in a ragged uniform came riding slowly from the group beyond.

“Well, what is it, fellow?” said the officer.

“General Matajente!” The tone showed the surprise felt by the bandit,
but noticing the small numbers behind the intrepid warrior, he regained
courage and said insolently:—

“Our captain wants money.”

“Who, pray, is your captain?”

“Captain Alfred. He sends word that the señoritas must be paid for.”

“If I did right, I would shoot you down, you dog.”

“Then they would kill the señoritas.”

“And what would happen to the murderers?”

The bandit shrugged his shoulders. “We are forty and you are six,” he
said.

“So many as that!” General Matajente was heard to murmur; then aloud he
said, “What do you propose?”

“The captain wants twenty thousand pesos (dollars), señor commandante,
and he will release the señoritas unharmed.”

“And if he is refused?”

The bandit drew his hand across his throat significantly.

“Stop!” implored Señor Cisneros, seizing Mr. Dartmoor’s bridle rein.

“Twenty thousand dollars! You don’t suppose we’ve anywhere near that sum
at our command!”

“Our captain says that you can get it, señor commandante. He knows of
the gold mine.”

“But even if we could get the money, it would take a long time. Will you
return the señoritas to us if we promise to pay?”

“I will ask the captain,” was the answer, and the man rode back. He soon
returned. “No, señor commandante. The captain will keep the señoritas,
and they will be taken to our camp near Chosica. He promises they will
be unharmed if you will do what he says.”

“What is that?”

“Return to Callao, secure the money, then two of you, not more, come to
Chosica twenty-four hours from now. We shall be able to see you
approaching a mile away. If more than two come, it will be useless, for
no one will appear; but if you do as the captain says, the señoritas
will be delivered to you.”

“That can never be!” exclaimed Mr. Dartmoor. “Twenty-four hours in those
rascals’ hands! The girls had better be dead. Let’s advance, general.”

“Please don’t interfere,” urged the officer. Then to the bandit he said,
“What do you suppose will happen to you later?”

“_Quien sabe?_” (who knows) and he shrugged his shoulders again. “We
shall have the money.”

Harvey pushed forward his horse just then to the side of General
Matajente, and began to whisper earnestly in his ear. After a few
minutes the officer said:—

“This young man wishes to return with you and reassure his sister and
her companion. Will you take him?”

“What answer shall I give the captain?”

“That depends upon whether the señoritas are unharmed and whether you do
what we ask. When the boy returns you come with him and we will give the
reply.”

“Very well, señor commandante. I can see no harm in that,” and wheeling
his horse he went back over the road, with the boy following.

As soon as they were out of earshot General Matajente said earnestly:—

“When they return, hold your horses ready for a sudden dash. Draw your
revolvers, but keep them concealed.”

“What do you propose?” asked Señor Cisneros.

“I do not understand clearly myself, as yet. Harvey has formed some
plan, and will tell more when he has seen his sister and Señorita
Caceras!”

The lad had indeed thought of a way to outwit the bandits. It came to
him suddenly, and was not fully matured even when he started from
General Matajente’s side, but as he rode on he saw more clearly, and his
heart beat fast and the blood surged to his cheeks. “If they are only
mounted on Nigger and Tom,” he thought. “If they only——”

His guide stopped further reflection by the sharp command, “Wait here,
while I ride on,” and Harvey reined in his horse under an ironwood tree,
about fifty yards from the group, which could now be seen distinctly
ahead.

The envoy evidently conferred with the leader, for after a few minutes
another voice called out, “Ride up! quick now!” and the boy urged his
horse forward. He was permitted to approach within a few feet, and there
he saw his sister and her friend, both mounted on horses and seated
astride.

“Thank God!” he thought, “Rosita is on Nigger and Bella is on Tom.”

The girls were not bound, nor were they gagged, but forming a semicircle
behind and at the sides of them, partly in the road and partly in the
long grass, were a dozen mounted bandits, revolvers shining in their
hands. The girls were very pale, but did not appear to have been injured
in any way. They looked like ghosts there in the moonlight, clad in the
white dresses they had donned for the evening at Chucuito. They were
strangely silent, and the only greeting given Harvey was with their
wild, staring eyes.

The man who had called out rode from the centre, and Harvey saw that he
was Alfred, the discharged servant.

“Want to speak with your sister, eh, boy? Well, you can. They’re all
right. Yes, you may answer,” he added, turning to the girls. “You see,
we told them we’d blow their brains out if they said anything.”

“Oh, Harvey! Save us! Save us! Isn’t papa coming?”

“It will be all right, Rosita,” the boy answered nervously. “Have you
been hurt?”

“No, not much. My side pains me, for I was lifted suddenly into the
saddle.”

“How are you, Bella?”

The Peruvian girl, who had not yet spoken, answered hurriedly and
somewhat wildly, “It’s horrible! horrible!”

Harvey gained control of himself by an effort, and said: “We’re going to
get you out of this all right. Don’t worry any more. I’ve got to go now.
Keep up your courage.”

As he turned his horse, the bandit who had been an envoy rode out from
the bushes to his side.

“One moment,” said the leader, and Harvey drew rein.

“You can tell your father and the others that the girls are in front and
we propose to keep them there. If any of you fire, they will be hit
first. Now go back, and I think you will advise the old gentleman to
pay.”

On the return trip Harvey continued saying to himself, “Rosita is on
Nigger and Bella on Tom.”

“How are they, my son?” called Mr. Dartmoor, as soon as the two were
within hailing distance.

“They have not been hurt,” replied the boy, who then rode rapidly to the
side of General Matajente.

“The captain wants his answer, señor commandante,” exclaimed the bandit.

“Just a minute; wait till I hear the lad’s report.”

Meanwhile Harvey had been whispering rapidly: “The girls are on our
horses, Rosita on Louis’s and Bella on mine. They are the swiftest
horses in Chucuito. Both are several steps in advance of the men, and no
one is touching them. They are good riders. Shall I do it?”

“Yes, and God help you. Quick now!”

The boy swung his horse round, and rising from his saddle yelled at the
top of his voice:—

“_Coo-ee! Coo-ee!_”

It was a call used by brothers and sister. When out riding, if they
became separated and wished to attract one another’s attention, this was
their signal. It meant to hurry as well.

“_Coo-ee! Coo-ee!_”

Horses had learned the call, as well as the boys and the girl. The
animals always pricked their ears and started toward the sound when it
rang out.

“_Coo-ee! Coo-ee!_”

A sharp ring of hoofs; a scream from up the road—a scream, the
intonation of which showed that the one who gave vent to it understood.

Quick as a flash General Matajente wheeled his horse, dashed up to the
solitary bandit, and gave him a blow on the head with the butt of his
revolver that caused the man to reel and fall from his saddle.

“Open ranks there!” called the general. “Let the girls through!”

Two black streaks, bearing fluffy burdens of white, were moving swiftly
down the moonlit road, followed several yards behind by a dense mass,
from which came cries and yells.

“Close in after the girls, Dartmoor and Cisneros!” ordered the little
officer. “Carl and Louis go next! Harvey, stay with me!”

On came Nigger and Tom, gaining with every stride of their magnificent
limbs; on into their midst and through them, down the road, and as they
went the two men and two boys followed and covered the retreat.

“Fire!” called General Matajente, who had taken his revolver from a
saddle pouch. Two shots rang out, one from his weapon and one discharged
by Harvey. A man fell from the front rank of those who pursued, a horse
toppled over, and there was confusion in the mass.

“Now ride for it!” called the general, and off the two started, down the
road, following the others.

Soon cries came again from the rear, horses at a gallop were heard, and
an intermittent firing began. But the bandits were riding hard and their
aim was poor.

[Illustration: “Two black streaks, bearing fluffy burdens of white, were
moving swiftly down the moonlit road.”]

“On with you!” exclaimed General Matajente, digging spurs into his
horse. “Ah! What’s that?” and he pointed to a dense mass ahead of them,
ahead even of the girls and their escorts, a mass that was coming
forward swiftly. “Cavalry! The commandante of Santa Rosa fort! He said
that he would follow.”

It was indeed a squadron, and the ranks opened to let the fugitives pass
through, then re-formed with General Matajente at the head. The bandits,
not seeing the increased force because of a turn in the road, came on
wildly, and were met by a withering volley from carbines. There was a
short, sharp struggle, and in five minutes twenty men lay dead or
wounded on the ground, and a score more had been made prisoners.

Then all rode back to Callao, Rosita still on Nigger, close by her
father’s side, while Bella Caceras, on Tom, had Louis and Harvey as
escorts.



                              CHAPTER XXI.
                         OLD GLORY IN THE BAY.

                      “The star-spangled banner,
                      O long may it wave!
                      O’er the land of the free
                      And the home of the brave.”


General Matajente and Señor Cisneros acted as hosts one afternoon, a
week after the stirring events related in the last two chapters, and
entertained as guests at luncheon those who were about to undertake the
overland journey north. The tables were set in the grand salle of the
big hotel on the tip of La Punta.

The truce agreed upon by the commanders of the land and sea forces would
end with the going down of the sun on the morrow, and it was expected
that warlike operations would be renewed with vigor. This meant active
work for the general, and as his friends would leave for the States
within twenty-four hours, he had suggested this means of bidding
farewell.

Don Isaac was also there, and so were Señor and Señora Caceras and
Bella. The latter would, of course, remain in Peru; at least everybody
thought they would remain, until, immediately after rising from the
table, Mr. Dartmoor announced that he had persuaded Señor Caceras to
send his wife and daughter to the States with them. There was much
rejoicing among the young people at this, for they had been drawn very
close by the perils through which they had passed.

“I don’t see how it is possible for me to get ready,” said the señora.

“Try,” urged Mrs. Dartmoor. “I will help you to-night and to-morrow
morning.”

“I would advise you to make the journey, madam,” said Don Isaac “Your
daughter does not seem to have been well since her exciting experience.”

“No, she has not, and I suppose the journey, especially the sea voyage,
would be of great benefit.”

“Indeed it will,” assented Mrs. Dartmoor. “Rosita also needs a change.
She has become very nervous. For that matter, I think we have all been
somewhat upset by these trying times. I wish your husband could
accompany us.”

“I may be able to do so, at least as far as Panama,” he said.

“Then I shall go,” said Señora Caceras.

Bella brightened at this, and Harvey, who had appeared somewhat worried
when the conversation had taken a doubtful tone, exclaimed in
unromantic, but no less hearty, tones, “Isn’t that bully!”

“General Matajente, I wish that you could go,” said Mrs. Dartmoor.

“Duty, señora, compels me to remain.”

“And you, Señor Cisneros?”

“I must return to Huari.”

From the large salle in which luncheon had been served they went to the
broad veranda above, where there were many chairs, and from where they
could enjoy the beautiful view of the bay, the seacoast city beyond, and
Lima in the distance.

Both Carl and his father felt a twinge of sadness when they saw the
suite of rooms where they had passed so many happy months before Mrs.
Saunders had returned to the States with Harold, but this was followed
by the glad thought that they would soon be speeding north, homeward
bound.

While the adults drew chairs near the centre of the broad balcony, the
young people walked to the end, from where they could command a better
view of the bay and also of San Lorenzo.

“Oh, those were happy days when we could row over there in the practice
boats!” exclaimed Louis, pointing to the big island.

“Are not these days happy, sir?” asked Bella Caceras.

“Y-e-s,” he stammered, somewhat confused. “You know, I meant——”

“Well, what did you mean?” she demanded laughingly.

“It was a different kind of happiness,” said Harvey, coming to the
rescue.

“You said that very prettily; didn’t he, Rosita?”

“Yes, he did. But tell the honest truth, boys, where would you rather
be—out in the bay, or talking with us here, on the veranda?”

“Here,” replied Carl.

“So I say,” Louis replied.

“And you, Harvey?”

“I would rather be out in the bay, and have you girls with us.”

At this they all laughed heartily.

“Look, there’s another ship coming to join the fleet!” exclaimed the
youngest lad, pointing seaward; and they saw a seventh vessel farther
out, heading toward the six that composed the blockading squadron.

“It was there that you were capsized, was it not?” asked Bella of Louis.

“Yes, just off the end of San Lorenzo, near where the _Blanco Encalada_
is cruising. My! Carl, but that was an anxious evening! I don’t believe
I ever told you how frightened I was during the hours that we clung to
the overturned cat-boat.”

“No, and I never told you. I think we kept one another’s courage up,
don’t you?”

“Yes I’m sure we did.”

“Let’s leave this place,” said Harvey, “and go where the others are. It
makes me homesick to look out over the bay.”

“Why?” asked the girls.

“Because the ships are all gone. It’s like going through a house where
everybody is dead.”

“Ugh! what a comparison!”

Captain Saunders was talking when they came near, and they drew up
chairs and listened. He had been telling those near him of a lonely six
months he had passed in Nicaragua, soon after the close of the war, when
he had been compelled to remain in that country as an attaché to the
United States legation.

“I had not been long married,” he was saying, “and had left Mrs.
Saunders and Carl in the States, for there was no steamship
communication then, and the voyage to many parts of the Central American
coast was made in sailing vessels. It was a very lonely life, there were
few congenial spirits, and the one or two who were companionable were as
homesick as I. On three occasions I was sorely tempted to go on board a
steamer and sail for New York, and it is curious to note how old
associations influenced me at such times.”

“How was that?” inquired Don Isaac.

“The first,” said the captain, “occurred one hot afternoon while I was
lying in a hammock under a cypress tree. It was a very oppressive day
and I was endeavoring to sleep, when suddenly from somewhere came the
notes of violin music. Somebody was playing, ‘Maryland, my Maryland.’
The air at once brought before my mind the two years I had passed at
college in northern Ohio, for one of my old fraternity songs had been
set to this music. I saw the fresh green campus, bordered with maples,
the gray weather-stained dormitories, the red brick gymnasium, and
before me passed one after another of my old college friends. An
irresistible longing came to rise and hurry to the land where they
lived, away from that land of strangers.”

“And the second time?” asked Señor Cisneros.

“Was one night while lying awake and tortured with fever I heard the
strains of ‘Home, Sweet Home.’ Then came a picture of my wife and child,
of the wooden house, opposite the Episcopal church, in the little
village where I had left them. I could see the yard, the well-sweep,
yes, and I could hear the wooden roller creak as the bucket was hauled
from the cool depths; and in my longing I believe I called out for some
of that cold, crystal water which I had drunk when a boy.”

“The third?”

“The third,” said Captain Saunders, sitting upright, “was at Greytown,
or San Juan del Norte, on a Christmas day. I was looking out into the
bay when there rounded a cape and steamed in full view a ship of
graceful lines, and I saw fluttering from her gaff——”

“Oh, father!” interrupted Carl. “A man-of-war is coming into the
harbor!”

They all jumped to their feet, and hastened to the end of the veranda.

“There,” said the captain, “there’s the picture I saw. Look! The stars
and stripes! An American war-ship has arrived.”

It was so. A cruiser, of graceful lines and tapering masts, was moving
slowly over the passive waters of the bay, and streaming from her
halyards was Old Glory. They watched her in silence as she steamed to a
point opposite Chucuito, where the anchor was let go, and then the
stillness of the afternoon was broken by the discharge of cannon as her
forward guns fired a salute to the Peruvian flag that had been broken at
the fore truck.

“That must be the _Pensacola_,” said Harvey.

“Yes, and Brown is her captain,” Captain Saunders exclaimed.

“Why has she come here, do you suppose?” asked Mr. Dartmoor.

“To take Americans and other foreigners to the north before a general
bombardment is begun. Brown has probably received word that Chile
contemplates aggressive action, and he has come to our rescue. Dartmoor,
our overland journey need not be undertaken. We can sail north in an
American man-of-war.”

A half hour later they left the hotel and went by the little train, some
to Chucuito and others to Callao. While walking to the station, Bella
Caceras, who had been very quiet ever since the advent of the
_Pensacola_, stepped to Captain Saunders’s side and said to him:—

“I’m so sorry. No, not exactly sorry, because I’m glad for your sake,
but I’m sorry for ours.”

“Sorry about what, young lady?”

“That mamma and I cannot go to the United States.”

“But why can’t you go?”

“You said, didn’t you, that the war vessel would take away Americans and
other foreigners? We are Peruvians.”

“Bless my heart!” ejaculated the captain, “if you look at old Brown only
half as wistfully as you do at me, he will not only take you, but will
surrender his cabin for your occupancy. Of course you will go, if any of
us do. I promise that.”

Whereat Bella became happy again, and ran to the side of her mother and
father, to whom she told the good news.

That evening the American consul sent word to the members of the foreign
colony that Captain Brown of the _Pensacola_ would take all citizens of
the United States on board the _Pensacola_ on the morrow and carry them
to Panama, and that he extended like invitations to other non-combatants
who wished to escape from the beleaguered city.

“The word ‘non-combatant’ applies to you, Miss Bella,” said Captain
Saunders, smiling at the young Peruvian.

He was right. The commander of the cruiser was glad that he could grant
passage to the friends of the Saunders and Dartmoors, and by three
o’clock the next day those who had planned the overland trip were stowed
away, bag and baggage, on the American man-of-war. As she steamed out of
port an hour later, two persons waved good-bys from the Peruvian state
barge, that had been pulled out into the harbor. One was General
Matajente and the other Señor Cisneros.

The war-ship steamed near the _Blanco Encalada_, and through a
speaking-trumpet Captain Brown thanked the admiral for permitting his
entrance into the harbor. Then the course was shaped for the north.

At five o’clock the land was but a blue haze in the distance. Carl,
Louis, and Harvey stood at the stern rail and watched the fading
outlines.

“Good-by, Peru,” said Carl, finally. “I suppose I shall never see you
again.”

“Poor Peru!” exclaimed Louis. “She has been kind to us. I wonder what
her future will be?”

Harvey said nothing, but to him the shore line was even more dim than to
the others, for a mist had formed in his eyes.



                             CHAPTER XXII.
                         DARK DAYS IN INCALAND.


The exodus from Callao was none too soon. The day following the
departure of the _Pensacola_, the Chilean ships steamed close in, and
for forty-eight hours rained shot and shell into Callao. Houses were set
on fire in many quarters, and had it not been for the non-combustible
property of adobe, out of which nearly all buildings were constructed,
the seaport would have been laid in ashes. As it was, some of the finest
residences were riddled, and General Matajente learned with sorrow that
the Dartmoor Row had been partly destroyed.

The castles, the Santa Rosa fort, the guns at Los Baños and those at La
Punta, replied vigorously to the fire, striking the enemy repeatedly and
ultimately driving them out of range. But the cruiser _Angamos_, armed
with her powerful rifle, could stand out in the harbor where no shot
could reach her, and throw shell after shell into the town. The screech
of these missiles was heard night and day; it became horrible but
familiar music, and men, yes even women, slept of nights while the
projectiles were speeding on their way to give destruction and perhaps
death at their journey’s end.

August, September, and October of 1880 passed, and no move to the north
was made by the Chilean land forces. Envoys from the United States had
arrived in Callao, and others had gone on to Chile. They came with
proposals of arbitration and the expression of hope that peace would
ultimately result. They came instructed to do all in their power to
settle the difficulties between the republics, and they also told Chile
that she must not demand territory from Peru as the price of peace.
While these negotiations were pending aggressive operations ceased, and
although the blockade of Callao was maintained, there were no
bombardments.

But Chile resented interference by the United States, and particularly
the insistence that no territory should be demanded from Peru. For years
she had had eyes fixed on the rich nitrate beds of the Tarapacá
Province—the richest in the world, and finally the government of the
southern republic announced that Peru and her ally, Bolivia, must yield
this district or Chilean armies would march on Lima.

Protests were in vain. November brought the news that army corps were
being mobilized in Valparaiso and in the captured city, Arica. Early in
December came the information that three great divisions, numbering
twenty-five thousand men in all, had embarked on transports and were
sailing north. A week later a fleet of nearly fifty ships appeared off
the Peruvian coast, a few miles south of Callao, and under cover of the
guns of all the vessels of Chile’s navy, men-of war coming from the
south and the others being withdrawn from blockade duty, this great
force was landed.

Peru met the blow as best she could. Her army, which had deteriorated
during the long inactivity, went into line with forebodings of disaster.
The troops under the red, white, and red disputed every foot of ground
between the capital and the sea, fighting fiercely at Chorillos,
Miraflores, and San Juan, but they could not beat back the enemy; they
were defeated and routed, and Christmas day saw the Chileans in Lima.

But the Peruvian army had not yet yielded, although the enemy had taken
possession of the capital; the troops had withdrawn to the north, and
from there they continued to wage war. Several attempts were made by the
United States to bring about a peace, overtures to arbitrate were
frequently advanced; but to all Chile turned a deaf ear, and insisted
that the demands made in 1880, that the nitrate provinces be
surrendered, must be met before the troops would be withdrawn.

For three years this desperate, one-sided struggle continued, and then
Peru, compelled to purchase peace at any price or lose her individuality
as a nation, made the best terms she could. Bolivia yielded all her
rights on the seacoast, and Chile secured the port of Antofogasta
forever. Peru yielded the province of Tarapacá, and by the final treaty,
signed in 1884, she gave to Chile for a term of years the provinces of
Arica and Tacna, it being agreed that in 1893 a vote of the people
should be taken, to determine to what power they wished ultimately to
belong.

Thus the land of the Incas emerged from its second overwhelming
defeat—the first at the hands of Pizarro’s forces; the second at the
hands of the Chileans.



                             CHAPTER XXIII.
               AN APPEAL TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.


The dawn of the twentieth century found Peru recovering from the
financial depression which had followed the war, but still far from the
position which she had held before 1879. It also found her knocking at
the door of the great republic of the north, and asking that a
protecting arm be extended below the equator, and that certain promises
made years before be fulfilled.

In the whirl that marked the last days of the nineteen-hundredth term,
the land of the Incas had been lost temporarily from view. Peru’s
ancient enemy, Spain, had occupied the central position, and at the
hands of the vigorous northern country had received even a more bitter
defeat than that given her on the west coast of South America when the
countries there had wrested their independence. The Philippine Islands
had changed in their allegiance, so had Porto Rico, Guam, Tutuila, and
Hawaii, and Cuba had become independent.

All these events had overshadowed that which had happened and was
happening on the Western Hemisphere to the south. But when the clouds of
conflict cleared away, there came into view a shade on the southern
horizon that told of trouble there. Peru was seen gesturing and asking
to be heard. Permission granted, this is what she said:—

“Twenty years ago we were at war with Chile, not through any fault of
ours, but to save our southern provinces from being taken away from us.
Several times during the early stages of that conflict we had
opportunity to make honorable peace, and each time we were deterred
because of the word that you sent us, to the effect that exorbitant
terms made by the enemy should not be listened to, and that you, with
your great force, would prevent any seizure of our territory. We
listened and took heart. We continued the struggle and waited. Internal
affairs withdrew your attention from us, and we were left to do the best
that we could. The best proved the worst. Our richest lands were seized,
and other land, almost as valuable, was taken for a number of years,
upon a promise made that it would be returned. That promise has not been
kept. We have paid Chile more indemnity than was paid by France after
the Franco-German War, and still our southern neighbor insists upon the
pound of flesh and demands complete cession of the provinces of Arica
and Tacna in addition to Tarapacá. Therefore, we appeal to you, to the
United States of America, the mother of all republics, and ask that you
insist that justice be done.”

                  *       *       *       *       *

It was a beautiful afternoon in early spring of the year that was the
most prosperous in United States history. A man of about thirty-six or
seven years of age was hurrying along Pennsylvania Avenue, not looking
carefully to his steps, nor minding how carriages might be approaching
at street crossings, so occupied was he with his thoughts. He was warned
by several coachmen and hailed by one or more bicyclists, while the
driver of an automobile rang his gong loudly before he dodged from in
front of the rubber-tired wheels. Finally he ran squarely into another
man, and then came to a sudden stop, for he must needs beg pardon. But
as he lifted his hat he caught sight of the person’s face and
exclaimed:—

“Carl Saunders!”

“Harvey Dartmoor!”

They grasped hands warmly. “Why, we have not met since we left the
steamer at New York in 1880.”

“That’s so. More than twenty years ago. In many things it seems like
yesterday and in others a century. What are you doing in Washington,
Carl?”

“I came on for a day, to attend to some business for father. And you,
Harvey?”

“I live here. At least I have a home here, and pass half the time; the
remainder of each year I am in Peru. In fact, I am returning the day
after to-morrow. That reminds me, Carl, I have a very important
engagement at the White House.”

“With the President?”

“Yes, with the President. He has appointed two o’clock as the hour when
I may see him, and it now lacks but five minutes of that time.”

“Then I must not detain you. Come and see me when you have finished.”

“I will. Where?”

Mr. Saunders named a hotel, and after a brief hand clasp they parted.

Ten minutes later, in the White House, a dignified, courtly gentleman
asked the hurrying pedestrian of Pennsylvania Avenue to be seated, and
then he said:—

“Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. Dartmoor?”

“Yes, your Excellency.”

“The Peruvian minister has spoken very highly of you, sir, as one of the
leading business men of his country. He also informs me that you are a
citizen of the United States, and despite your love for the
sub-equatorial country you have never forsworn your allegiance.”

“I have not, sir; nor shall I ever do so.”

“That I am glad to hear. It should not be an easy matter for a citizen
of this nation to relinquish the ties. And now, sir, what may I do for
you?”

“I have called, your Excellency, to place before you briefly the
conditions that exist in Peru, and the causes that have led to the
present state of affairs, and to enlist your sympathy, if possible. I
was a spectator of many events of the war that began in 1879, and, since
then, half my time has been passed in Lima and in Callao. If you will
grant me a few minutes of your valuable time, I will say in as few words
as possible that which appeals to me as the meat of this momentous
question.”

“Proceed, sir.”

“I thank you. I will not burden you with the events that led to the
declaration of war, nor with an account of the war itself, for that is
not germane, but I shall come at once to the time when the United States
entered upon the scene.

“In 1880 President Hayes offered the mediation of the United States to
the belligerents, and the same being accepted, conferences were held in
Arica under the auspices of the representatives of the United States in
Chile, Peru, and Bolivia, Thomas A. Osborne, J. P. Christiancy, and
General Charles Adams. Mr. Osborne declared, in his opening speech, that
the independence of the United States was the origin of republican
institutions in America, and that the United States considered
themselves in a manner responsible for the existence of the
institutions; that the independence of the South American republics was
acknowledged, first of all, by the United States, and the stability of
the institutions founded upon the independence, being put to a severe
test by the war, he hoped the belligerent republics, impelled by the
same wish that animated the United States, would endeavor, by every
means in their power, to put an end to the war, by an honorable and
lasting peace. To this Chile replied haughtily, that the province of
Tarapacá must be ceded to her; and the first conference came to an end.

“On June 15, 1881, new ministers were chosen to represent the United
States in the belligerent republics, General Stephen A. Hurlbut in Peru
and General Judson Kilpatrick in Chile. To General Hurlbut, Secretary of
State James G. Blaine gave the following instructions:—

“’It will be difficult, perhaps, to obtain from Chile a relinquishment
of claims to territory, but, as the Chilean Government has distinctly
repudiated the idea that this war was a war of conquest, the Government
of Peru may fairly claim the opportunity to make proposals of indemnity
and guarantee before submitting to a cession of territory. If you can
aid the Government of Peru in securing such a result, you will have
rendered the service which seems most pressing.’

“On August 25, 1881, General Hurlbut said, in the course of his
reception speech at Lima:—

“’I wish to state further, that while the United States recognize all
rights which the conqueror gains under the laws of civilized war, they
do not approve of war for the purpose of territorial aggrandizement, nor
of the violent dismemberment of a nation except as a last resort, in
extreme emergencies.’

“But, your Excellency, the efforts of General Hurlbut and General
Kilpatrick came to naught, and on November 1, 1881, Mr. William Henry
Trescot was sent to Peru, Bolivia, and Chile, as a special envoy. To
him, in the course of his instructions, Mr. Blaine said:—

“’Already by force of its occupation, the Chilean Government has
collected great sums from Peru; and it has been openly and officially
asserted in the Chilean Congress that these military impositions have
furnished a surplus beyond the cost of maintaining its armies of
occupation. The annexation of Tarapacá, which, under proper
administration, would yield annually a sufficient sum to pay a large
indemnity, seems to us inconsistent with the execution of justice.’

“Mr. Trescot’s mission failed as had the others, but, your Excellency,
it did not fail through any fault of his: it failed because of the
change in the policy at Washington. While this special envoy was absent
upon his delicate mission, the assassination of President Garfield
occurred and Mr. Arthur became President. With his advent there came
into office a new Secretary of State, Mr. Frelinghuysen, who at once
altered the policy of his predecessor, and Mr. Trescot’s instructions
were changed by wire. In the meanwhile, your Excellency, Peru, not
knowing of a change of heart at Washington, had continued the struggle,
believing that this great country would continue upon the lines which it
had laid down and not permit the seizure of territory by Chile. Not
content with modifying Mr. Trescot’s instructions, Mr. Frelinghuysen
recalled that gentleman to Washington. Fully appreciating the gravity of
the situation, although he was no longer an envoy, Mr. Trescot, on June
5, 1882, wrote Mr. Frelinghuysen as follows:—

“’If the United States intend to intervene effectively to prevent the
disintegration of Peru, the time has come when that intention should be
avowed. If it does not intend to do so, still more urgent is the
necessity that Chile and Peru should understand exactly where the action
of the United States ends. It would be entirely beyond my duty to
discuss the character of the consequences of either line of conduct; but
I trust that you will not deem that I am going beyond that duty in
impressing upon the government that the present position of the United
States is an embarrassment to all the belligerents, and that it should
be terminated as promptly as possible.’

“Two weeks later, your Excellency, newly accredited envoys were sent to
Peru and Chile, Dr. Cornelius A. Logan to the latter nation and Mr.
James R. Partridge to Peru. The instructions of these gentlemen, your
Excellency, were no longer declarative that Chile had no moral right to
demand territory of Peru, but they contained the recommendation that
Peru be urged to make the best terms possible, in order that the war
might be brought to an end.

“Mr. President, the good offices of the United States produced the sole
effect of encouraging Peru in her resistance, confident, as she was, of
their efficacy, thus greatly aggravating the condition of the vanquished
nation, only to find herself forsaken in the end and defenceless in the
hands of her implacable enemy. In this regard, Mr. President, I should
like to repeat the words of Mr. Hurlbut. In his official note to Mr.
Blaine, dated Lima, October 26, 1881, he wrote:—

“’If the United States, after denying to these people every application
for aid from any European state, shall themselves refuse any help in
their desperate situation, it would seem to be almost a breach of
national faith. I myself am a profound believer in the right and duty of
the United States to control the political questions of this continent,
to the exclusion of any and all European dictation. This I understand to
be the opinion held also by the American people and to have been
asserted by Congress. This I also understand to be the doctrine of the
administration which sent me to this place.’”

The President was silent for several minutes after Mr. Dartmoor had
finished, then he said:—

“You have placed the matter before me very concisely, sir. I am of
course familiar with the details, but I never had my attention called to
them in such a brief yet forceful manner.”

“Thank you, your Excellency,” said Mr. Dartmoor.

“Your position,” continued the President, “is that the United States, by
interfering in the Chile-Peruvian War, gave the last-named nation undue
encouragement, and because of a change in policy, failed to impress
Chile with the firmness of its position. Because of this, you believe
the United States should now interfere and prevent Chile’s retention of
the provinces of Arica and Tacna?”

“Yes, your Excellency.”

“Mr. Dartmoor, I will place the matter before Congress with the
recommendation which you have urged.”

He rose from his seat, and the conference was at an end.

Harvey left the White House very much pleased with the result of his
call, and hurried to the hotel where he had promised to meet his old
friend, Carl Saunders; and arrived there, he related in detail the
conversation with the President, and received the congratulations of his
chum of the Callao Rowing Club days. Then they fell to discussing events
that had occurred those many years ago, and talked of the persons they
had then known. Both heard with relief that all members of the two
families who had been so intimately associated were living. Carl was
delighted to learn that General Matajente was high in favor with the
government, and as belligerent as ever, notwithstanding his advanced
years.

“And John Longmore?” he asked.

“Poor fellow! he died in an insane asylum.”

“How is Señor Cisneros?”

“He is very well, and is resident manager of the mine.”

“That’s so, the mine! I forgot to ask about that. Then it has paid?”

“Yes, it has paid beyond our expectations, and has made us all wealthy,
so far as worldly goods are concerned. But what are we doing here? I
wish to have you visit me at my home.”

“I should be delighted. Is it far?”

“No; on Q street. Come. Rosita, who is visiting me, will be delighted to
see you.”

On the way Carl asked if Harvey had ever heard of their esteemed friend,
Don Isaac Lawton.

“Why, yes; he is in Jamaica, and is in good circumstances.”

They soon entered one of those large, elegantly furnished residences for
which Washington is famous, and after closing the door Harvey called
out:—

“Rosita, here is an old friend from Callao!”

A tall, handsome woman soon appeared, and grasped the visitor’s hand
cordially. She was followed into the room by one who was not so tall,
but even more beautiful and graceful.

“This is my wife, Carl. But, how stupid! Why, you know her!”

“Know her? Know Bella Caceras? I should say so!”

At the dinner table the guest remarked a curious ornament on the wall.

“Did I never tell you its history?” Harvey asked. “To be sure I did.
It’s the Majerona arrow.”

“And the pincushion?” asked Carl.

“I still carry that in my pocket.”



                              VOCABULARY.


PRONUNCIATION.—ā, ē, ī, ō, as in fate, mete, site, rope; ă, ĕ, ĭ, ŏ, as
in hat, met, bit, not; ä, ë, ï, ö, as in far, her, fir, nor; ēē, as in
feet; ôô as in hoot.

  Alma Perdida, Äl’-mä Pār-dēē’-dä.
  Almirante, Äl-mē-rän’-tē.
  Antofogasta, An-tō-fō-gäs’-tä.
  Arica, Ä-rēē’-cä.
  Arroba, Ä-rō’-bä.
  Atahuallpa, Ä-tä-wäl’-pä.
  Ayuli, Ä-yôô’-ly.
  Baños, Bän’-yōs.
  Bella, Bë’-yä.
  Blanco Encalada, Blän’-cō Ën-cä-lä’-dä.
  Bola, Bō’-läw.
  Caceras, Käs’-ä-räs.
  Cajamaráca, Kä-hä-mä-rä’-cä.
  Callao, Käl-yōw’.
  Cerro de Pasco, Sār’-rō dā Päs’-kō.
  Chicla, Chēēk’-lä.
  Chile, Chēē’-lā.
  Chirimoya, Chēē-rēē-möy’-yä.
  Chosica, Chō-sēē’-cä.
  Chucuito, Chôô-quēē’-tō.
  Cinchona, Sēēn-kō’-nä.
  Cisneros, Cēēs-nē’-rŏs.
  Cordillera, Cōr-dēēl-yā’-rä.
  Covodonga, Kō-vō-dŏn’-gä.
  Grau, Gräw.
  Huari, Whä’-rēē.
  Huascar, Wäs’-cär.
  Independencia, In-dā-pĕn-dĕn’-cēē-ä.
  Iquique, Ēē-kēē’-kä.
  Islay, Ēēs-lī’.
  Jivaro, Hēē-vä,’-rō.
  La Punta, Lä Pôôn’-tä.
  Lima, Lēē’-mä.
  Llama, Yä’-mä.
  Logroño, Lō-grōn’-yō.
  Majerona, Mä-hā-rō’-nä.
  Manco Capac, Män’-cō Kä-päc’.
  Marañon, Mä-rän-yōn’.
  Matajente, Mä-tä-gĕn’-tā.
  Matucana, Mä-tôô-kän’-ä.
  Mirgoso, Mēēr-gō’-sō.
  Mutista Acuminata, Mu-tēē’-sēē-ä Ä-q-mēē-nä’-tä.
  Oroya, Ō-rōw’-yä.
  Palo de Sangre, Pä,’-lō dā Sän’-grā.
  Pedro, Pā’-drō.
  Peru, Pā-rôô’.
  Peso, Pā’-sö.
  Pilcomayo, Pēēl-cō-mī-yō.
  Prado, Prä’-dō.
  Rimac, Rēē’-mäck.
  Rosita, Rō-sēē’-tä.
  Señor, Sĕn-yṓr.
  Señora, Sĕn-yō’-rä.
  Señorita, Sĕn-yō-rḗē-tä.
  Taruco, Tä-ru’-kō.
  Ucalayli, U-cä-lä’-lēē.
  Valparaiso, Väl-pä-rī’-sō.
  Vista, Vēēs’-tä.
  Yucahualpa, W-kä-whäl’-pä.



                      __Fighting Under
                            the Southern Cross.__

                   A Story of the Chile-Peruvian War.

                                   BY

                          _CLAUDE H. WETMORE_.

       335 pages.      Illustrated.      12mo.      Cloth, $1.50.

       _CONTAINING PRONOUNCING VOCABULARY AND MAP OF CALLAO BAY_

This is one of the best stories for boys that has been issued, and with
great pleasure we heartily recommend it.—_Observer._

This story is full of thrilling interest and dramatic power. The many
picturesque descriptions give a real portrayal of the country and its
people.—_Book News._

This volume is so real that one imagines he is in the centre of action.
This doubtless is due to the author’s thorough acquaintance with the
customs and conditions of these countries.—_St. Louis Star._

Just now when there are so many reminders of the differences existing
between the South American States, and while the influence of the
Pan-American Congress in Mexico is being so strongly felt, this book is
very timely. It is a very vivid picture of the war between Chile and
Peru in 1879, and a portrayal of the customs and manners of these states
that is extremely interesting, and that throws much light on present
problems.—_Christian Endeavor World._

The bitter war of conquest waged by Chile against Peru has never been
given any popular presentation until now. The author is a traveler who
has covered all of South America and was a resident of Peru when the war
broke out. His picture of that period is absorbingly interesting, and
the promised sequel of this volume will be awaited with great
eagerness.—_The Interior._

                W. A. WILDE COMPANY, Boston and Chicago.



      *      *      *      *      *      *



Transcriber's note:

 1. Added the missing word ‘to’ on p. 185.

 2. Silently corrected typographical errors.

 3. Retained anachronistic and non-standard spellings as printed.





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