Page:Yule Logs.djvu/19

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3
A FIGHTING MERMAID

express his deepest feelings; but the enthusiasm of the day found ample vent through the young Cuban, who had been permitted to share in the glorious result, and who poured forth his exultation in a torrent of words as the two lads left the shipyard and wended their way homeward.

"It is the crowning triumph of the century, my Carol, and will make immortal the name of our honoured instructor. To have lived until this day and to be allowed a share in such glory is a vast privilege. Of war, what a revolution will be made! Oh, if my poor country possessed but one of these marvels, how quickly would she be free! To destroy the ships of Spain and open to the world every Cuban port! What an achievement! what honour! Carol, why may it not be done? Why may we not take this Mermaid, and with her liberate Cuba from her centuries of slavery?"

"Because," answered Carl Baldwin slowly, "she is not ours to take, and even if she were, we would not be allowed to use her in any such fashion. The Government would not permit us."

"But if she were ours. If the Professor would consent to allow us to attempt the experiment. If we could escape the vigilance of the American cruisers, and manage to convey our marvel of marvels to the scene of action, would you not join in the enterprise, my Carol? Would you not aid in striking the blow for freedom?"

"It would certainly be most interesting to test the little craft in actual service," replied the young American cautiously.

"Interesting, say you? It is of vital importance. What she has done is nothing. Who knows what she may accomplish? When will there come another such chance for trying her in warfare? Where in the world is there a prize to be gained equal in value to that of a free Cuba? That my father has sacrificed all but life itself for her is my proudest boast; that I may soon fight by his side, my