Page:Yule Logs.djvu/42

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26
A FIGHTING MERMAID

on the ground. As though this were a signal, the mob, led by a tall man in the dress of a carboncro or charcoal-burner, rushed upon the slender file of soldiers, and swept it irresistibly before them.

A few moments of pandemonium — shots, yells, screams of pain, cries of exultation, a crash of flying missiles, the ominous clatter of a cavalry patrol galloping down the street, and then all was over. The mob melted away like a puff of smoke, leaving only a few innocent and inoffensive citizens to be cut down by the sabres of the troopers. The prisoners who had caused the outbreak had also disappeared, and when the Spanish spy, slowly regaining his senses, became aware of this fact, he gnashed his teeth with rage.

Our lads were in the meantime dragged at top speed through a labyrinth of narrow streets and dark alleys, until, breathless and bewildered, they finally found themselves in a dimly-lighted room, surrounded by a group of those who had effected their release. One of these severed the cords binding their arms with two blows of a dirk-like machete, and said in reassuring tones—

"Fear nothing, señors; you are with friends, sworn to aid all who suffer in the cause of Cuba. Tell us, then, who you are, whence you come, and how it happens that you possess the most secret password of the Junta."

"I," replied the young Cuban boldly, for to him alone of the two was this address intelligible, "am Carlos Moranza, son of——"

Here the lad was interrupted by a great cry from one of his auditors, and in another instant he was folded in a close embrace by the carbonecro who had led the mob to the rescue.

"Carlos, my son! my own brave boy! do you not know your father?" cried the man, half-sobbing, half-laughing in the excitement of his discovery.

"Father! my father! can it be?" screamed Carlos,