Page:Yule Logs.djvu/40

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24
A FIGHTING MERMAID

For a moment Carlos Moranza hesitated. Then his resolution was taken.

"I cannot desert him," he cried; and, gaining the place where Carl Baldwin sat, he grasped his arm with the intention of dragging him from the café. At this, the officer, who had cowered irresolute beneath his adversary's unflinching gaze, clapped a hand to his sword and attempted to rise. In an instant the young American had thrust him back with such force that the frail chair crashed beneath him, and the uniform of Spain was rolled ignominiously in the dust.

Then, without regarding the man further, or noticing the other inmates of the café, who were thronging towards them, Carl turned to his friend, saying—

"I don't think I like this place, West. Isn't there some other in which we might be just as happy?"

" Yes, yes, come quick," replied Carlos, starting towards the street as he spoke; but it was too late, for at that moment a file of soldiers appeared in the dorway. They were led by the Spanish spy who had followed our friends from Key West, and who had been sitting in the Café Pasaje brooding over the futility of his attempts to apprehend them when the two lads unsuspectingly entered it. "There they are! Seize them!" he now cried exultingly, and the obedient soldiers rushed forward.

With all the latent fury of his nature aroused and blazing from his blue eyes, the young Anglo-Saxon American fought single-handed the minions of Spain. Two of them fell like logs beneath crashing blows from his fists. Two more were hurled breathless to right and left. The others hesitated, and even shrunk before him as with a cry of "Come on, West!" he dashed toward the doorway. At that moment some one flung a chair before him. He tripped over it, staggered wildly, and then measured his length on the pavement with half-a-dozen Spanish soldiers on his back.