Page:Yule Logs.djvu/31

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15
A FIGHTING MERMAID

Instantly the man stood aside, touched his cap respectfully, and motioned them to enter.

As they did so, a third person attempted to pass the guard in their company, but was seized on the threshold.

"Is this hombre of your party, señor?" asked the guard.

"Certainly not," replied Carlos. "I never saw him before."

So the intruder, who was evidently of Spanish blood, was ignominiously thrust back, and as he slunk away he muttered words that boded no good to Carlos Moranza, in case they should again meet.

In the meantime the young Cuban, accompanied by Carl Baldwin, made his way to the balcony where the agent of the Junta had just Finished reading of Garcia's victory. As Carlos touched him on the shoulder he turned quickly and frowned at sight of a stranger. Again the lad whispered his magic formula, and in another moment the agent was embracing him with the fervour of a life-long friendship. Then he led his guests to a private room, where for half-an-hour he engaged Carlos in earnest conversation, of which young Baldwin could only understand an occasional word.

When our lads finally left the building and regained the street, the latter asked curiously, "What was it all about, old man?"

"He said," replied Carlos, "that the Spanish cruiser now in port is here for the express purpose of escorting us to Havana, and that, as soon as we are outside Key West harbour, she will place a guard on both tug and scow."

"Hm!" remarked Carl Baldwin reflectively; "we can't allow that."

"I should say not," agreed Carlos Moranza; "only I'd like to know how we are to prevent it."

"Just you leave it to me, and I'll show you the trick," rejoined the young American.