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   Chapter 20 THE INVASION OF CUBA

Under the Star-Spangled Banner By F. S. Brereton Characters: 31174

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03


"And so you were aboard the Merrimac, and were one of that extraordinarily gallant crew?" said Mr. Brindle, when Hal had at length told all that had befallen himself and Gerald since they left the hacienda to fetch more help from Florida. "Indeed, my lad, it seems to me that you have seen more adventures and more of this war, short though it has been, than anyone else taking a part in it. One thing strikes me forcibly, and that is your determination to return to the hacienda in spite of all difficulties. What made you undertake the task? Consider the frightful risks you ran, for now that you have time to look into the matter, and judge of the dangers that menaced you, you cannot but admit that your life would have paid for it had you been captured. There is not a man in Santiago who would not give you over to the authorities if he happened to recognize you; while, had the military but laid hands upon you, your fate would have been sealed, for they have a score to pay off, and would take good care that you did not outwit them as before."

"I don't know that the danger was so very great," Hal answered quietly. "You see, Mr. Brindle, you have been like a father to me since I lost my own. You gave me a home and employment when I was an outcast and in want, and I should have been an ungrateful cur if I had not endeavored to return your kindness in some way. You sent me on a mission to obtain negroes to defend the plantation, and when I left you, you were in what one would call a very sorry plight. Unfortunately, I happened to fall in with that fellow José d'Arousta, who we all know bears the hacienda and its owners little love. I failed entirely to carry out your wishes, and have naturally been anxious to know how you were doing without the help which you so sorely needed. Once we had given the slip to the Spaniards, I felt certain that they, led by that fellow I mentioned, would do all in their power to discover us, and one of their first actions would certainly be a visit to Eldorado. The consequences might well have been serious, and, as a matter of fact, I have imagined that all sorts of evil things had happened. That is the reason why I have worked hard to get here, for I felt that I must settle the question. As to the risk, well, I admit that it was great, but it is past now, and I can afford to laugh at the adventure. Now, as to why I failed to bring negroes when I sailed to Florida with Gerald. No one, not even the President of the United States, could have chartered a boat to bring them here, for transport is at a premium; and, moreover, the Spaniards watch every foot of the shore. You heard how one poor fellow spotted me in the darkness; what chance, then, had I of landing with a batch of negroes?"

"Not the smallest, my lad. There is no need for an explanation as to why you did not carry out your mission, for we all know by now that what Hal Marchant sets himself to do he does, if it is possible, in spite of all dangers and difficulties. As a matter of fact, I recognized that your hopes were doomed a few days after you had ridden away. And now let me tell you how we have fared. When you awake to-morrow, and go out on to the veranda, you will find that a great change has taken place about the hacienda; for the beautiful Eldorado, of which we were so proud, is now little better than a fort. Bags, in which tobacco leaves are usually kept, have been filled with earth, and arranged outside the walls and in front of every window. A double row protects the top of the veranda, and, better than all, a tall tower surmounts the roof, and looks down upon the clearing. Yes, we have been hard at work, I can assure you. To begin with, while some felled the trees at the edge of the clearing, a few, who could ill be spared, lay out in the forest and plantation, and scouted round to warn us of the approach of the enemy. The remainder worked-well, like the slaves they were once upon a time, or as their fathers and mothers were before them. It is incredible to me even now how they managed as they did; but, within a few days of your departure, our defenses were completed, and not a moment too soon, as I will tell you.

"Not a week had passed when the outposts, which I had stationed away in the forest, brought me word that a mounted party was approaching. I at once concentrated my meager force amongst the trees, and awaited developments. Then, as the strangers drew nearer, I sent forward a white flag and demanded their business, informing them at the same time that I was prepared to resist any violence.

"As you might expect, José d'Arousta was the leader of the gang, and he at once advanced to meet me, as unconcerned and as impudent as ever, and to all appearance careless of the consequences.

"'I carry a warrant here for the arrest of your son, and of his accomplice, the Englishman, se?or,' he said, in his suavest tones, not forgetting at the same moment to lift his hat with a flourish.

"'Indeed,' I answered; 'and for what reason have you been intrusted with such a document?'

"'Pshaw, se?or, you cannot prevaricate with me,' he said disdainfully, and with an aggravating sneer for which I could have struck him. But I was careful to maintain a calm demeanor.

"'Prevaricate!' I retorted. 'Surely José d'Arousta, the would-be thief, is scarcely the man to say that to me. Prevaricate indeed! I will have you know that I do not stoop to telling an untruth, even though a regiment of Spaniards were at my door.'

"At that our old friend lost his temper, for my words touched him on the raw.

"'You are telling an untruth,' he cried. 'You would have me believe that the two for whose arrest I hold a warrant are not here. They are spies, I tell you, and you are aware of it, for you must have sent them into Santiago. That is where they were captured, in the very heart of the town. Deliver them up to me, se?or, or it will be the worse for you.'

"You may guess, my lad, that my heart leapt to my mouth at his words. You and Gerald captured! It was a shock to hear it. Next moment, however, I was comforted by the reflection that, if he now asked for you both to be handed over to him, you must have effected an escape.

"'If they were indeed captured, Se?or José d'Arousta can scarcely want them delivered into his keeping now,' I said quietly; 'and if he does, he should apply to his own countrymen. In any case, the lads are not spies.'

"'Se?or,' he replied hotly, evidently having lost all patience, 'I ask you again to hand them over. Where are they, I say?'

"'And I answer, if you have lost them, find them for yourself. I will give you no help,' I rejoined, in the same calm tones.

"'I will," he cried angrily; 'I will take them now, at this instant, from the hacienda, and then I will do as I promised, and set the place flaring about your ears.'

"'Then you will do so at your peril,' I answered with an easy smile. 'Here are some of my men. See, they are armed, and will fight for me till I tell them to hold their hands. Now, draw back to your set of scoundrels, and do your utmost.'

"'You shall suffer for this, se?or,' he shouted. 'I will shoot every hand on the plantation, and then look to yourself and to the adorable se?ora. Those who attempt to hinder the servants of his Majesty King Alfonso of Spain must pay heavily for their temerity.'

"I bowed haughtily to that, while he withdrew to his men. Then the whole Spanish party put spurs to their animals, and came galloping towards the hacienda. We brought them to their senses at once with a volley, which emptied three of their saddles, sending the men crashing to the ground. A second, equally well aimed, dispersed them, and when they fled back to Santiago it was with their heads held less haughtily in the air. From that day to this I have seen nothing of the pleasant José, nor has the hacienda been attacked by any marauding Spaniards."

"I am very glad to hear it," said Hal, in tones of satisfaction. "Had I known it, I think that I should have waited longer before coming. But anxiety for your safety got the better of my fears. Then, too, I had intended to remain here in case you should need another rifle. But now, with your permission, I will leave the island again and join the Americans. I had no part in this quarrel between the two nations when I left the hacienda, though I admit that my sympathies were strongly inclined to the Yanks; however, my ideas are changed now. But for a lucky escape, Gerald and I should have fallen as spies before the rifles of a file of Spaniards. I seek no revenge for that, but it has made me throw in my lot with your countrymen. I have seen some fighting with them already, and now I hope to act as guide when they invade this part of the island."

"I cannot blame you for your resolution," Mr. Brindle answered. "Until this struggle is settled one way or the other, none of us can return to our usual employment; nor can we feel secure. I thank you, my lad, for all you have done, and particularly for the thought which prompted you to return to us in spite of such difficulties and dangers-dangers, by the way, which would have deterred many a man of more mature years. You find us very well able to look to ourselves, and you have relieved our anxiety as to your own and Gerald's safety. Go, therefore, as soon as you wish, and join the army of invasion. When the war is over, return to us, for here is your home, and here you may be sure of a real welcome."

He reached across the table, and shook Hal heartily by the hand, sending a cup clattering to the ground as he did so. There was no doubt that Hal's devotion had touched him deeply, and the same could also be said of Dora. To hide the tears which would come when she thought of all he had gone through, and of all the dangers he must yet encounter, she knelt on the carpet and commenced to pick up the pieces of broken china that lay scattered there; for Dora was, indeed, very fond of this fine young fellow, who had come into the lives of the hacienda folk in such a curious manner.

"I am glad you agree," said Hal, returning his employer's grip; "and now, as you throw no difficulty in the way, I will prepare to slip from the island again. Of course I shall have to leave when the American fleet is near, and, in any case, I must arrange to join the troops when they reach Cuba."

"Which will be shortly, I fancy," Mr. Brindle said, rising from his seat and going to a bookshelf. "Here are the chief American papers up to a few days ago. I do not pretend to know how they were landed, but I secured them through a native, who is in communication with one of the plantation hands. Evidently President McKinley and his government have been hard at work, for troops, consisting of regulars and volunteers, have been mustering and drilling everywhere. It is of course impossible to create an army in a day, even though you happen to have some thousands as a nucleus. Then, too, transport, engineering, supply, and doctoring are items which cannot be arranged rapidly. It takes weeks, sometimes months, to get these departments to work smoothly, a fact which has only dawned upon our generals and people, and is no small source of worry. Still, much has been done; for under General Miles, who is the Commander-in-chief, chaos has gradually developed into some form of order. Another seventy-five thousand volunteers have been called for to make up the deficiency caused by the necessity of sending troops to the Philippines. Now, I understand from these papers, Chickamauga and Tampa are overflowing with troops, while other camps in various parts of the States are in a similar condition. Transports lie at Key West ready to carry the boys across the sea, and in that vast country everyone is on the tiptoe of excitement at the thought of invasion at last, which no doubt will take place in this neighborhood. The arrival of Cervera's fleet has altered the sphere of action, which is unfortunate enough for Spain, for the bulk of her troops are at Havana, where enormous preparations to resist attack by land or sea have been made by Marshal Blanco. Santiago is even now in a state of famine, and if our troops land near, the town is sure to fall, and the Spanish colors give place to the Star-Spangled banner.

"Now I fancy that you have all the news. Fitzhugh Lee, a veteran of the civil war, is one of our generals, as also is Joseph Wheeler. Theodore Roosevelt has raised and equipped a cavalry regiment, which is likely to lead the Dons a dance, for it is for the most part composed of cowboys. Astor, another patriotic millionaire, has supplied a battery of quick-firers, with men, horses, and equipment complete. Others have come forward with money, and last, but by no means least, American women have commenced to organize hospitals, so as to be ready for the reception of sick and wounded, of whom there must needs be many, particularly of the former, for it must be remembered that swamps are to be found everywhere in this country, and that fever, combined with hardship and exposure, is far more fatal to an invading army than are swarms of bullets and vast masses of the enemy."

This, indeed, is a wholesome truth that it would be well to remember always. An army sent into the field cannot prosper and give a good account of itself unless its more peaceful departments are in a state of perfection. For supposing the transport and supply fail, where would all the hungry men and horses obtain food? Grass can generally be had in abundance for the animals, but even grazing is often scarce. As for the men, they may by great good fortune pick up plenty to keep them going, but the chances are, especially if they have entered the enemy's country, that they will find little, and even then only after a long and fatiguing search, during which they may suffer heavy loss by the fire of the enemy. Therefore, the army which possesses an efficient supply department, following ever upon its heels, will be far more capable of success than an ill-fed force of men, who, after a long day in the field, must perforce wander away to find food. Of no less importance, too, is the medical department. Men who are exposed to hardship and rough work will almost inevitably fall ill, and who is to look after them, and those who are wounded in action, when they are helpless, if organized hospitals, each with an efficient staff, are not attached to the force? Men would die untended by the roadside, while the number of sick would increase by leaps and bounds till they hampered the army, and destroyed all hope of rapid movement, and therefore of success.

Mr.Brindle had given most of the news, and to bring the events of the war up to date it is necessary to add only a little. Fourteen thousand men, together with the new Astor Battery, were sent to San Francisco, and from there, owing to the lamentable want of transports, were conveyed in batches to the scene of operations in and about Manila, in the Philippines. This naturally caused delay, so that many weeks passed before active measures could be taken. This expedition was commanded by General Wesley Merritt.

And now a small but extremely important incident had upset all calculations. Cervera and his fleet had arrived at Santiago, and it was at once necessary that the town and harbor should be subdued, and the fleet destroyed. Admiral Sampson, who, after the Merrimac's adventurous voyage, had made several reconnaissances in force, declared that to rush the entrance was impossible. He cal

led urgently for troops, and General Shafter was at once ordered to hold himself and twenty-six thousand men in readiness to sail from Key West.

Hal stayed at the hacienda for a week, and then he rode away for the coast, still disguised as a Spanish soldier.

Almost every night while at Eldorado he had heard the guns of the American fleet playing upon Santiago and its forts, the noise on two occasions, when the dynamite gunboat, named the Vesuvius, was in action, being prodigious. When he arrived on the seacoast, he at once hid in a big grove of palms.

"From here I ought to be able to get some idea of the movements of the fleet," he said, seating himself upon a rock, and lifting a pair of glasses to his eyes. "It seems as if a landing were intended."

He was not mistaken, for some cruisers were steaming slowly along the coast as if searching for an opening. Suddenly they turned shorewards, and their guns began to fire upon a small fort.

"Now is my chance," thought Hal. "By riding hard I ought to be there in time to join any landing-party that may be sent ashore. They have chosen Daiquiri."

He jumped into his saddle again and cantered off. An hour later he rode boldly down to the shore, to a point from which a small pier projected. A party of American marines had just landed, and Hal found himself at once a prisoner amongst friends.

"Why, who aer this? Come off that 'ere moke!" cried one of the marines, grasping his bridle. "You must be the durndest fool as ever wur, or perhaps you're what's wuss, and that's a cove what goes back on his pards."

"I am nothing of the sort," Hal answered, with a laugh. "I am British born, and American just now for choice. You would do me a great favor if you would drop the point of that bayonet, my friend."

"Wall, that kind er knocks me all ter pieces!" the marine answered, starting back in astonishment, while a roar of laughter burst from his comrades. "A Britisher, and no durned son of a Don after all! At any rate, hop off it right away, and come along slippy. You may be a pard, as yer say; but then yer mayn't. Ef it aer that sort er way, it'll be a case with yer."

He took Hal by the sleeve, and conducted him to the officer in charge of the party, where explanations were soon made and accepted.

"Where are you going now?" the officer asked. "I presume you've come here on purpose?"

"Yes; I wish to get aboard the flagship," Hal answered. "I was there before, and, in fact, only left a week ago, when I managed to get ashore."

"Ah, you did? Then come along right here, sir, and tell us how the Dons are doin'. Then, if you wish it, I'll send you aboard the admiral's ship. But if you'll take my advice, you'll remain with us. We're the advance landing-party."

"I will with pleasure," Hal replied; "and if you wish it, will act as guide."

"That would suit finely. Say, do you know Guantanamo, the port forty miles east of Santiago?"

"Yes; I have been there once. I rode from the hacienda to it, and followed forest paths all the way."

"Then you'll be very useful, for it's there that we're goin' to land. We're here for the night only."

This indeed was the case, and the marines encamped close beside the pier that night, Hal taking up his quarters with them, and making use of the opportunity to borrow a suit of American clothes; for it was no joke being dressed as he was, and running the gantlet of the abundant chaff which his Spanish uniform attracted. We will do him the justice, however, to say that he made a very fine, soldierly looking fellow in his unaccustomed kit, and would have taken first place for size and general air of manliness among the Spaniards quartered in Santiago, or, for the matter of that, in any part of the island.

"You'd get copped as sure as eggs if you met any of the enemy," was the remark which one of the marines made to him. "As soon as you'd put yer head into one of the Dons' camps you'd find a tidy lot er bullets fizzin' close by yer nose, for I reckon they don't show many of your sort. There's somethin' about you, young mister, that looks like beef, good old honest roast beef, the stuff that Britishers boast of, and the same that them Froggies and others of the same sort sneer at, and jist wish they could crow about. But get it off-I mean them togs, else p'raps the sentry yonder will be makin' a mistake, and sendin' a plug of daylight through yer."

On the following day the marines re-embarked, and steamed along the coast to Guantanamo, where three cruisers and two gunboats at once entered the roads, and rapidly dispersed the Spanish garrison. Then the Panther, a transport, carrying 850 marines, steamed in. The men at once disembarked, Hal accompanying them. They encamped on a hill near a village called Playa del Este, and pushed their pickets into the bush, which grew down close to the water's edge. On their right, Caimamera, another village, was in flames, having been deserted and fired by the Spaniards.

"Mr. Marchant," said the officer in charge, to whom Hal had been introduced, "will you take a rifle and help the boys?"

"Certainly," was Hal's ready answer. "I fancy that your men will soon be engaged, for this place is surrounded by bush, as you can see for yourself, and that is an ideal cover for Spanish irregulars, who, I may tell you, are masters at that particular form of fighting, having been taught many bitter lessons by the insurgents. There! Listen to that!"

They went outside the tent, and heard the distant rattle of musketry, and then the answering shots from their own pickets. Taking up a rifle, and filling his pockets with cartridges, Hal at once ran up the hill to join them.

"Keep yer noddle low thar," a sergeant sang out to him. "The Dons aer sendin' their bullets skimmin' over here, and it's odds yer don't quite see from where. That's the ticket. Get low down, and keep a lively look-out."

Hal took the advice given him, and, copying the example of the sergeant, threw himself down behind a rock. Then, dropping his rifle for the moment, he commenced to build up a little breastwork, just like the schantzes used by the Boers in South Africa. Having obtained excellent cover in this way, he knelt up and stared into the bush.

Ping! thud! A rifle flashed three hundred yards away, and the bullet struck a foot or two to his right, sending chips of rock and a fine dust flying into the air. Ping! phit! Again the rifle cracked, and all that Hal could see was a dense mass of tangled green trailers and ferns.

"Wait a bit," he murmured beneath his breath. "I see that big fern moving. Why, as I live, it has crawled ten feet in the last half-minute. There must be a man behind."

He aimed carefully and fired. Instantly the waving fronds started high into the air, and, falling asunder, disclosed a Spanish guerrilla reeling blindly from side to side. Then he flung his arms wildly above his head, and, twisting round in his agony, fell prone to the earth.

* * *

"HE AIMED CAREFULLY AND FIRED."

* * *

"That aer one for you, pard," the sergeant cried. "Guess it wur a mighty fluke."

"Wrong, then," Hal answered. "The Spaniards have stuck ferns into their hats, coats, and belts, and that is the reason why you do not spot them. It's a very old trick of theirs, and one that they learned from the Cubans. Watch for moving leaves, and pull your trigger with the sights leveled three feet beneath."

"So! aer that it?" the sergeant answered wonderingly. "You're mighty cute, young feller. Hillo! Durn me, but thar aer a fern on the walk."

He rose to his knees, and, sighting carefully, pulled his trigger very gently. The report was followed instantly by a commotion amidst the leaves, which suddenly fell to the ground.

"That fetched home, I'm thinking," he cried. "Here goes for another. Ah--"

Hal turned his head, to see the unfortunate American suddenly collapse, and lie motionless across the bowlder. A Spanish bullet had brought quick revenge for the death of a comrade.

"Poor beggar! The fortune of war," Hal remarked sadly. "Well, as he's gone, I must act for both."

He placed a cartridge in the breech and went on firing. Then he passed the news that the Spaniards were, like Malcolm's army of old, decked with boughs and leaves, along the lines of trenches which had been thrown up hastily for the protection of the outposts. Hour after hour the musketry duel continued, and so clever were the Spanish guerrillas at taking cover that they forced the American pickets back to the main body of the marines. About midnight Hal retired from the firing line for refreshment and sleep.

"What advice do you give about these fellows?" asked the officer. "They're certainly clever at keeping out of sight, and there seems no way of getting alongside them. We've four killed already, including our surgeon, and if it wasn't for the bad shootin' of the enemy there'd be heaps more."

"I should say, turn on the electric searchlight till morning, and then pound the bush with the guns of the ships," Hal answered. "If that does not stop the firing, you'll have to choose between retiring and rushing their cover."

"We're not going to do the first, in any case," the officer replied sturdily; "but that is a good dodge-to turn on the light. I'll signal down for it," and he went away at once.

Hal ate a meal of tinned meat and rusks, which he washed down with a big draught of coffee from the lid of his canteen. Then he rolled himself in a blanket which had been given to him, and quickly fell asleep, for he was worn out with his long day in the trenches. But all night long the musketry flickered along the hillside, and when morning dawned it was as active as ever. Early in the day a band of Cuban insurgents joined the invading Americans, and gave information of a Spanish camp four miles away.

"There's going to be a fight to-morrow," said the marine officer to Hal. "We've just had orders to march out and attack this Spanish encampment. Cubans will lead the way, so that we shall not be wantin' you as guide; but if you'd care to come, why, you know you're welcome."

"Just what I'd like. When do you start?"

"Early dawn. We'll get breakfast for all hands, and then away, so as to make a day's job of it. The ships are now going to throw shells into the bush."

He had scarcely finished speaking, when loud booming was heard from the sea, and missiles commenced to hurtle overhead. Every corner of the bush was searched by the exploding shells, but, in spite of the flying fragments, the same desultory and harassing fire continued, for the Spanish guerrillas clung tenaciously to their posts.

Next morning a force of six hundred, including marines and Cubans, marched from their bivouacs, Hal joining the party, armed as before with a rifle.

"I reckon we'll have to be precious wide awake," said his new friend. "Cubans are out as scouts, but in this thick bush we want something in the shape of a balloon. How far should you say we are from the Dons?"

"They told us that the camp was four miles from us," answered Hal. "We have been marching for an hour, so I fancy that we must be within half a mile or less of the enemy. Hillo! Lie down quickly!"

The silence of the bush, through which the troops were forcing a way, was suddenly broken by the crackle of musketry coming from directly in front. Fortunately, the marines were moving in open order, or otherwise the losses would have been heavy. As it was, no one was hit, though showers of leaves were stripped from the trees, and came tumbling in a cloud to the ground, or upon the heads of those who happened to be beneath.

"A Spanish ambush!" exclaimed the officer. "Here, sir, hop along over to the signaler, and tell him to let the Dolphin know whereabouts they are lying."

"Right! I'll do it!" cried Hal. "You can expect me back shortly."

He bent low in the bush, and ran to the left, to a knoll upon which a signaler was stationed. On his right nothing but thick scrub was to be seen, from which, however, the continuous ping of musketry rang, proving that hidden foes lurked there. Straight ahead was the coast, towards which a gunboat, the Dolphin, was steaming so as to aid the land party with its guns.

Hal at once gave his message, and watched the signaler wag his flags to those on the gunboat. A few minutes later small shells from the quick-firers began to fall into the cover in which the Spaniards were lurking. Then rifle volleys were directed at them, searching every corner. At length, unable to face the hail any longer, they broke and fled.

"After them! Charge! All together, boys!" shouted the officer in command; and, springing to their feet, the whole party dashed forward.

"Hold! Lie down, all of you! You'll get knocked to pieces by the shells!" the officer shouted again; and, producing a whistle, blew a shrill blast upon it. For the Dolphin's guns were still playing upon the bush, and to attempt to cross it would have been to incur heavy loss. At length, however, the gunboat was signaled to cease fire, and, at once rising to their feet, the whole of the invading force dashed towards the Spanish camp.

Rifle in hand, Hal ran ahead of the men, and alongside the officers, and was one of the first to rush amongst the huts in which the enemy had taken up their quarters.

"There are Spaniards just in front!" he shouted. "At them! Let us have some prisoners."

"Hooroo, lads! Charge!" the officer shrieked at the pitch of his voice, and at the order the men who were nearest swept like a torrent to the end of the narrow and dusty little street.

"Hands up! Surrender! You are prisoners," he commanded, coming suddenly in sight of a Spanish lieutenant and some eighteen men. Instantly rifles were dropped to the ground, and the small party of the enemy, who had been unable to escape, held their arms above their heads in token of submission. Then their young officer advanced, and with saddened face and a sigh of resignation tendered his sword to the American officer.

"We surrender, se?or," he said, in very fair English. "The fortune of war has smiled but blackly upon us."

Hal only waited to see that the prisoners were safely taken, and to hear the American officer make some consoling reply, before he again dashed forward in pursuit of the enemy. Suddenly a rifle cracked from a hut in front, and the bullet pierced the rim of his hat, whistling shrilly as it hurtled by his ear. Then a Spaniard stepped into the open, and, shooting a cartridge into the breech, took a calm and steady aim at him again. The figure was at once familiar, and a turn of the head at that moment disclosed the handsome but scowling features of José d'Arousta.

Hal did not hesitate, but, lowering his bayonet, he rushed full tilt at his old enemy. There was a sharp report, the stunning effect of a concussion close at hand, the shock of which can only be realized by those who have been unfortunate enough to experience it, and he staggered back, half dazed. Next moment, with an oath at his want of success, José sprang behind the building into the bush, where he was at once lost to sight. As for Hal, he was too stunned to be able even to see for a few moments, so great was the effect of the rifle which had been discharged at point-blank range. When he was able to look round, not a Spaniard was in sight, but a poor Cuban, who had been at his side, lay wounded at his feet, having been struck by the bullet which José d'Arousta had intended for himself.

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