The war maker | Project Gutenberg (2024)


The war maker | Project Gutenberg (1)


The war maker | Project Gutenberg (2)

Photo by Pirie MacDonald

The war maker | Project Gutenberg (3)





The war maker | Project Gutenberg (4)



Published March, 1911

W. F. Hall Printing Company



THE hero of this book was a real man, though hehas carried to his grave the secret of his truename. It was not Boynton, although it is known thathe was born in Fifth Avenue, near Fourteenth Street,New York, May 1, 1842, and that his father was adistinguished surgeon, with an estate on Lake Champlain.He rarely talked of his remarkable life, andrecounted in detail to the author of this volume thefacts of his career of adventure, only in the closingmonths of his life.

Captain Boynton was of the type of filibuster that isread of so often, but rarely met with in life. He wasa tall, bronzed, athletic, broad-shouldered man, one ofthe most picturesque and daring of the many soldiersof fortune who have sought adventures over theworld. From Hongkong to Valparaiso fighters of allraces knew the name of Boynton. From Cape Hornto New York he did not permit himself to be forgotten.Whether exploring the sources of the Orinoco,or hunting elusive supporters for a desertedAmerican President, or battling in the Haytian army,[6]or spying out court secrets in Venezuela, or runninga distillery in Brooklyn with Jim Fisk as partner, hewas invariably master of himself and continually apersonality to be reckoned with. Captain Boyntonwas the original of the “Soldier of Fortune” in RichardHarding Davis’s story of that name, and gave toGuy Boothby the facts of his novel “The BeautifulWhite Devil,” with which dashing heroine CaptainBoynton was on terms of intimacy. In the account ofhis life given in this volume fictitious names have intwo or three instances been used for persons still livingwho figured in business deals with him. Otherwisethe story is told almost identically as CaptainBoynton narrated it to the author.

After escaping death in scores of forms, includinga Chinese pirate’s cutlass, an assassin’s dagger, thefire of a file of soldiers at sunrise, and war’s guns, thisutterly fearless, cheerfully arrogant retired blockaderunner, revolutionist, and hunter of pirates died peacefullyin his bed, at a ripe age, on January 19, 1911, inNew York City, where he had led a quiet life since1905, when he voluntarily left Venezuela, after withstandingrepeated efforts by President Castro to drivehim from the country.

H. S.

New York,
Jan. 25, 1911.



A Soldier of Fortune’s Creed 9
I Under Fire the First Time 13
II Filibustering for the Cubans 34
III In League with the Spanish Pretender 54
IV Lawless Latin America 78
V The Marooning of a Traitor 102
VI A Swift Vengeance 121
VII Preying on Pirates 140
VIII “The Beautiful White Devil” 165
IX A Death Duel with a Pirate King 193
X The Burial of the “Leckwith” 217
XI Stealing a British Ship 243
XII A Land of Mystery and Murder 264
XIII Adventures on the Nile 289
XIV Rapid-Fire Revolts 327
XV Revolution as a Fine Art 357
XVI At War with Castro 387




THROUGHOUT my life I have sought adventureover the face of the world and its waters as othermen have hunted and fought for gold or struggledfor fame. The love of it, whether through the outcroppingof a strain of buccaneer blood that had beenheld in subjection by generations of placid propriety oras a result of some freak of prenatal suggestion, wasborn in me, deep-planted and long-rooted. Excitementis as essential to my existence as air and food.Through it my life has been prolonged in activity andmy soul perpetuated in youth; when I can no longerenjoy its electrification, Death, as it is so spoken of,will, I hope, come quickly.

To get away from the flat, tiresome, beaten pathand find conditions or create situations to gratifythe clamorous demand within me has ever been mycompelling passion. I have served, all told, undereighteen flags and to each I gave the best that was inme, even though some of them were disappointing intheir failure to produce a pleasing amount of excitement.In following my natural bent, which I waspowerless, as well as disinclined, to interfere with oralter, to the full length of my capabilities, it perhaps[10]will be considered by some people that I have goneoutside of written laws. To such a contention myanswer is that I have always been true to my ownconscience, which is the known and yet the unknownquantity we all must reckon with, and to my country.In the transportation of arms with which to furtherfights for freedom or fortune I have flown many flagsI had no strictly legal right to fly, over ships thatwere not what they pretended to be nor what theirpapers indicated them to be, but never have I takenrefuge behind the Stars and Stripes, nor have I evercalled on an American minister or consular officer toget me out of the successive scrapes with governments,but most often with misgovernments, intowhich my warring wanderings have carried me. Red-bloodedlove of adventure, free from any wanton spiritand with the prospect of financial reward always subordinated,has been the driving force in all of myencounters with good men and bad, with the latterclass much in the majority. Therefore I have onlyscorn for sympathy and contempt for criticism, noram I troubled with uncanny visions by night norhaunting recollections by day.

There is just one point in my philosophy which Iwish to make clear before the Blue Peter is hoisted,and that is that most of the so-called impossibilities[11]we encounter are simply disguised opportunities.Because they are regarded as impossible they are notguarded against and are therefore comparatively easyof accomplishment when they really are possible, asmost of them are. Acceptance of this theory, withwhich every student of the history of warfare willagree, will help to explain my ability to do some ofthe things which will be told of, that the thoughtlesswould promptly put down as impossible.

The name by which I am known is one of the contradictionsof my life. Save only for my father, whosympathized with my adventurous disposition at thesame time that he tried to curb it, I was at war withmy family almost from the time I could talk. I am aRepublican in politics from the fact that they wereactive supporters of James Buchanan, and I becamea Southern sympathizer simply because they werebitterly opposed to slavery. When I left home tobecome an adventurer around the globe I buried myreal name and I do not propose to uncover it, hereor hereafter. I am proud, though, of the fact thatmy family is descended from a King of Burgundy;for since reaching years of discretion, though I havebeen as loyal to the United States as any man since1865, I never have believed in a republican form ofgovernment. In the course of my activities I have[12]used many names in many lands, but that of Boynton,which had been in the family for years, stuck tome until I finally adopted it, prefixing a “George” anda “B.,” which really stands for “Boynton.” I made itmy business to forget, as soon as they had servedmy purpose, the different names I took in response tothe demand of expediency, but I remember that Kinnearand Henderson were two under which I createdsome comment on opposite sides of the world.




I  WAS born on May 1, 1842, on Fifth Avenue,New York, not a long way north of WashingtonSquare. My father was a distinguished surgeon andowned a large estate on Lake Champlain, wheremost of my youthful summers were spent. I hadthree brothers and two sisters; but not for many yearshave I known where they are, or whether alive ordead. After having had a private tutor at home Iwas educated by jumps at the Hinesburgh, Vermont,Academy; at the old Troy Conference Academy atPoultney, Vermont, and at the Burlington, Vermont,Academy, where, young as I was, I became deeply interestedin the study of medicine, for which I had inheriteda pronounced liking; that was the one point onwhich I seemed to fit in with the family. I did not staya great while at any institution because of my successin leading the other students into all sorts ofdare-devil pranks, to the detriment of discipline and[14]the despair of the dominies. As an evidence of theinclining twig I remember, with still some feeling ofpride, that during one of my last summers on LakeChamplain I organized fifteen boys of the neighborhoodinto an expedition against the Indians of thefar West. We were equipped with blankets stolenfrom our beds, three flasks of powder, and nearly onehundred pounds of lead, which was to be mouldedinto bullets for the extermination of the redskins ofthe world. As Commander-in-Chief I carried theonly pistol in the party but we expected to seizeadditional arms on the way to the battlefields. I hadscouts ahead of us and on both flanks and by avoidingthe roads and the bank of the lake we managed toevade capture until the third day, although the wholecountryside was searching for us, in rather hystericalfashion.

After a somewhat scattered series of escapades,which increased the ire of the family and intensifiedmy dislike of their prosaic protestations, my fathersolemnly declared his intention of sending me to theUnited States Naval Academy. It was his idea, as heexpressed it, that the discipline which prevailed therewould be sufficient to restrain me and at the sametime my active imagination would find a vent in myinborn love of the sea. I was delighted with this[15]promised realization of my boyhood dream, for itseemed to me that the career of a naval officer presentedgreater possibilities of adventure than anyother. Former Congressman George P. Marsh, ofBurlington, Vermont, an old friend of the family, whoafterward was sent to Italy as American Ministerand died there, arranged to secure my appointmentto Annapolis, and I entered a preparatory school tobrush up on the studies required by the entranceexamination. The machinery to procure my appointmenthad been set in motion and I was ready to takethe examination when the opening gun of the CivilWar was fired at Fort Sumter, on April 12, 1861.

I was immediately seized with a wild desire to bein the fight, but my father would not consent to it, onaccount of my age. He would not hear to my goinginto the army as a private but promised that if Iwould wait a year, and was still of the same mind,he would try to get me a commission. As I have said,my sympathies were with the South but it was moreconvenient for me to take the other side, and at thatmoment I was not particular about principles. Thefamily were duly horrified one evening when I wenthome, after some things I needed, and told them Ihad enlisted. The next day my father bought my dischargeand hustled me out to the little town of Woodstock,[16]Illinois, where I was placed in charge of an unclewho was abjured to keep me from going to war, withoutregard to anything else that might happen. Heprevented me from joining an infantry regimentwhich was then forming but I got away with a cavalryregiment which was raised in that section somemonths later, and was made one of its officers. Wewent to Cairo, Illinois, and from there by transport toPittsburg Landing, where we arrived just in time totake part in the battle which was fought on April 6and 7, 1862. My regiment was pitted against thefamous Black Horse Cavalry of Mississippi and wecame together at the gallop. I was riding a demonof a black horse and, with the bit in his teeth, hecharged into the line two or three lengths ahead ofthe rest. A Confederate officer came at me with hissabre raised. I ducked my head behind my horse’sneck and shot him between the eyes, but just as mypistol cracked his sword cut through my horse’s headto the brain and the point of it laid open my rightcheek, from the ear almost to the chin. The horsefell on my leg and held me there, unconscious. Inthe evening I was picked up and sent to the generalhospital, where I stayed for three weeks.

When I was discharged from the hospital I wastoo weak for active service so I was sent into the[17]Tennessee mountains in charge of a detachment tointercept contraband which was being sent into theSouth from Cincinnati. We had been there aboutten days when, early in the morning, one of thepatrols brought in a fine-looking young man, whohad been arrested as a spy. There was a refinementabout the prisoner that aroused my suspicions, andduring the day I satisfied myself that “he” was awoman. While she would not acknowledge her identity,I had reason to believe, and always have beensure in my own mind, that she was none other thanBelle Boyd, the famous Confederate spy. I was bornwith a fondness for women, which then was strongwithin me, and besides, my heart was with her cause.Therefore it is without apology that I say I arrangedthings so that she escaped the next night through awindow in the shed in which she was confined.

Soon after my return to headquarters I contracteda bad case of malaria and was sent home, whichmeant back to Woodstock, where I had eloped with abanker’s daughter just before going to the front. Iwas disgusted with the war and I expressed myselfso freely, and was so outspoken in my sympathy forthe South, that I made myself extremely unpopularin a very short time. It probably is true, too, as wascharged against me, that I swaggered around a lot[18]and presumed on the reputation I had made. At anyrate the people set their hearts on hanging me forbeing a “damned copperhead,” and they might havedone it if old man Wellburn, the proprietor of thehotel at which my wife and I were staying, had nothelped me to stand off a mob that came after me.I met them at the door with a revolver in eachhand and Wellburn was right behind me with quitean arsenal. They suggested that I come out andrenounce my principles and make certain promises,or be hanged at the liberty pole. I told them I wouldrenounce nothing and promise less.

“If I am a copperhead,” I told them, “I am a fightingcopperhead, while you are neither kind. If youwant a fight why don’t you go to the front and get it,instead of staying home and making trouble for abetter man, who has fought and bled for the cause youare shouting about? If you prefer a fight here, comeon and get it. I’ve got twelve shots here and therewill be just thirteen of us in hell or heaven if you tryto make good your threat.”

Old Wellburn was known as a fighter and thesight of his weapons added weight to my words,so the crowd concluded to let me have my way aboutit, and dispersed. That experience intensified my dissatisfactionwith the whole business and I sent in[19]my resignation. It was accepted, and when I hadthought it all over I considered that I was lucky tohave escaped a court-martial. It was fortunate forme that Governor “Dick” Yates and my father werewarm friends. The Governor was thoroughly disgustedwith the way I had conducted myself, but hestood by me.

I then moved to Chicago, with my wife. She hada small fortune and I had come into considerablemoney on my twentieth birthday, so we were in easycirc*mstances. I bought a vinegar works on KinzieStreet; but the dull routine of business was repulsiveto me and I sold it in less than a year, after havingoperated it at a handsome profit, and went on to NewYork. We stopped at the old St. Nicholas, at Broadwayand Spring Street, which was the fashionablehotel in those days.

I was looking for anything that promised excitement.I had heard that Carlos Manuel de Cespedeswas fomenting a revolt in Cuba,—afterward knownas the “Ten Years’ War,”—and had conceived the ideaof taking a hand in it. To my disappointment, I foundthat no Junta had been established in this country, nor,so far as I could discover, were there any responsiblemen in New York who were connected with therevolution. While I was wondering how I could get[20]into communication with Cespedes my interest wasaroused by a newspaper story of the new blockaderunner “Letter B,” which had made one round tripfrom Bermuda to Beaufort, North Carolina, and wasbeing looked for again by the Federal fleet. The “LetterB”—its name a play on words—was a long, low,powerful, schooner-rigged steamship, built by Laird onthe Mersey. Though classed as a fifteen-knot shipshe could do sixteen or seventeen, fast going atthat time. The story which attracted my attentiontold all about her and said there was so much moneyin blockade running that the owners could well affordto lose her after she had made three successful trips.

In five minutes I decided to become a blockaderunner and to buy the new and already famous ship,if she was to be had at any price within reason. Ibought a letter of credit and took the next ship forBermuda. On my arrival there I found that the “LetterB” had been expected in for several days from hersecond trip and that there was considerable anxietyabout her. I also learned that her owner was buildinga second ship on the same lines and for the sametrade. A fresh cargo of munitions of war was awaitingthe “Letter B,” and a ship was ready to take toEngland the cotton she would bring. I got acquaintedwith the agent for the blockade runner and, after[21]making sure that he had an ample power of attorneyfrom her owner, offered to buy her and take thechance that she might never come in. He was notdisposed to sell, at first, and wanted me to wait untilthe arrival of her owner, Joseph Berry, who wasdaily expected from England.

After waiting and talking with the agent for severaldays I said to him one morning: “It looks asthough your ship has been captured or sunk. I’lltake a gambler’s chance that she hasn’t and will giveyou fifty thousand dollars for her and twenty-five thousanddollars for the cargo that is waiting for her; youto take the cargo she brings in. I’ll give you threehours to think it over.”

I figured that the waiting cargo of arms was wortha couple of thousand dollars more than my offer butit looked as though I was taking a long chance withmy offer for the ship. However, I had a “hunch,” orwhatever you want to call it, that she was all right,and I never have had a well-defined “hunch” steerme in anything but a safe course, wherefore I invariablyheed them. At the expiration of the time limitthere was not a sign of smoke in any direction andthe agent accepted my proposition. In half an hourI had a bill of sale for the ship and the warehousereceipts for the cargo of war supplies. At sunset[22]that day a ship came in from England with the formerowner. He criticised his agent sharply at first,but found some consolation in the fact that the vesselhe was building would soon go into commission.When two more days passed with no sign of theanxiously looked for ship Mr. Berry concluded thathe had all the best of the bargain and complimentedhis agent on his shrewdness.

On the third day the “Letter B” came tearing in,pursued at long range by the U. S. S. “Powhatan,”which proceeded to stand guard over the harbor,keeping well offshore on account of the reefs andshoals that were under her lee. The “Letter B” dischargeda full cargo of cotton and was turned overto me. While her cargo of arms was going in I wentover her carefully and found her in excellent conditionand ready to go right back. She was unloadedin twelve hours and all of her cargo was safelystowed in another forty-eight hours. I took commandof her, with John B. Williams, her old captain,as sailing master, and determined to put to sea atonce. I knew the “Powhatan” would not be lookingfor us so soon and planned to catch her off her guard.

There was then no man-of-war entrance to the harborand it was necessary to enter and leave by daylight.With the sun just high enough to let us get[23]clear of the reefs before dark, and with the “Powhatan”well offshore and at the farthest end of thecourse she was lazily patrolling, we put to sea. The“Powhatan” saw us sooner than I had expected shewould and started to head us off, but she was notquick enough. The moment she swung around Iincreased our speed to a point which the pilot loudlyswore would pile us up on the rocks, but it didn’t,and when we cleared the passage we were all of fourmiles in the lead. As I had figured, the “Powhatan”did not suppose we would come out for at least aweek and was cruising slowly about with fires banked,so it took her some time to get up a full head of steam.She fired three or four shots at us but they fell farshort. As soon as it was dark, with all of our lightsdoused, we turned and headed a little south of westso as to come up to Charleston, South Carolina, whichwas my objective point, from the south. At sunrisewe had the ocean to ourselves.

I started in at once to master practical navigation,the theory of which I knew, and to familiarize myselfwith the handling of a ship. I stood at the wheel forhours at a time and almost wore out the instrumentstaking reckonings by the sun and the stars. Navigationcame to me naturally, for I loved it, and in three[24]days I would have been willing to undertake a cruisearound the world with a Chinese crew.

We arrived off Charleston late in the afternoonand steamed up close inshore until we could make outthe smoke of the blockading fleet, standing well out,in a semicircle. Then we dropped back a bit andanchored. All of the conditions shaped themselvesto favor us. It was a murky night with a hard blow,which came up late in the afternoon, and when wegot under way at midnight a good bit of a sea wasrunning. With the engines held down to abouthalf speed, but ready to do their best in a twinkling,we headed for the harbor, standing as close inshoreas we dared go. We passed so close to the blockadingship stationed at the lower end of the crescentthat she could not have depressed her guns enoughto hit us even if we had been discovered in time, butshe did not see us until we had passed her. Thenshe let go at us with her bow guns and while theydid no damage, we were at such close quarters thattheir flash gave the other ships a glimpse of us aswe darted away at full speed. They immediatelyopened on us but, after the first minute or two, itwas a case of haphazard shooting with all of them.They knew how they bore from the channel and,making a guess at the proper allowance for our[25]speed, they blazed away, hoping for the best but fearingthe worst. The first shells exploded close aroundus and some of the fragments came aboard but noone was injured. When I saw where they were firingI threw my ship farther over toward Sullivan’sIsland, where she could go on account of her lightdraft, and sailed quietly along into the harbor atreduced speed. At daylight we went up to the dockand were warmly welcomed.

Before the second night was half over we hadeverything out of her and a full cargo of cotton aboardand we steamed out at once. I knew the blockaderswould not expect us for at least four days and wesurprised them just as we had surprised the “Powhatan”at Bermuda. It was a thick night and we sailedright through the fleet, at half speed so as better toavoid detection, but prepared to break and run for itat the crack of a gun, without a shot being fired oran extra light shown. As soon as we were clear ofthe line we put on full speed and three days later wewere safe at Turk’s Island, the most southerly andeasterly of the Bahama Islands, off the coast ofFlorida, which I had selected as a base of operations.Though these islands ought long ago to have comeunder the Stars and Stripes, as they eventually must,they are still owned by England, and in those days[26]they were a haven and a clearing house for the outsiderswho were actively aiding the Confederacy—fora very substantial consideration. Most of theblockade runners, including the “Banshee,” “Siren,”“Robert E. Lee,” “Lady Stirling” and other famousships, were operating out of Nassau, which had theadvantage of closer proximity to the chief Southernports, being within six hundred miles of Charlestonand Wilmington. Turk’s Island was nine hundredmiles away, but I never have believed in followingthe crowd. It is my rule to do things alone and inmy own way, as must be the practice of everyman who expects to succeed in any dangerous business.It is no part of my philosophy to become aparty to a situation in which I may suffer from themistakes of others or in which others are likely toget into trouble through any fault of mine. Thepopularity of Nassau caused it to be closely watchedby the Federal cruisers that patrolled the GulfStream, while the less important islands to the southand east were practically unguarded.

Though precarious for the men who made them so,those were plenteous days for the Bahamas, comparedwith which the rich tourist toll since levied on thethen hated Yankees is but small change. The fortunesyielded by blockade running seemed made by[27]magic, so quick was the process. Cotton that wasbought in Charleston or Wilmington for ten cents apound sold for ten times as much in the Bahamas andthere were enormous profits in the return cargoes ofmilitary supplies. The captains and crews shared inthe proceeds and the health of the Confederacy wasdrunk continuously, and often riotously. By the timeI projected myself temporarily into this golden atmosphereof abnormal activity, running the blockade hadbecome more of a business and less of a romance thanit was in the reckless early days of the war. Thefleet was made up of fast ships of light draft, especiallybuilt to meet the needs and dangers of the trade,and they were so much faster than the warshipswhich hunted them that the percentage captured wasrelatively very small.

Before leaving Bermuda I had ordered a cargo ofmunitions of war sent to Turk’s Island. We had towait nearly a month for this shipment to arrive butthe time was well spent in overhauling the enginesand putting the “Letter B” in perfect condition.

My second trip to Charleston furnished a degree ofexcitement that exalted my soul. While we wereheld up at Turk’s Island the blockading fleet hadbeen strengthened and supplemented by several smalland fast boats which cruised around outside of the[28]line. Without knowing this I had decided—it musthave been in response to a “hunch”—to make a dashstraight through the line and into the harbor. Itwas fortunate that we followed this plan for theywere expecting us to come up from the south, huggingthe shore as we had done before, and if we hadtaken that course they certainly would have sunk usor forced us aground. We were proceeding cautiouslybut did not think we were close to the dangerzone when suddenly one of the patrol ships pickedus up and opened fire. Her guns were no better thanpeashooters but they gave the signal to the fleet andinstantly lights popped up all along the line ahead ofus. When caught in such a trap, if I had not beenthirsting for thrills, I would have shown them ourheels, for we could have gotten away without anytrouble; but the demon of dare-deviltry seized andgripped me.

In the flashing lights ahead I saw all of the excitementI had been longing for, and with an exultantyell to the helmsman to “tell the engineer to giveher hell,” I pushed him aside and seized the wheel.I fondled the spokes lovingly and leaned over themin a tumult of joy. It was the great moment ofwhich I had dreamed from boyhood. I had anticipatedthat when it came I would be considerably[29]excited and forgetful of all my carefully thoughtout plans for meeting an emergency, but to my surpriseI found that I was as cool as though we wereriding at anchor in New York Bay. In the first flashI felt myself grow cold all over and then a gentlecurrent of electricity began running through me, asthough my heart had been transformed into a dynamoand my veins into fine wires. The opening guncleared my mind of all its anxieties and intensifiedits action. I remember that I took time to analyzemy feelings to make sure that I was calm and collectedand not stunned and stolid, and that I wassilent from choice and not through anything of fear.I counted the blockading ships as their hidden lightsflashed out and wondered how their officers andcrews enjoyed being dragged out of their first soundsleep by my impertinent little vessel. I measured thedistance we would have to go to clear their line andtried to figure out, from a rough calculation as to thenumber of their guns and the accuracy of their fire,the mathematical probability of our being sunk.Strange though it may seem, the possibility of ourcapture never occurred to me. We might be sent tothe bottom, and would be if it were so decreed byFate, but otherwise we would get away, and the onlyother question was as to the nature and extent of our[30]injuries. When we were fairly under their spitefulguns I thought of what great sport it would be if wecould only return their fire on something like eventerms. I compared the wide, individualistic opportunityof naval warfare with routine battles on land,which are fought by rules laid down for every conditionthat can arise, and unhesitatingly decided infavor of the sea, with its long-nursed passion for theman who dares its fury, and its despotism over himwho fears it.

As though spurred by a human impulse the goodlittle ship sprang forward as she felt the full force ofher engines, and never did she make such another raceof it as she did that night. In the sea then runningand at the speed we were going we would ordinarilyhave had two men at the wheel, but I found it soeasy and so delightful to handle the ship alone thatI declined the assistance of Captain Williams, whostood just behind me. Though I am not tall, being notmuch over five feet and eight inches, nature was kind ingiving me a well set up frame and a powerful constitution,devoid of nerves but with muscles ofsteel,—in those days and for many years after,—andwith a reserve supply of strength that made memarvel at its source. Through all of my active lifeI kept myself in as perfect condition as a trained[31]athlete, despite occasional dissipations ashore, andI never got into a close corner without feeling myselfpossessed of the strength of half a dozen ordinarymen. Consequently the tugs of the wheel as we torethrough the water toward Charleston seemed like achild’s pulls on a string.

The widest opening in the already closing line was,luckily, directly in front of us, and I headed for it.The sparks that were streaming from our smokestackand the lights of the patrol which was tryingto follow us, gave the blockaders our course as plainlyas though it had been noonday, and they closed infrom both sides to head us off. Evidently they consideredthat time was also fleeting for they lost not amoment in getting their guns to going, and shot andshell screamed and sang all around the undaunted“Letter B.” First the mainmast and then the foremastcame down with a crash, littering the decks withtheir gear. A shell carried death into the forecastle.One shot tore away the two forward stanchions ofthe pilot house and another one smashed through theroof but neither Captain Williams nor I was injuredby so much as a splinter. All of our boats and most ofour upper works were literally shot to pieces. Thatwe were not sent to the bottom on the run was notribute to the skill of the Yankee gunners. They[32]could not have been more than half awake when theybegan firing on us and we were flying so fast thatit appeared to disconcert them, even after they gottheir bearings. If they had taken time to depresstheir guns the race would have been a short one,but they all wanted to sink us at once, with the resultthat only one shot struck us below the main deck,and that did very little damage to the ship.

From first to last we must have been under thatterrific fire for half an hour but it seemed not morethan a few minutes, and it really was with somethingof regret that I found the shots were falling astern,for I had enjoyed the experience immensely. Whenwe got up to the dock we found that five of our menhad been killed and a dozen more or less seriouslyinjured. The ship had not been damaged at all sofar as speed and seaworthiness in ordinary weatherwere concerned, though she looked a wreck. Theblockaders thought we were much more seriouslyinjured than was actually the case but their mistakewas one that could easily be pardoned. Theyexpected we would be laid up for a month. Consequentlywhen we steamed out on the fourth night,after making only temporary repairs, they were notlooking for us and we got through their line withoutmuch trouble. A few shots were fired at us when we[33]were almost clear but not one of them came aboardand we were not pursued; they had come to havegreat respect for our speed. We refitted at Turk’sIsland, where we laid up for three weeks.

I made two more trips to Charleston without anyvery exciting experiences, though we were fired onboth times, and then sold the ship to an enterprisingEnglishman who was waiting for me at Turk’s Island.I had made a comfortable fortune with her and soldher for more than I paid for her. She was in almostas good condition as when I bought her, but I havemade it a rule never to overplay my luck, and I knewI had run about as many trips with her as I couldexpect to make without a change of fortune. I amunder the impression that the ship and her new ownerwere captured on her next trip to Charleston, but amnot sure as to that.



HAVING succeeded as a blockade runner I wasambitious to become a filibuster, which kindredvocation I thought offered even greater opportunitiesfor adventure. Immediately after the sale of the“Letter B,” in the latter part of 1864, I returned toNew York, in the hope that the Cespedes revolutionin Cuba would have been sprung and a Junta establishedwith which I could work. I found that therevolt was still hatching and that no New York agenthad been appointed, so, for want of something betterto do, I bought from Benjamin Wood, editor of theNew York News, the old Franklin Avenue distilleryin Brooklyn. This venture resulted in an openand final rupture with my family, who were virtuouslyoutraged to begin with because of the aid I had giventhe South as a blockade runner. I left home in a rageand swore that I would never again set foot in it orset eyes on any member of the family, and exceptfor a visit to my father just before he died, not longafterward, I have kept my vow. I was always hisfavorite son, in spite of my wild love of adventure[35]and the ways into which it led me, and when I gotword that he was seriously ill I went to him at once,but I saw no one else in the house except theservants.

The Franklin Avenue distillery was then the largestin the East but it had not been in operation for severalyears. I put Charles McLaughlin in charge of theplant and set it in motion. Two or three other distillerieswere then running in Williamsburg, one ofwhich was owned by Oscar King. I had been in thedistillery business only a few months, during whichtime the property had shown a large profit, when,while attending a performance at the old Grand OperaHouse with Andrew W. Gill, I met “Jim” Fisk, withwhom I had become acquainted in my boyhood days.At the time I had known him he was running a gaudypedler’s wagon out of Boston. He was laid up for aweek by a prank which I played on him in GeorgeSteele’s store at Ferrisburg, Vermont, but after thatwe became good friends.

Fisk, big and loudly dressed and displaying theairs which later helped to earn for him the sobriquetof “Jim Jubilee Junior,” entered the theatre in companywith Jay Gould, his new friend and future partnerin the looting of the Erie and the great GoldConspiracy, to say nothing of many minor maraudings[36]into misappropriated millions. In the dramaticsurroundings, Gould, half-dwarfed but plainly makingup in nerve and shrewdness what he lacked in stature,with his black beard and darting eyes and his carelessattire, put me in mind of a pirate, wherein myartistic judgment played me no trick, and, to completethe picture, Fisk suggested himself as the little man’sbusiness agent. Fisk swept his eyes around thetheatre with something of a look of challenge, asthough he wondered if there were any persons therewho knew him, and, if so, how much they knew abouthim. His roving gaze fell on me and he nodded andsmiled. A moment later he excused himself and cameover to talk to me, while Gould followed him withhis snapping eyes and drove them through me with asearching inquiry which seemed to satisfy him thatI was simply an old acquaintance and harbored nopredatory plot. Their intimacy was then in itsinfancy and Gould appeared to be half suspicious ofevery man with whom Fisk talked.

No doubt it was fate that drew Fisk and metogether. He intimated, in his grandiloquent way,that he was in a huckleberry patch where nothing butmoney grew on the bushes, and asked what I wasdoing that I looked so prosperous and well satisfiedwith myself. I told him briefly and he asked me to[37]call on him the next day. I did not go to see himbut the following day he called on me at the St.Nicholas Hotel. After we had exchanged confidencesregarding our careers he said he wanted to buy a halfinterest in the distillery and asked me to put a priceon it. I told him I did not want a partner. Heinsisted and said he had influence at Washington,which he afterward proved, and that it would be valuableto us.

“We will make a good team,” he said. “Here,”and he scribbled off a check for one hundred thousanddollars and tossed it over to me, “now we arepartners.”

“Not much,” I said, as I tossed it back to him.“I am making too much money for you to get in atthat price, even if I wanted you as a partner.”

“All right, then,” he replied, as he wrote outanother check for one hundred and fifty thousand dollarsand handed it to me, “take that. I am in halfwith you now.”

Before I could enter another objection he stalkedout of the room and I let it go at that, for I had ascheme in mind and figured that his influence, if itwas as powerful as he claimed, would be useful.

The constant and heavy increase in the tax onspirits had forced all of the distillers except King and[38]me to shut down, and when it finally reached a pointwhere high wines which it cost two dollars and fortycents a gallon to produce, by the ordinary methodsand with the payment of the full tax, were sellingfor one dollar and ninety cents a gallon, Kingwas compelled to go out of business. In the meantimeI had devised a scheme for reducing the proofbefore the tax was paid and then, by a chemical processwhich operated mechanically, restoring the proofuntil the product was almost, if not quite, equal toCologne spirits. My contention was that my processimproved the quality of the spirits, which it assuredlydid, but the effect of it was that I and not the Governmentreceived the full benefit of the change. By Fisk’sadvice I engaged Robert Corwin, of Dayton, Ohio,a cousin of the great “Tom” Corwin, and an intimatefriend of high officials in the Treasury Department,whose names it is not necessary to mention atthis late date, to secure a patent on my process.While the application was pending I was given permissionto use my process, the result being thatI could operate at a good profit, while the otherdistillers could not run except at a heavy loss. Wewere, as a matter of fact, cheating the Government,and I have since thought that it probably was Fisk’sinfluence rather than any merit in my invention that[39]made it smooth sailing for us, but I did not then lookat it in that light. I considered that I was a veryclever young man and that I was rightfully entitledto profit by my shrewdness, without any regard tothe rights of the Government, or to what rival concernsmight think about it.

King and the other distillers, convinced that therewas something wrong somewhere, tried repeatedlybut in vain to discover our method of operation.Then they complained to Washington and onerevenue officer after another came over to investigateus. During the progress of these protests, whichin the course of a year or more increased in numberand vigor, the revolt in Cuba had broken out and theold sea lust, with its passion for excitement, cameover me. I wanted Fisk to buy my interest in thedistillery but he suggested that we quit business andwe did so, with a profit of about three hundred andfifty thousand dollars.

Fisk and I continued in partnership and in theSummer of 1866 we bought the fast and stanch littlesteamer “Edgar Stuart,” which had been a blockaderunner. We bought a cargo of arms and ammunition,consisting of old Sharps rifles and six mountainguns, and were just putting it on board whenthe first Cuban Junta came to New York and opened[40]offices on New Street. They sent for me and wantedto buy our cargo and pay for it in bonds of the CubanRepublic, at a big discount. I refused, as we insistedon gold or its equivalent, which has always been myrule in dealing in contraband. They finally arrangedthat we should be paid part in cash, on the deliveryof the arms, and the balance in fine Havana cigars.The Spaniards were not as watchful then as theyfound it necessary to be later on and the arms weredelivered without much trouble at Cape Maysi, atthe extreme eastern end of Cuba. On our return thecigars we had received in part payment, in waterproofcases and attached to floats, were thrown overboardin the lower bay, to be picked up by waitingsmall boats and sold to a tobacco merchant who hada store in the old Stevens House.

By the time we got back the Junta had raised fundsfrom some source and engaged us to deliver severalcargoes of arms to the rebels. I was always in commandof these expeditions, with a sailing master incharge of the ship, while, in keeping with our agreement,Fisk stayed at home and attended to the Washingtonend of the business. When we sailed withoutclearance papers, as we sometimes were compelledto do to avoid detention and arrest, for we were constantlyunder suspicion, Fisk exerted his influence[41]with such good effect that we never were prosecuted.We made three or four trips to Cape Maysi, and onone occasion took one hundred women and childrenfrom there to Cape San Antonio, at the western endof the island, where the rebels were better able toprotect them.

In furtherance of their efforts to establish a governmentand make such a formidable showing aswould secure their recognition, especially by theUnited States, as belligerents, thus making it legalto sell them munitions of war, the revolutionistsattempted to build up a navy. Through the Juntathey bought the fore and aft schooner “Pioneer,”which was fitted out as a warship and placed in commandof Francis Lay Norton, who was given the rankof Admiral of the Cuban Navy. He sailed up throughLong Island Sound and out past Montauk Point,where he hoisted the Cuban flag, saluted it, andgravely declared the “Pioneer” in commission. Heneglected to wait until he was well out on the highseas before going through with this formality and arevenue cutter which had followed him seized hisship and brought it dismally back to port as a filibuster.I did not then know Norton but we afterwardbecame partners and fought side by sidethrough adventures and exploits more thrilling than[42]any that have ever been told about in fiction, so faras I have read. Without knowing him I had greatrespect for his nerve but not much for his discretion,as displayed in the “Pioneer” incident, and the intimateassociation of later years did not change myopinion of him except to increase my admiration forhis superb daring.

One night I received a hurry call from the Junta.The “Stuart” was then partly loaded with a freshsupply of arms and was waiting for the rest of theshipment, coming from Bridgeport, Connecticut.The Cubans had been tipped off from Washingtonthat she was to be seized the next day on suspicionof filibustering, which could have been proved easily,and they asked me to take her out that night andcall at Baltimore for the rest of the cargo, whichwould be shipped there direct from Bridgeport.Greatly pleased by this evidence of increased Spanishactivity against us and the prospect of some excitingtimes, I went to the ship without returning tomy hotel and we got under way soon after midnight,though with a short crew. At daylight I hove to andrepainted and rechristened the ship and presentedher with a new set of papers, making it appear thatshe belonged to William Shannon of Barbadoes andwas taking on supplies, including some arms of[43]course, for West Indian planters. We loafed alongand the balance of the cargo, which had been sent toBaltimore by express, was waiting for us when wegot there. We hustled it on board and were just preparingto sail when the ship was seized by the UnitedStates Marshal, under orders from Washington.

“Why, Captain, your new coat of paint isn’t dryyet,” said the marshal. “That ship was the ‘EdgarStuart’ when you left New York, all right enough.”I protested that I was sailing under the British flagbut he only smiled and, naturally, I did not appeal tothe British consul for protection. There were fraternalreasons why the marshal and I could talk confidentially,and, though he had no right to do it, hetold me that he expected to have a warrant for myarrest in the morning. That made it serious businessfor me, as I had no desire to become entangled withthe authorities even though I had full confidence inFisk’s ability to get me out of trouble, and I determinedto get away, and take my ship with me.

The marshal left three watchmen on the ship toguarantee her continued presence. Edward Coffee, mysteward, was a man who knew every angle of hisbusiness. Soon after dark he served the watcherswith a lunch and followed it with a bottle of winewhich had been carefully prepared, though no one[44]could have told it had been tampered with. In tenminutes they were asleep and in twice that timewe were out in the stream and headed south. Wecleared the Virginia capes at daylight, arousedthe surprised guards and loaned them a boat in whichthey rowed ashore. There was no government shipin those waters that could catch us so we proceededon our course without any misgivings, leaving it toFisk to straighten matters out. We delivered thecargo about sixty miles west of Cape Maysi and thenwent to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where I wired to Fiskto ascertain the lay of the land. He replied that hehad “squared” things with the authorities and itwas safe for me to return but that it would be bestto leave the ship at Halifax for a while. I accordinglytook the train for New York and in two or threeweeks Captain Williams followed with the “Stuart,”which had been restored to her real self, thoughpainted a different color than when she left NewYork.

Our expeditions with the “Stuart” had been sosuccessful that the Spanish Government, through itsminister at Washington, had arranged with the DelamaterIron Works, on the Hudson, for the purchaseof several small gunboats, each carrying two guns,which were to operate against filibusters. We had[45]not lost a single cargo, either while operating withthe Junta or independently of it. In some instancesthe Spanish cavalry swooped down and captured partof the shipment before the rebels could get all of itback into the bush, but that was in no sense our fault.Fisk had learned the terms of the Spanish minister’scontract with the Delamater Company and the datethat was specified for the delivery of the gunboats,but we did not know of a secret and verbal understandingby which they were to be delivered severalweeks in advance of that time. The result was thaton my next, and last, trip to Cuba I ran full tilt intoone of the new boats, as I was not looking for them.

We raised Cape Maysi late in the afternoon andwere close inshore and not far from the lighthousewhen a little steamer came racing up on our starboardbow. I saw that she was flying the Spanishflag but that meant nothing in those waters and Ipaid no attention to her, as she was nothing like theordinary Spanish type of gunboat, for which I wason the lookout. She steamed up to windward of usand I opened my eyes when she fired a blank shotacross our bows, as a signal to heave to. I promptlyran up the British flag and kept on my course, whereuponshe sent a solid shot just ahead of us. Then Ihove to and a lieutenant and boat’s crew came[46]aboard. It looked like a bad case. While the lieutenantwas being rowed to the “Stuart” I had a lotof black powder stored under the break of the poop,just below my cabin, and laid a fuse to it. I did thisprimarily for the purpose of running a strong bluffon the Spaniards, but I had made up my mind that ifit came to the worst I would blow up my ship andtake a long chance on getting ashore in the smallboats. I figured that the commander of the gunboatwould stop to pick up those of his crew who were sentskyward by the explosion and that this would allowsufficient time for some of us, at least, to escape,which was much better than to sit still and haveall hands captured and executed.

When the lieutenant came aboard he called formy papers and I gave him the usual forged set, whichindicated British registry and concealed the natureof the cargo. He was not satisfied and ordered meto open the hatches, which I refused to do. He procuredsome tools and was having his men open themwhen I gave the signal to lower the boats quickly,and man them. The Spaniards looked on in wonderbut interposed no objection to our hurried departure.Then I ostentatiously lit the fuse in my cabin and asI was getting into my boat I said to the lieutenant:[47]“I wish you luck in going over my cargo. You’llbe in hell in just about three minutes.”

Without asking a question or saying a word theyoung officer bundled his men and himself into hisboat and I lost as little time in hustling my men backonto the “Stuart” and pulling out the fuse, whichwas a long one, as I had a notion things might turnout just as they did. Had he not flown into a stateof panic, which is characteristic of the Latin races,the lieutenant could have pulled out the sputteringfuse, just as I did, and removed the danger, at thesame time putting the rest of us in a bad way; butit seemed that such an idea never occurred to him.It was simply a case of matching American nerveagainst Spanish blood, and I won. The gunboat washalf a mile to windward and a choppy sea was runningso the lieutenant had his hands full managinghis boat and had no time to try to make any signals.I ordered full speed ahead and ran across the gunboat’sbows, dipping our ensign as we passed. Thecommander of the gunboat, thinking everything wasall right, returned our salute and dropped down topick up the lieutenant. When he got to the smallboat and discovered the trick that had been playedon him he sent a shot after us, which went a mileaway, and gave chase, but it was no use. It was getting[48]dusk by that time and in fifteen minutes it wasdark, for there is no twilight in the tropics. I swungaround in a wide circle, picked up a little inlet nearGonaives Bay in which the rebels were waiting, andhad my cargo unloaded and was headed back for NewYork before daylight.

Some of the filibustering trips were made at longintervals, on account of the difficulties encounteredby the Junta in raising funds, and between two ofthem, in 1867, I went to Washington, at the invitationof Leonard Swett, of Chicago, and Dr. Fowler,of Springfield, Illinois, and was introduced by them toPresident Johnson. Swett and Fowler were tryingto line up Illinois for Johnson, and Fisk thought itmight strengthen his hand in Washington to haveme meet the President and offer to assist him inany way I could. A few days later the Presidentsent for me and asked me to become his confidentialpolitical agent. He frankly said he doubtedthe accuracy of reports which had been made to himregarding the feeling in the Middle West toward hisnomination for the presidency, and he wanted me tovisit that section and advise him as to the real sentiment,with particular reference to Illinois. I accepted,being flattered, I presume, by the idea of being inconfidential relations with a President. To give[49]me a standing and clothe me with an air of mysteryhe appointed me acting chief of the Secret Service,from which he had removed General W. P. Wood.“Andy” was careful to explain, however, that myappointment was not to be announced or generallyknown for the time being and that he did not wantme to bother about the ordinary operations of theSecret Service Bureau, which were in charge ofColonel L. C. Whitely, later appointed chief. Withintwo months I reported to the President thathis friends had flattered him, that he did not have achance of carrying Illinois, and that sentiment wasrunning strongly against him throughout the West.The insight I thus gained into politics quickly convincedme that it was too dishonorable and not excitingenough for me, so I resigned and went back tofilibustering.

If Johnson had ever had a chance of being nominatedto succeed himself in the place of power towhich he was elevated by the murder of Lincoln, itwould have been destroyed by his “swing aroundthe circle,” when he went to Chicago, in 1866, toattend a cornerstone laying in honor of Stephen A.Douglas. During the trip he quarrelled violentlywith every one who disagreed with his reconstructionpolicy and descended, in his speeches, to the level of[50]the ward heeler. I never was paid for this secret servicework, nor for the expenses I incurred, and myfailure to receive vouchers for my salary made itapparent to me that my appointment had not been aformal one. The experience was interesting, however,as a temporary diversion, and I was satisfiedto regard it as a quid pro quo for favors Fisk and Ihad received from the Administration, and which wemight expect to continue to receive, and let it go atthat. I have no doubt that Mr. Johnson looked at thematter in the same light.

While the “Stuart” was laid up for repairs at onetime, during the Cuban expeditions, Capt. Williamsand I took the famous “Virginius” out on her firsttrip, with a cargo of arms from the Junta. The Juntawanted me to keep her but I refused, on account ofher size. She was larger than the “Stuart” but nofaster, and had quarters for a considerable number ofmen outside of her crew, which the “Stuart” had not.I foresaw that they would want to use her in transportingmen, and to put her into that service wouldgreatly increase the risk of her capture. The idealvessel for filibustering purposes is a small, stout shipof light draft and high speed, without room, to saynothing of accommodations, for passengers. A largehold is not required, for a mighty valuable cargo of[51]arms can be stowed away in a comparatively smallspace. The man in command of a filibustering expeditionmust be prepared for any emergency and needsto have his wits about him every minute. If he is tosucceed he cannot think about anything except hiscargo and its delivery; he cannot afford to have anymen hanging onto his coat and dividing and divertinghis attention. Transporting troops is a very differentbusiness from carrying arms, and my experience hasconvinced me that the two cannot well be combinedon one ship.

Carrying contraband is dangerous business underthe most favorable conditions. The hand of everynation is raised against you; though you be anAmerican the flag of your own country, even, cangive you no protection, for you are engaged in anillegal act, however much it may stand for theadvancement of humanity and the spread of liberty.Save for those with whom you are allied, and whonecessarily are few in number, else they would berecognized as belligerents and given the rights ofwar, any one who happens along the sea’s highwayis liable to take a shot at you or try to capture you,on general principles. Therefore the commander ofa filibustering expedition must regard desperatechances as a part of the daily routine, but he is unwise[52]to add to his risks by complicating his mission. Hemust, too, be in the business chiefly for the love of theadventure it provides as royal payment, for the financialreturns, except in cases out of the ordinary, areas nothing compared with the dangers that areencountered.

Just as I had expected, the “Virginius” after manynarrow escapes was finally captured by the Spaniardson October 31, 1873, as she was about to land a mixedcargo of men and arms near Santiago. GeneralCespedes, the life of the revolution, and three of hisbest fighting chiefs, Generals Ryan, Varona, and DelSal, who happened to be on board, were summarilyexecuted. This was done, it was claimed, under priorsentences, but as a matter of fact there was not somuch as a mockery of a trial, either at the timethey were put to death or previously. All of theothers who were on board were tried for piracy andpromptly convicted, of course. Within a week afterthe seizure of the ship, Capt. Joseph Fry, her Americancommander, thirty-six of his crew, and sixteen“passengers,” were lined up and shot to death, withan excess of brutality. The rest of the prisoners, whowere to have been similarly disposed of, were saved,not through intervention from Washington whenceit should have come, but by the timely arrival of a[53]British warship, whose commander refused to permitany further butchery. England peremptorily compelledthe Spanish Government to pay a substantialindemnity for the British subjects who had been thuslawlessly executed, while the United States Government,as an evidence of the protection it gave Americancitizens in those days, waited twenty-five yearsbefore taking vengeance on Spain for the murder ofCaptain Fry and his companions. But for the “Virginius”Massacre and the bad blood it engenderedbetween America and Spain, Cuba might still be takingorders from Madrid instead of from Washington;had it not been for that never forgotten butchery theblowing up of the “Maine” might have been regardedas an accident.

Along about 1868, after it had run half its length,the Ten Years’ War began to bog down. The Cubanswere out of funds and appeared to have lost heart,and it looked as though the revolt would be anotherfailure. There was nothing else doing in this part ofthe world in which I was interested so I decided togo to Europe, being attracted by the prospect of warbetween France and Germany and the adventurouspossibilities which it suggested.



DURING the Cuban filibustering days I gainedmore notoriety than I desired, even though itreally was not a great deal, and as I did not wish tobe known as a trouble-maker on the other side, wherethe laws against the carrying of contraband werebeing rigidly enforced on account of the recent “Alabama”affair, I lost my identity while crossing theAtlantic. When I reached London in the latter partof 1868 I was “George MacFarlane,” and in orderthat I might have an address and ostensible occupationI established the commercial house of GeorgeMacFarlane & Co., at 10 Corn Hill. My partner, whor*ally was only a clerk, was a young Englishmannamed Cunningham, for whom I had been able to doa good turn while I was living in Chicago. I openedan account in the London & Westminster Bank withan initial deposit of close to seventy-five thousandpounds, which gave me a financial standing.

In order to establish my respectability with theBritish Board of Trade, which exercised a watchfuleye and general supervision over the enforcement of[55]the maritime laws, and to build up a reputation foreminent business respectability which would serveas a cover for the illicit but much more excitingoperations in which I expected to engage as soon asopportunity offered, and at the same time to throwme naturally in contact with shipping concerns underthe most favorable conditions, I bought several smallvessels and began shipping general cargoes to andfrom the Continent, either on my own account or forothers. Fate was kind to me in throwing in my waythe little steamer “Leckwith,” which I bought at abargain. She had been built as a yacht for a noblemanbut did not suit him. She was not large enoughto be used as a passenger boat and her depth of holdwas not sufficient to make her profitable as a freighter,but she was exactly the ship I wanted as a carrier ofcontraband. She registered five hundred and twentytons and could do seventeen knots when she waspushed. She was small enough to go anywhere, fastenough to beat anything that was likely to chaseher, and big enough for my purposes. Until the dayI buried her, years afterward, as the only means ofdestroying damning evidence, she served me faithfullyand well, and I doubt if any ship, before orsince, has made so much money for her owner.

One of the first shipping firms with which I became[56]acquainted was that of H. Nickell & Son, of LeadenhallStreet. They were speculators as well as merchantsand I cultivated them, without having to waitlong for results. Encouraged by the insurrectionagainst the Bourbons, which had resulted in the abdicationand flight to France of Queen Isabella, DonCarlos, the Spanish Pretender, was just then, in 1869,preparing to make his last fight for the long covetedcrown of Spain. His chief agent had bought all ofthe arms and ammunition he could pay for fromKynoch & Co., of Birmingham, which establishmentis now, I believe, owned by Joseph Chamberlain andhis son and brother, though conducted under the oldname, and had contracted with Nickell & Son fortheir delivery on the northern coast of Spain. Theyhad lost one cargo, through the watchfulness of aSpanish warship, and had nearly come to grief withanother, just before I became acquainted with them.

The Pretender’s agent then proposed that Don Carlospay for the arms when they were delivered, insteadof at the factory, as before, and suggested to Nickell& Son that they enter into a contract on that basis,to cover all future purchases.

Old man Nickell was considering this propositionwhen I met him and, suspecting that I had ideasregarding the sailing of ships that went beyond the[57]uninteresting routine of strictly legitimate commerce,he told me about it, after we had come to know andunderstand each other a bit. Naturally, it appealedto me and it did not take us long to reach an agreementwhich, if it would not have blocked our plansand we had wanted to follow the foolish Englishfashion, would have enabled us to advertise ourselvesas “Purveyors Extraordinary of Munitions of Warto His Royal Majesty, Don Carlos.” It was agreedthat Nickell should buy the arms while I should furnishthe ship and deliver them. We were to chargea price commensurate with the risk we assumed, withsomething added,—for we had reason to believe thePretender had plenty of money,—and divide theproceeds.

It was stipulated that the first consignment shouldbe delivered to Don Carlos himself at his headquartersnear Bilbao, and before accepting the cargo I wentthere on an iron-ore steamer to reconnoitre. I foundthat the Pretender’s retreat in the mountains backfrom Bilbao was in the very heart of that section ofSpain which was most loyal to him. Carlist sentimentwas almost unanimous in the Provinces of Vizcaya,Alava, and Guipuzcoa, and strong in the adjoiningProvinces of Navarre, Catalonia, and Aragon, sothere was nothing to fear once we succeeded in getting[58]up the river. Even the city of Bilbao was largelycomposed of Carlist supporters, but the forts whichcommanded the river there and at Portugalete, thedeep-water port of Bilbao on the coast at the mouthof the river, were manned by unfriendly troops. Thetwo Generals, Prim and Serrano, who were the realrulers of Spain and who placed Prince Amadeo, sonof the King of Italy, on the throne a year or so later,were as much opposed to the Carlists as they hadbeen to the Bourbons. They did not propose that thePretender should gain any ground during the troubledperiod which they had brought about by the expulsionof Queen Isabella. They knew he was tryingto import arms from England and they had so manywarships patrolling the northern coast that it practicallyamounted to a blockade; but, after my experienceat Charleston, I did not regard that as aserious matter.

Only a small and light-draft ship could get up theriver to the point at which the arms were to be delivered,which was a few miles above Bilbao. I did notcare to try it with the “Leckwith” so I chartered asmaller steamer which greatly resembled the “SantaMarta,” a Spanish coastwise ship. To avoid suspicionas to their real destination the rifles and cartridges,in boxes which gave no indication of their[59]contents, were shipped to Antwerp, and I picked themup there. As soon as we were out of sight of land Irepainted my ship and made some slight changes inher upper works, until she looked almost exactly likethe “Santa Marta.” That name was then painted onher bows and the Spanish flag was hoisted over her.With this precaution I figured that we would avoidany trouble with the forts or any warships we mightencounter, and we did; in fact we did not see asingle warship. Of course, if we had happened tomeet the real “Santa Marta,” we would have had torun for it at least, and it might have been moreserious than that, but I simply took a chance thatwe would not run into her. We saluted the forts aswe passed them and they responded without takingtwo looks at us.

We got over the bar at Bilbao with very little tospare under our keel and went on up the river to theappointed place, where we tied up so close to thesteep bank that we threw a plank ashore. A band ofgypsies—Gitanos—were camped close by, and in tenminutes they were all over the ship. Among themwas a singularly beautiful girl to whom I wasdrawn. She followed me around the ship, which didnot annoy me at all, and insisted on telling my fortune.When I consented she told me, among a lot of[60]other things, that I would be paid a large sum ofmoney in the mountains, and assassinated. Her direprediction did not cause me a moment’s anxiety, asI have no faith in human ability to discern what theinhuman Fates have prescribed for us, but she wasgreatly worried by what the cards had told her andbegged me, almost with tears in her eyes, to stayaway from the mountains. As I then had no thoughtof going into the hills I assured her that I would doas she advised, whereat she was much relieved.

No messenger from Don Carlos came down to meetus, as had been agreed upon, and after waiting threeor four days I sent one of the gypsies to his campto advise him that the cargo awaited his orders, andthe payment for it. He replied that he would sendfor it and that I should come to his headquarters forthe money, as he wished to consult with me aboutfurther shipments. He sent along one of his aides toescort me to his camp. The Gitano girl’s warninghad made so little impression on me that I did notrecall it. It seemed natural enough that Don Carlosshould want more arms, as we had expected he would,and that he should want to give personal directionsas to where and when they were to be delivered, andwithout any thought of danger I set forth at once.George Brown, my sailing master, a gigantic Nova[61]Scotian, and Bill Heather, the second officer, accompaniedme, as they wished to see the country and,perhaps, the famous Pretender.

The Carlist camp was located well up in the mountains,nearly twelve miles from where we were tiedup. Following the aide, we walked diagonally awayfrom the river for about six miles, which brought usto the foothills. Then we switched off to the left fora mile and turned sharply to the right into a canyon,which we followed for three miles or more when itturned to the right again, and a two-mile tramplanded us at the headquarters of the claimant to theSpanish crown. The camp stretched away throughthe woods that covered the plateau to which we hadclimbed but we had no opportunity to inspect it, norto form any intelligent idea as to the number oftroops, for right at the head of the canyon was alarge square tent, surmounted with a flag bearing theCarlist arms, which we rightly guessed was occupiedby the Commander-in-Chief.

We were halted there and after a short wait I wasceremoniously ushered into the august presence ofthe Pretender. He was standing as I entered, forimpressive effect rather than from courtesy, and Iam compelled to admit that in personal appearancehe had a great advantage over any real King I have[62]ever seen. Perhaps forty years old, he was in the fullglory of physical manhood; six feet tall, powerfullybuilt, and unmistakably a Spaniard. He had a fullbeard and moustache as black as his hair, large darkeyes, a Grecian nose, and a broad high foreheadwhich suggested a higher degree of intellectualitythan he possessed. But his cold face was cruel andunscrupulous and I felt—what I afterward foundwas fact—that his adherents followed him chieflyfrom principle and were dominated much more byfear than by personal loyalty. Yet, despite a face forbiddingto any keen student of human nature, he wasan imposing figure, with evidences of royalty thatwere exaggerated by his manner. He greeted me withfrigid formality in contradiction of the warm welcomeI had expected, as due a saviour of the Carlistcause, and his first words, spoken in fair English,were a curt statement that he had no money butwould pay for my cargo through his London agentwithin two months.

Chagrined at the manner of my reception and surprisedat his attitude, I inquired, with some heat:“How is it possible, Your Majesty, that you are notprepared to carry out the agreement made with youragent who was acting, as he convinced us, with yourfull authority? Our contract stipulates that my cargo[63]is to be paid for in cash and unless this is compliedwith I cannot deliver it and we will be compelled toaccept no further orders from you.”

“If my agent made such a contract as that,” heretorted with assumed indignation, “he did it on hisown responsibility alone and I refuse to be bound byit. I have stated my terms. If you do not care toaccede to them you can go to the devil.”

It was plain that I would make no headway in thatdirection so I went about on the other tack, usinghoneyed words in place of harsh ones.

“I beg Your Majesty’s pardon,” I said with muchdeference, “for momentarily losing my temper. Itwas due to the heat and the long tramp. I am notaccustomed to such enervating exercise. I see nowthat Your Majesty is joking. It could not be otherwise,for the word of a King of Spain is sacred.”

The flattery went home, as I supposed, and whilehe repeated that he had stated the exact situation, hismanner was more friendly.

“You carry the joke admirably, Your Majesty,” Icontinued. “Had you not been born to rule youwould have won fame as an actor. Your mock seriousnesswould, I fear, cause real seriousness atMadrid if General Prim knew of the extent to whichyou indulge your capacity for humor.”

[64]When he persisted in his assertion that he was inearnest and did not propose to live up to the contract,I pointed out to him, as discreetly as possible, whatthe result of such a course would be. “I can onlyagain congratulate you on your art,” I said, “for itwould be ridiculous for me to believe you speakseriously. Failure to keep the agreement made byyour agent even though, as I now believe, he actedwithout explicit instructions from you [which I didnot believe at all] would destroy your excellentcredit, not only with my firm but with all otherdealers in revolutionary supplies, and that, of course,is not to be thought of. On the other hand, by payingfor this cargo, in compliance with the contract,you will establish your credit more firmly than ever,and I have no doubt you will be able to make yourown terms for further shipments. I know that YourMajesty is not only very honest but very wise.”

This argument appeared to convince him and, witha smile as though he really had been only joking, hesummoned a venerable Jew, evidently his treasurer,who looked like the original of all pictures of Shylock,and, speaking so rapidly in Spanish that I couldhardly understand him, ordered him to pay metwenty-eight thousand pounds, the amount called forby the manifest. The Jew returned in a few minutes[65]with the exact amount, chiefly in Spanish notes oflarge denomination but with enough gold to makequite a load. While I was waiting for the money hetold me he would want thirteen thousand more standsof arms and a million cartridges, which were to beshipped in two cargoes at times and places to be indicatedby his agent in London, who would arrangethe terms of payment, under specific instructions, toavoid any further misunderstandings. I assured himthat they would be sent when and where he wantedthem. With the transaction completed Don Carlosdramatically waved me out.

The officer who had piloted us to the camp suggestedthat we could find our way back to the shipwithout any trouble, as the trail was clearly defined,and we started back alone. Before we had gonetwenty steps Brown asked if I had been paid in cash.I pointed to my bulging pockets and told him Iundoubtedly had. He then confessed that he thoughtwe were “in for it.” Six cavalrymen, he said, hadstarted down the trail not long before I left DonCarlos’ tent, and from the action attending theirmovement he believed that they had been sent out towaylay and rob and probably murder us in the deepcanyon into which the ravine from the camp turned.In a flash I recalled the prediction of the gypsy girl[66]and the promise I had given her. I laughed at myselffor the spasm of something like fear that came intomy mind, yet I was undeniably nervous, for Brownwas not a man to form foolish fancies or becomeunduly alarmed about anything. None of us wasarmed and if Brown’s suspicion was correct, which Iwas slow to believe, the troopers would make shortwork of us.

We had turned a corner that put us out of sight ofthe camp and were walking slowly along discussing,with deep gravity on the part of Brown and Heatherand a partly assumed mock seriousness on my part,the possibilities of the situation and the generalcussedness of Spanish character, when I saw a darkface peering at us through the underbrush thatmatted the trail on both sides. I am not sure, but Ithink I jumped; anyway, I know I was startled. Atthe first glance the face looked like nothing but oneof the troopers we had been talking about but in aninstant I recognized the Gitano girl who had told myfortune and begged me not to go into the mountains.She beckoned to us and we answered her summons,without any unseemly haste, perhaps, but certainlywithout any delay. Uttering not a word sheplunged off at right angles to the trail into deepwoods, in which we would have been hopelessly lost[67]in ten minutes, with the three of us following her inIndian file. She led us over a hill and across a widedepression and then over another much higher mountain.There was not so much as a suggestion of apath and it was hard going, yet none of uscomplained. She brought us out to the trail at thepoint where we had made our first turn into the foothills.From there it was a straight road to the ship,with open country all around, so there could be nofear of ambuscade or attack.

The tension was relieved and the girl, with tearsin her eyes that betrayed her real emotions, threwher arms around my neck and reproached me passionatelyfor violating my promise to her andexposing myself to what she said would have beencertain death but for her intervention. It was withdifficulty that I released myself from her embrace,while Brown and Heather discreetly and rapidlywalked on ahead of us. She said she heard where Ihad gone when she went to the ship in the morningto see me, and knowing what the plot would be, shehad taken the short-cut through the mountains, bywhich we had returned, to intercept us as we wereleaving the camp. The gypsies were loyal to theCarlists through fear of them so she could get no helpfrom her own people, but she had prevailed on her[68]brother to steal up the trail through the canyon tosee what happened there, not to verify her suspicions,as she explained, but to prove to us that she wasright. An hour after we reached the ship her brotherreturned and reported to her that six cavalrymen hadcome down the ravine from the camp and concealedthemselves alongside the trail in the canyon justbelow the turn. After a long wait one of them gallopedback toward the camp. He soon returned,after discovering that we had left the trail, and theothers went back to camp with him. To Brown andHeather that seemed convincing proof of what wouldhave happened to us but for the gypsy girl; my ownnotion about it was that what had happened had tohappen, and I had not been killed simply because mytime had not arrived. Therefore I felt nothing ofgratitude; but when I came to analyze my real feelingtoward the young woman, whose wondrous blackeyes seemed to reflect all of the mystery and witcheryof those glorious ages that died with the departure ofthe Moors, and were silently eloquent of a fine civilizationof old centuries, I found that the deep impressionher physical charms had made on me hadbeen intensified by her mad affection for me. Thismade it no easy matter to leave her, but I had nonotion of taking her with me, and had to get bluff[69]Bill Heather to half carry her ashore just before thegang plank was pulled in.

Most of the arms had been removed from the shipwhile we were away and turned over to the guardDon Carlos had sent down. The rest of the cargowas jerked out with all speed and as soon as the lastbox was on the bank we got under way. We had notgone a quarter of a mile, moving slowly on account ofthe tortuous channel, when the gypsies came runningafter us, shouting and waving at us to come back.The cause of their excitement was soon discoveredin the presence of my Gitano girl, who had stolen onboard at the last minute, while I was below inspectingthe engines, and concealed herself until we were underway.

My first impulse was to stop the ship and set herashore but before I could give the order she came runningto me and declared, with an imperious air ofauthority: “I am going with you, so pay no attentionto my foolish people.”

“But, my dear girl, you cannot do that,” I protested.“I shall be accused of having stolen you.”

“You cannot steal what belongs to you,” was herquick reply.

“But I am going to a strange land where there are[70]none of your people and where your language is astrange tongue. You will be lonely and die.”

“I never shall be lonely where you are,” sheexclaimed with all the passion of her romantic soul,“and I shall not die unless they kill me here. If yougo on I go with you; if I go ashore you go withme.”

Never before having encountered such affection Iwas content to let her have her way. Her tribesmenfollowed us, and called down all manner of curiouscurses on our heads, until they were convinced wehad no thought of stopping, when two of them gallopedon ahead of us toward Bilbao. They went tothe fort, evidently, and told the officer in commandthat we were aiding Don Carlos, for as soon as wegot within hailing distance we were ordered to heaveto. We paid no attention to the command, of course,and as the only effect of a warning gun which followedwas to increase our speed, they sent half adozen shots at us, as a matter of duty. One of themshattered the fore-topmast and brought the fore-riggingdown by the run; the others went wild. Wewere fired at from a height and dropping shots seldomhit, though when they do they are generallydisastrous. With everything dragging forward, untilthe gear could be cleared away, we proceeded down[71]the widening river at full speed. Greatly to my surprisewe were not even hailed by the fort at the mouthof the river, where I had looked for some seriousbusiness, and we continued happily on our way toLondon.

Soon after our arrival there I established theGitano girl, to whom I had become deeply attached,in a cottage near Chalk Farm, not far from the city.I left her amply supplied with money and there wereother gypsies near there with whom she could fraternize.It is an evidence of the strange way in whichmy life has been ordered that I never saw her again.When I returned, at the first opportunity, in abouttwo years, I found nothing but a pile of blackenedruins where the cottage had stood. The Gitano girl’sbeauty had made her known to the people who livednearby but they had not seen her for more than ayear, and the neighboring gypsies had moved away, noone knew where. I am not much given to regrets,being content to let my destiny work itself out freefrom senseless protests, yet if my wishes had been consultedI would not have lost my glorious Gitano girl.Possibly the ruined cottage symbolized a love thathad burned itself out or it may be that somewhereher spirit is waiting for mine. “Why?” and “When?”are questions that I never attempt to answer.

[72]That experience finished me with Don Carlos.Seven or eight years later, when I was selling armsto Montenegro and Turkey, and not long after hehad finally been driven out of Spain, I met him atClaridge’s Hotel in London, as he came in fromattending church at the Greek Chapel. He recognizedme and, after pausing for a second, offered mehis hand, but I refused it.

“What do you mean?” he demanded angrily.

“I mean, Your Royal Highness,” I replied, withsome sarcasm, “that if I am here to shake hands withyou it is through no good will of yours, for you triedto have me assassinated in your mountains.” Helooked at me hard for a moment, shrugged his shoulders,and walked on.

After settling up with Nickell on the Don Carlosexpedition I devoted myself, for a few months, tolegitimate commerce. I had bachelor quarters onRussell Square, in London, and divided my timebetween that city and Paris, where I opened a branchof my mercantile and shipping house at 30 RueVivienne. While in Paris I lived at the Grand Hoteland loafed at Charley Wells’ American restaurantnearby on the Rue Scribe. In both London and ParisI read and heard considerable about a picturesqueSouth American named Guzman Blanco. He had[73]been driven out of Venezuela, of which country hewas Vice-President, and was said to be then planninga revolt through which he expected to gain the presidency.I was anxious to meet him but was unableto do so, as both of us were moving about a greatdeal. I had thought of Venezuela before I visitedEurope and, attracted by the promised revolt, Idecided that I would go to that country as soon asthe Franco-Prussian War, which then was almostready to break out, was over, or before that if it lastedlonger than I thought it would. Just before the warbegan I bought three cargoes of wines at Bordeauxand sent them to London, where I sold them laterat a good profit.

During the brief war, which began on July 19,1870, and ended in the capitulation of the French atSedan on September first, I had three ships busy withhonest cargoes, but I did not get a chance to do anycontraband running until just before its close. TheAustrian Army was then being rearmed with the improvedWerndle rifle, and thousands of the old gunswere stored in the arsenal at Vienna.

Nickell had bought a lot of them at a bargain buton account of the war Austria would not release themwithout a guarantee that they were not to be usedagainst Germany. I was led to believe I could sell[74]five thousand of these rifles to the Committee ofSafety at Bordeaux; so I bought that number fromNickell and, with an order for their delivery, I wentto Trieste in the “Leckwith.” Charles Lever, thenovelist, was then the British consul at Trieste,where he died a year or two later. On the pretencethat the arms were for Japan, and that I would beable to establish that fact within a few days, I securedthe removal of the guns from Vienna to the Triestearsenal, which was only a few hundred yards from thedock at which the “Leckwith” was tied up. However,to get them over that short distance and thento get away with them was a problem that puzzledme. I was mulling over it one day in a café whena maudlin young Englishman, who was sitting at thetable with me and had been trying to talk to me,pulled out a passport, all plastered with red seals andwax in the old Continental fashion. It was a mostformidable and ceremonious looking document andthe instant I saw it an inspiration seized me. Fromthe most taciturn I became the most jovial of companionsand plied the Englishman with wine untilhe fell sound asleep.

Then I took the passport from his pocket andhustled off to the arsenal. I had been assiduouslycultivating the officers there and was delighted to[75]find the young lieutenant with whom I was bestacquainted in charge of the guard. I told him I wouldhave the order for the release of the rifles within anhour and proceeded to celebrate by getting him inthe same state in which I had found the convenientEnglishman. I sent word to Lorensen, sailing masterof the “Leckwith,” to get up a full head of steam, andengaged a dozen big wagons to be at the arsenal inan hour. I arrived with the wagons, waved the gaudypassport in front of the young officer’s face, and withouttrying to read it he told me to go ahead. Wemade quick work of getting the boxed arms to theship and under her hatches, for the guard was changedat four o’clock and my sleepy young friend would besucceeded by an officer who was sober and in hisright mind. We were not quite fast enough, however,for just as we were pulling out the new officerof the guard came running down the dock, shoutingthat he wanted to see the order for the release of thearms. As he was well out of arm’s-reach I made afussy effort to hand him the passport. Then I openedit out and showed it to him, all the while explainingthat it was all right.

He went away shaking his head and I anticipatedtrouble at the fort at the entrance to the harbor, atthe head of the Adriatic, as the channel through which[76]we had to run was narrow. The fort occupied acommanding position and had high walls from thewater’s edge, with a free bastion high up. Sureenough, a shot whizzed across our bows as we reachedthe fort. Immediately I swung the ship in andbefore they saw I was not going to come to anchor,as they had supposed, we were so close under thewalls that they could not bring their guns to bear onus. It was only a very few minutes, however, untilthey could reach us with their seaward guns, and theylet go at us without any delay. The second shot tooka bite out of the mainmast and it looked as thoughthey had found our range and would smash us in ajiffy; but the brave little ship was tearing throughthe water at her top speed and, as we were goingdirectly away from them, was hard to hit. Shellssplashed uncomfortably close to us for a few minutes,but save for one shot that carried away some ofthe ginger-bread work on the stern we were notstruck again, and were soon out of reach of anythinglike accurate fire. The “Leckwith” had stoodher first baptism of fire in a way that augured wellfor her future, and the sign was a good one.

The arms were rushed to Bordeaux and turnedover to the Committee of Safety only a few daysbefore the battle of Sedan. I was sufficiently enthusiastic[77]in the cause of France to land them without aproper guarantee of payment, and, in fact, they neverwere paid for. Everything was turmoil; so afterwaiting a few days I placed the bill for the arms withan attorney and hurried on to London, en route forVenezuela, where I expected to find more excitement,in which hope I was in no way disappointed. Iplaced the “Leckwith” and my ships in the hands ofNickell & Co., for charter, and took the first steamerfor New York.



THE first word that reached me on my arrival inNew York near the end of September, 1870,was that my wife was seriously ill at her old home inIllinois. She had been on the Continent with relativesof old man Nickell, the ship broker and contrabanddealer, during most of the time that I wasmessing around with Don Carlos and the French,and started home two months ahead of me. She hada very bad trip, her ship having been twenty-six daysat sea, and as she was not a good sailor she sufferedseverely and contracted an illness which proved fatal.I went to her at once and remained at her side untilthe end, three weeks later. Her death was a severeblow to me. She was an exceptional woman, in thatshe had much good sense, was not given to chatter,and was a delightful companion. Though she hadnever become quite reconciled to my adventurouslyactive life, I was devoted to her, and if she had lived Imight eventually have settled down and become a respectableand self-respecting business man, in which[79]class, I am bound to say, I would have had littlecompany.

When I returned to New York after the funeral Iwas greatly depressed and was in a mood for anythingthat offered excitement. A few days later Ifound some diversion through a chance meeting withFrank (Francis Lay) Norton, just after he had gonebroke in John Morrissey’s uptown gambling house.He knew me, by reputation and through the oldCuban Junta under which both of us had operated, aswell as I knew him, and we soon became friends.Later we became partners in some of the most gloriouslyexciting exploits in which I have been fortunateenough to participate. Norton was a natural-bornpirate, and he looked the part. He was then aboutforty years old, five feet, eight inches tall, thin andwiry and possessed of remarkable strength. Hiseyes, hair, beard, and moustache were as black as coal.You could feel his eyes looking through you andwould almost lose a realizing sense of what wasin your mind; it was not hypnotism nor mental orphysical dominance but he could almost read yourmost secret thoughts. He was completely irreligious,cynical, and cold-blooded. Under the most severetests a slight twitching of the eyes was his only signof excitement. He was daring to the supreme degree[80]but never foolishly reckless, and I don’t believe heever experienced the sensation of fear. He was, too,as he needed to be, almost a dead shot in off-handfiring with rifle or pistol, and an expert swordsman.

When I first met him he was wild about the ChinaSea, where he had spent several thrilling years andmade several fortunes, only to lose them as soon ashe could find a gambling house, for he was a farofiend of the most virulent type. He declared that wasthe only part of the world for us, with regard bothto excitement and money, and suggested that we forma partnership and go out there “to do anything thatcame handy.” Though I had spent money like theproverbial drunken sailor, or worse, for I was bornwith all the tastes of an aristocrat, I was then worthseveral hundred thousand dollars, while Norton wasworth nothing, so I could not quite see a partnershipsuch as he had in mind. Nor was he able to temptme away from Venezuela. I had heard so much ofthat country and of Guzman Blanco that my heartwas set on going there before I undertook to exploreany other strange lands. The upshot of our manydiscussions was that I sent Norton to London to takecommand of the “Leckwith” until I was ready tojoin him, when it was agreed we should go out in theyacht to his beloved China Sea. I had brought Lars[81]Lorensen, the former sailing master of the “Leckwith”and a brave and loyal Norseman, with me fromthe other side, as I expected to have need of him inSouth America.

After Norton’s departure I bought the fore and aftschooner yacht “Juliette,” about eighty tons, fittedher out at New London, Connecticut, for a sixmonths’ cruise, and with Lorensen as sailing master,started for Bermuda to test her seaworthiness. Wereached there in five days and proceeded to St.Thomas, where I hoped to find Guzman Blanco. Hewas not there so we went on to Curacoa, which wasthen, as it has been ever since, a revolutionaryrendezvous. We arrived there in the latter part ofDecember. I found that Guzman was there, andJames Faxon, the American consul, introduced me tohim at the Willemstad Club, where he was playingbilliards with Gen. Pulgar, his chief-of-staff. Beforemeeting him I had familiarized myself with recentVenezuelan history, as far as it concerned him. Ilearned that Guzman Blanco’s father, Dr. AntonioGuzman, began political life as private secretary toSimon Bolivar, the famous “Liberator,” and had beenprominent in Venezuelan politics for fifty years. Heaided in the election of Jose Tadeo Monagas to thepresidency and at his request his son, Guzman Blanco,[82]was appointed Secretary of Legation at Washington,where he lived during 1856 and 1857. In the latteryear Dr. Guzman had a row with Monagas and wasexpelled from the country. He went to St. Thomasand was soon joined by his son. There they met Gen.Falcon, who too had been banished by Monagas andwas planning a revolt. When Falcon invaded Venezuelain 1859, in what became known as the “FiveYears’ War,” Guzman Blanco went with him. In asuccession of brilliant victories young Guzmandemonstrated his great bravery and military geniusand he soon was at the head of a division, later becomingsecond in command. Falcon entered Caracasin triumph in April, 1863, after devastating most ofthe country, and was elected President, with GuzmanBlanco as Vice-President. In addition to this titleGuzman was made Minister of Finance and of ForeignRelations, and in 1864, and again in 1867, hewent to Europe to settle the national debt andarrange a new loan. While he was away the secondtime the old Monagas faction came back to life withenough strength to force Falcon to abandon Caracas,and when Guzman returned from London in 1868 amob surrounded his house and stoned it. He fled toEurope. He had just returned and was planning aninvasion of Venezuela when I met him.

[83]I told him of my efforts the year before to meethim in London and Paris and their purpose; that Iwas running contraband, more to satisfy my love ofadventure than as a business, and I believed I couldbe useful to him; that South America was prolific ofrevolutions and I was ambitious to have a hand inthem. After he had studied me, asked all sorts ofquestions, and apparently satisfied himself that Icould be relied on, Guzman told me, in a general way,of his plans and asked me to secure for him threethousand old Remington rifles and five hundredthousand cartridges and deliver them as quickly aspossible at Curacoa. We sailed for New York theday after the order was given, early in January, andmade the trip in just a month. I bought the armsfrom P. D. Orvis & Co., of Whitehall Street, and wewere on our way back within a week. We made thereturn trip in twenty-eight days and reached Curacoajust before the sunset gun was fired. The entrance tothe harbor at Curacoa is very narrow and in thosedays it was, and I believe still is, closed during thenight by a great chain, which was raised at sunsetand lowered at sunrise by a powerful windlass.

I went ashore at once and to the club where, insteadof Guzman Blanco, whom I expected would bewaiting for me, I found Gen. Ortega, who was with[84]Guzman when I first met him and seemed to be fullyin his confidence. Ortega handed me a note, bearingwhat purported to be the signature of Guzman, whichdirected me to deliver the cargo at a place to be indicatedby Ortega, and stated that payment for it wouldbe made on my cabin table. As I was not familiarwith Guzman’s writing I showed the signature toDr. Leon and to old man Jesurun, who owned theshipyard, who knew Guzman well, and both of thempronounced it genuine. I had no suspicion that anythingwas wrong and took this precaution simply asa matter of ordinary business sense. Ortega directedme to deliver the cargo at Tucacas Point, a littlepeninsula about one hundred miles west of La Guaira,and said we must put to sea that night, as Guzmanwas anxiously awaiting the arms. Through exceptionalrepresentations of some sort to the commandantehe secured the lowering of the chain, andwe left at once, arriving off the point the nextevening.

Ortega went ashore and returned with a requestthat I order off the hatches and start the unloadingof the cargo in my boats and then go ashore withhim and get my money. This was not in accord withmy contract with Guzman or with the note Ortegahad handed me, but, though I was reminded of my[85]experiences with Don Carlos, I had great confidencein Guzman and did not wish to offend him, so I readilyconsented to the amended arrangement. As soonas the unloading was well under way I went ashorewith Ortega. We climbed the bluff and walked half amile inland to a mud-thatched hut before which asentry was pacing. Ortega gave the countersign andwe stepped inside, to find Gen. Pulgar, who was chief-of-stafffor Guzman when I was introduced to him atthe Willemstad Club, wrapped in a chinchora andsmoking in a hammock. After shaking hands withhim I asked where Guzman was. He repliedevasively that he was there instead of Guzman. Itold him briefly about my trip, in response to hisqueries, and then asked him for my money, whichOrtega had said was waiting for me. Pulgar smiledand straightened up.

“I told Ortega to deliver that message to you,”he said, “but there is no use mincing words and Imay as well tell you that you are my prisoner. Yourcargo is being taken care of and will be put to a verydifferent purpose from that which you expected. AsI have said, you are my prisoner but I have an offerto make you which, if you accept it, will be to youradvantage. Guzman is not an old friend of yours andif you make a profit on your arms it can’t make much[86]difference to you whether you serve him or me. Ifyou will join my forces, of your own free will, I willmake you a colonel and give you command of a battalionand when the revolution is over I will pay youfor your rifles, just as Guzman agreed to do.”

“You seem to forget,” I replied, “that I have acontract with Gen. Guzman which, as an honorableman, I can’t go back on.”

“Well, you don’t appear to be in a very good positionjust now to carry it out, do you?” he asked.

I again inquired where Guzman was but a shrug ofthe shoulders was the only answer I could get toquestions along that line. Not knowing as muchabout Venezuelan revolutions then as I did later Icould not fathom this strange situation to my entiresatisfaction, but it was my guess that in some wayPulgar had become arrayed against Guzman, and itturned out that I was right.

I told Pulgar that I would give him an answer atgunfire, in the morning, and spent the night withOrtega, under guard. I tried to draw him out but,evidently according to orders, he would not even talkabout the weather.

At sunrise we went to see Pulgar. When askedfor my decision I inquired what the result would beif his revolution failed.

[87]“Then I am sorry, my dear Captain, but you willlose your cargo, while I will lose my life, which is ofinfinitely more importance to me. But the revolutionwill not fail,” he vehemently declared.

As though impressed by his confidence in himself,I announced that I would take a chance with him andaccept his offer, with a mental reservation to escapeat the first opportunity, for I did not propose to fightagainst Guzman, and that, I was convinced, was whatit amounted to.

“That is excellent,” he said, with the suggestionof a bow. After coffee I went with him to inspect histroops. He had about three thousand men, many ofwhom were already armed with the rifles I hadbrought in, and they were strung across the narrowarm of the peninsula in a line almost as ragged astheir clothes. I was formally given command of abattalion of three hundred men, and an Indian servant,—Iafterward found he had orders to shoot me ifI attempted to escape,—was assigned to me. I accompaniedPulgar back to his headquarters, where Iwas given an old sword and the tarnished shoulderstraps of a colonel, these constituting my uniform.

“Now that you have allied yourself with myforces,” he then said, “you will have no use for yourship, for the present at least. She is still lying in the[88]bay and if she remains there she is likely to be capturedor cause trouble. You will therefore write anote to the officer in charge of her directing him toproceed to Curacoa and await orders. She will besafe there and,” with a quizzical smile, “you will besafe here. We have no boats but we will signal yourship from the beach that we have word for it.”

I had been expecting this command and, as therewas nothing else for me to do, I complied with it atonce. It was cutting off my only hope of rescue,though a forlorn one as I was forced to admit, but theadventure which the situation promised to developwas getting into my blood and, to tell the truth, Irather liked the idea of being left to my own resourcesamid such strange surroundings. Pulgar had toldme during the inspection of his camp that we wouldprobably soon be in action, as “some” troops wereadvancing on him, and if they did not attack himbefore he was ready to march, he would go out tomeet them. He preferred that they should bring thefight to him for all of his men were recruited from thatsection and knew every foot of the country. When Icame to know Venezuela I appreciated that Pulgarrequired no great prestige to gain a considerable followingin that part of the country, for it was a veritablehotbed of revolution, ranking with Maturin in[89]the east and Barquisimeto in the southwest,—threekegs of powder that could be set off by almost anyman who had two legs and a sword.

I started in to drill my troops with the idea of makingthem a really effective fighting force, but it wasthe most difficult task I had ever undertaken. Theywere lazy to a degree that passes the understandingof an Anglo-Saxon and they had not the slightestdesire to learn even the first principles of the scienceof war, as it is understood outside of South America.I had been trying to whip them, and others, into somesort of shape for about a week when word wasbrought in one morning that the enemy was approaching.We had no advance guard out, though I hadtried to induce Pulgar to post one, and a few minutesafter the scouts had been driven in the action becamegeneral, with the forces apparently about evenlymatched in numbers. Instead of allowing me to leadmy battalion, Pulgar ordered me to remain with himon a little knoll in the rear, from which he made apretence of directing his forces. He could have accomplishedmuch more in front, for what his menneeded was a leader, not a director. They were fightingin Indian fashion, with every man shootingindiscriminately from behind a tree or log, and theypaid no attention to commands. I will say for them,[90]though, that they fought hard and stubbornly, butthey were gradually driven back, and Pulgar, who hada terrible temper, was furious. All at once the opposingtroops were largely reinforced and came with arush which quickly converted our orderly retreat intoa rout. Pulgar, cursing like a madman, dashed madlyinto the disorganized mass of his liberty-loving louts,with Ortega and the rest of his staff at his heels.

I was left alone and was hesitating as to what Ishould do when my Indian servant tugged at mytrousers leg. “Follow me, Colonel,” he said, “I knowwhere there is a boat.” He started off at the runand covered ground so fast that I had to gallop myhorse to keep up with him. He led the way to thebeach near where my cargo had been landed andpushed a native boat from under a clump of mangrovetrees. We jumped in and shoved off in a hurry, forOrtega and several of his men had just appeared onthe bluff above us and were making for us. Therewere no oars in the boat but we pulled a board loosefrom the bottom and used it as a paddle. A strongcurrent from the east swept us clear of the peninsulaand out to sea; but I was not alarmed, for I figuredthat we would soon be in the path of coasting vessels.Scattered rifle patter reached us for a long time, indicatingthat my former comrades-in-arms were being[91]ignominiously chased around in a way that must havebeen most discouraging to Pulgar. Toward themiddle of the afternoon, as we were trying to workin toward the land, the Indian let our paddle get awayfrom him, which left us entirely at the mercy of theelements, and I suspected that we might have faredbetter if we had stayed on shore.

We drifted around for three days and nights withoutso much as a glimpse of a distant sail, and withoutan ounce of food or a mouthful of water, saveonly such as we were able to suck out of our clothesduring and after a providential rain that fell on thesecond night. On the morning of the fourth day afog lifted and close to us was a fleet of fishermenfrom the island of Oruba, twenty miles to the westwardof Curacoa. They took us to their island andafter we had rested and eaten for two days a fishingboat took us to Curacoa. There I learned fromConsul Faxon what had happened in Venezuela.Guzman’s plans had worked out more rapidly thanhe anticipated when he sent me to New York forarms, and he landed in Venezuela early in Februaryat the head of a small force but with a large armywaiting for him. The old Liberals flocked to hisstandard and with only slight resistance he enteredCaracas and proclaimed himself Dictator. His victory[92]was so easily achieved and was so largely a personalone that he did not give to Pulgar the reward towhich that general considered himself entitled, and thelatter immediately started a new revolution.

When I told Faxon the manner in which I hadbeen imposed on and how I had been impressed intoPulgar’s service, he advised me to go to Caracas atonce and tell President Guzman the whole story.Though somewhat dubious as to the result, becauseof the fear that Guzman would be skeptical, and perhapsbrutal, I followed his advice and went on thenext steamer. The same ship carried a letter to Guzmanfrom Faxon in which he told him of my experiencesand of the precautions I had taken to verify thesignature to the order Ortega had given me on myarrival with the arms. From the effect which thisletter produced I judge that Faxon also said somevery complimentary things about me, but I never hadan opportunity to thank him, for he died before I wasin Curacoa again.

I called on Guzman after I knew he had receivedFaxon’s letter, and was welcomed with marked cordiality.“Tell me your whole story,” he said, “butlet me assure you, it is believed before it is told.”His face took on an ugly look when I told him howOrtega had tricked me with the forged order and he[93]interrupted me to say that he had sent an officer toCuracoa to await the “Juliette” and direct me todeliver the arms at La Guaira. This officer’s failureto get to me in advance of Ortega had not been satisfactorilyexplained and had, Guzman said, beenseverely punished. It was evident that he suspectedcollusion between his agent and Ortega.

When I had finished Guzman told me he was surroundedby men whom he either suspected orhesitated to trust. He wanted a man whom he couldrely on implicitly to watch for evidences of treacheryamong those around him, and he was kind enough tosay he thought me the man for whom he had beenlooking. He asked me to remain in Caracas for an indefinitetime, to mix freely with his entourage andbecome intimately acquainted with them and ascertainwho could be trusted and who were doubtful. Icould pose as an American who was studying thecountry with the idea of making investments, whichwould explain my interest in things and my desire tocultivate the members of his court. I spoke Spanishwell and could also converse easily enough in French,though that language was little used except amongthe diplomats.

I accepted his invitation gladly and a part of thetime that I was in Caracas I spent at the Yellow[94]House, the residence of the President, as his guest.Guzman was the handsomest man I have ever known;tall and as straight as a sword, with long black beardand dark eyes, sharp as needles, that could flash fireor friendship. He was magnetic and winning to thelast degree and every inch a ruler of men, withoutthe faintest notion as to what fear meant. Duringthe nearly twenty years that he was absolute rulerof Venezuela his temper was the thing most dreadedthrough all the land. I have seen grizzled generals,descended from the best families of old Spain, turnalmost white at the sign of his anger.

Himself a pure Castiliano, he regarded the nativeVenezuelanos as a vastly inferior race, thereby furnishinganother illustration of his good judgment,and there was much of contempt in his attitudetoward them. Many times, when they had incurredhis displeasure by a display of cowardice or someother fault, I have heard him abuse a quailing crowdof the highest officers in the Venezuelan Army in languagemuch more vigorous and profane than anAmerican policeman would use to a gang of hoodlums.“You are not worth a damn,” he would alwaystell them in conclusion, “except in proportion to theamount of foreign blood that is in you.” Yet untilthe day when he was treacherously overthrown, to[95]the great loss of Venezuela, no criticism of his wasever resented nor was there ever a whisper of protest.The people knew their master.

One of the first whom Guzman asked me closely toobserve was a young Indian officer named JoachimCrespo, an aide attached to his household. I reportedthat he could be implicitly trusted, and knowledge ofthat fact helped me out of a scrape years later, whenCrespo was President of Venezuela.

Not more than ten days after my arrival in CaracasGuzman asked me to be in his private sala at teno’clock the next morning, to meet an old friend. Atthe appointed hour the Governor of the Casa Publicacame in, with a few officers, escorting none other thanGen. Vicento Pulgar, who had put to his service mycargo of arms. Pulgar was in full uniform and borehimself like a hero. His manner was almost contemptuousand his expression was one of amused curiosityrather than fear.

Guzman made him a courtly bow and extended hishand, which Pulgar reluctantly accepted.

“This is an unexpected pleasure,” Guzman said.

“I dare say it is to you, General, but here I am, atyour service.”

“I hope you are here as a friend.”

[96]“Whatever General Guzman desires must necessarilybe accepted as an accomplished fact.”

Guzman turned to the Governor and asked him theoccasion for the call. The Governor replied that theyhad brought General Pulgar as a prisoner of war.

“Prisoner!” exclaimed Guzman with profoundastonishment. “My friend General Pulgar a prisoner!If that is the purpose of your visit you mayretire.”

After the officers had departed Guzman turned toPulgar with a more serious air. “You will be myguest in Caracas until such time as I need you elsewhere,”he said. “I will be pleased to receive a callfrom you every day.”

Pulgar bowed; no other parole was necessary.

That was Guzman’s way of doing things and it waswell understood, especially by men of intellect likePulgar. No firmer hand than Guzman’s ever ruledbut it was ordinarily encased in a velvet glove. Hisbare hand, which was displayed only when extremeconditions demanded, was a sign of terror.

As Pulgar was leaving he stopped and congratulatedme on my safe trip to Caracas. I thankedhim, with the same politeness. Neither of us alludedto his seizure of my arms or to my enforced service[97]with him. Pulgar and I subsequently became goodfriends.

I congratulated Guzman on his diplomacy and hisshrewd effort to turn a powerful enemy into a usefulfriend, though I doubted if he would succeed.

“If I and my good adviser, Captain Boynton, cannotpull the claws of the General, we will have to takethe consequences,” he said. From that I understoodthat I was to keep close watch of Pulgar and reportdaily, which I did. Everything that I saw and heardindicated that Guzman’s diplomacy would fail.Pulgar told his friends openly that while Guzmanseemed very friendly he was not deceived and wouldkill him at the first opportunity. “Well, he’ll haveplenty of opportunity,” said Guzman with a laughwhen I reported this to him.

There was a reception at the Yellow House a fewnights later. Pulgar was invited and was present.Guzman soon found an opportunity to engage him inconversation. “I have already found that beingPresident of Venezuela has its objectionable features,”sighed Guzman after they had chattedlightly for a few minutes. “One has to listento so many ridiculous tales. For instance, I haveheard many foolish stories about you, one of them[98]being an alleged threat to kill me the first time youhave a chance.”

“I don’t know about the others, but I did saythat,” replied Pulgar.

Guzman shrugged his shoulders, as though wearied.“How often,” he responded, “we say we are going todo things which we may think we will do but whichwe never do do.”

“When I get an opportunity that a gentlemancan take advantage of, I intend to kill you, GeneralGuzman,” said Pulgar, still smiling.

“Let that be the understanding then,” answeredGuzman as he walked away, without displaying theslightest concern.

The very next day Guzman sent Pulgar an invitationto come to the palace at three o’clock and godriving with him. Contrary to his custom he orderedthat no guards accompany them. They had not gonea quarter of a mile when one of the front wheelscame off and both of them were thrown out in aheap. As they disentangled themselves Pulgar drewa revolver but it was not well out of his pocket beforeGuzman had him covered with his pistol.

“Ah, you were prepared for me, I see, General,”said Pulgar.

[99]“I am always prepared for friends and enemiesalike,” replied Guzman.

They put up their weapons and walked back to thepalace.

“I am sorry our ride was so short,” said Guzman.

“It was long enough,” was Pulgar’s reply, “to convertan enemy into a friend.”

“In that case it has been truly delightful,” respondedGuzman. They shook hands and that wasthe end of the Pulgar revolution.

Peace palled on Pulgar and he died not long afterward.As was his right he had the largest funeralever seen in Venezuela. Without exception he wasthe bravest man I have ever known. He had all ofFrank Norton’s daring and added to it what seemedto be a foolhardy recklessness that times withoutnumber carried him right up against old Graybeard’sscythe, yet he always knew the chances he was takingand coolly calculated them. When he was strippedhe looked as though he had been run through athreshing machine. From head to foot he was coveredwith scars left by knives, swords, and bullets ofall sizes. In an assault on the fortress at PortoCabello, years before I knew him, he climbed into anembrasure and over the mouth of a cannon just as itwas fired. Had he been a second later he would have[100]been blown to pieces. The explosion burned nearlyall the flesh off his legs and reduced them to pipe-stems.He was a tall, handsome man of pure Castilianblood; a revolutionist by birth, breeding,education, and occupation, and his one ambition wasto be President of Venezuela. I doubt if that countrywill ever produce another just like him.

It was known that Guzman favored the introductionof foreign capital to develop the wonderfulresources of Venezuela, the full extent of which isnot even yet understood, and Caracas was soon over-runwith concession hunters. Many of them soughtmy support and offered me all sorts of inducements,but I told all of them that I had no influence withGuzman and would not use it if I had, in such waysas they desired. I always advised Guzman fully as towhom the concession hunters were and what theywanted. One of those on whom I thus reported wasCyrenius Fitzgerald, an American civil engineer, whosought a concession covering the delta of the Orinocoand a considerable distance up the river, which sectionthen was an unknown land. Guzman wanted areport on it and asked me to visit it, which I did, incompany with Fitzgerald and an English engineernamed Tucker, who was there making a survey forthe railroad which subsequently was built between[101]Caracas and La Guaira. We made the trip on theold government boat “Bolivar,” being away twomonths and going up the Orinoco as far as CiudadBolivar. We went over much of the territory includedin the proposed concession and explored manyuncharted passages in the delta of the river whichhad long been safe havens for revolutionists andsmugglers. I became enchanted with the country,which was rich in minerals and valuable woods. Inreporting to Guzman and talking with him about theproject, I found that he was to receive a large blockof stock in the enterprise. This concession finallywas granted by Guzman in 1883, without any solicitationfrom me, and thirteen years later it wasdecreed by fate that I should become manager of theproperty for the Orinoco Company, Limited, whichis now known as the Orinoco Corporation.



I  HAD been with Guzman Blanco for about a yearafter he proclaimed himself Dictator of Venezuela,on February 14, 1871, when I began to grow restlessagain. This was in no sense due to any fault I hadto find with Guzman. He had treated me with everymark of friendship and had proved, time and again,that I possessed his entire confidence. He had paidme fifty thousand dollars for the cargo of arms whichPulgar secured through Ortega’s forgery and hadbeen liberal in other financial matters, though I wouldnot accept any direct payment for my confidentialservices, as I considered myself, in a sense, his guest.But, under the strong hand of Guzman, things weresettling down to a humdrum, and I rebelled againstpeace and order and fretted under the restraint of theland. At sea I could go where I pleased, when Ipleased, and do what I pleased; on shore, except forthe Yellow House and the evening social events, allof which were alike, my time was largely dividedbetween Madam Santa Amand’s hotel in Caracas andthe old Posada Neptuno in La Guaira, and my movements[103]were circ*mscribed by the part I was playing.Then, too, revolutions were popping in Central America,according to the reports that reached Caracas,and I felt that I was missing a lot of excitement andsome business. This latter consideration entered intomy thoughts not largely, and at all only because myexpenses were greatly in excess of the amounts Ireceived from Guzman in roundabout ways. In thosedays and for years afterward, I gratified my foolishlyextravagant tastes without any regard to the cost ofthings; it is only within recent years that I have cometo understand that money has a value.

With my whole nature clamoring for a change tomore strenuous scenes I put the situation up toGuzman and secured his permission to go away, onthe promise that I would return within six months.I summoned the “Juliette” from Curacoa and setsail for England, for the double purpose of securinga cargo of arms, with which to add to the joy of livingin Central America, and looking up Frank Norton,who had so well planted within me the germ of hisChina Sea insanity that it was taking root. Withthe good little ship heeled over to the steady tradewinds that fanned my dusky cheek, lovingly as Ifancied in my enthusiasm, and with the waters thatare nowhere else so blue murmuring a welcome back[104]to them, I was again a rover of the sea and myexultant soul joined in the lyric chorus of the rigging.

We stopped at St. Thomas, that haven of thieves,blacklegs, and revolutionists, and there I met GeneralBaez, brother of Buenaventura Baez, President ofSanto Domingo, and his Minister of War. BuenaventuraBaez was one of the most interestingcharacters the romantic West Indies have produced.He was the son of a rich mulatto and was born earlyin the last century. He coöperated with GeneralSantana in establishing the independence of SantoDomingo and was President from 1849 to 1853, whenhe was supplanted by Santana, who expelled himfrom the island. Santana was deposed three yearslater and Baez, who had spent the interval in NewYork, resumed the presidency. Two years later hewas once more ousted by Santana and forced to liveabroad until 1865, when he again assumed the presidency.In 1866 General Pimental headed a successfulrevolt in favor of General Cabral, and Baez was banisheda third time, going to St. Thomas. His starwas in eclipse only a short while, however, for thefollowing year he again fought his way to the presidentialchair. In the latter part of 1869 he signed twotreaties with President Grant, one for the cession ofSamana Bay, which probably is the most beautiful[105]harbor in the West Indies and was wanted by ourNavy Department for years before these treaties weresigned and for many years afterward, and the otherfor the annexation of the whole island of SantoDomingo to the United States. The people of SantoDomingo approved both of these conventions at anelection decreed by Baez in February, 1870, and heldunder the guns of an American warship, but theUnited States Senate refused to ratify either treaty.President Grant believed strongly in this annexation,wherein he showed his farsightedness, and a commissionwhich he sent to the island reported, in theSpring of 1871, in favor of the treaty; but sentimentin the Senate was decidedly against it and the measurewas not pressed.

If Grant could have lived until to-day he would findconsiderable satisfaction in the protectorate theUnited States has assumed over Santo Domingo,which really amounts to American control. Thesame course must be taken with helpless Hayti, andit may well be that before these lines are read theadministration of the finances of the “Black Republic”will have been taken over by American officers;and the American minister, acting under orders fromWashington, will be the real ruler of the land, as heis in Santo Domingo. Let me digress here to express[106]the conviction that within ten years every Europeanpossession in the West Indies, with the possible exceptionof Barbadoes, will come under the Stars andStripes. Even if economic conditions do not compelthis change, as they would do sooner or later, it willbe made necessary by the completion of the PanamaCanal. The United States, though seldom given toany riotous display of good sense, is still too wise anation to permit a foreign power to have a naval basealmost within gunshot of Colon, from which it couldstrike a quick and destructive blow at the inter-oceanicwaterway.

Conditions are ripe for the change. England hasmade a failure of governing her islands and, in advanceof formal retirement, has abandoned her greatnaval station at Saint Lucia, on which millions ofpounds were spent, and withdrawn her warships fromthe Caribbean. The Danish Islands are a heavy andcontinuous drain on the Copenhagen treasury thatcannot be maintained for many years longer, andWashington years ago, through clear-visioned JohnHay, served formal notice on Denmark that the saleof these islands to any nation except the UnitedStates would be regarded as an unfriendly act. Itwas the determination then to keep these islandsaway from the outstretched hands of Germany, because[107]of their proximity to South America, and thereare many more reasons now to prevent their transferto any foreign power. They are so largely owned byAmericans that they are practically Americancolonies to-day. The French Islands are the mostprosperous of all, but only because of a bounty onsugar which the national government is anxious todrop. Holland has no reason for retaining herislands, which are an expense to which no gloryattaches. Under American ownership these beautyspots would be restored to their old-time prosperityand no one knows this so well as the islanders themselves.In my judgment it is a matter of only a comparativelyfew years until England, France, Denmark,and the Netherlands will enter into some arrangement,the details of which I do not attempt to predict,by which all of their Caribbean islands willbe turned over to the United States. The only possibleexception is Barbadoes, which England maywish to retain as a midway station on her commercialhighway to South America, but as that poverty-strickenislet, which has twice disappeared under thesea and then bobbed up again, has no port that couldbe defended, there might be no objection to such aplan. Cuba is certain to become an American possession,for the Cubans are as incapable of self-government[108]as are the Filipinos, and if Santo Domingoand Hayti are not recognized as children of theUnited States, they will be its wards. The UnitedStates, too, must take a larger hand in the affairs ofCentral America and Venezuela. The Monroe Doctrinecannot run on one wheel. At the same time thatit protects the Latin-American countries from Europeanaggression, it must compel them to pay theirdebts and maintain order. I am glad, however, thatthis theory did not obtain in the old days, for itwould have robbed me of many exciting episodes.

The defeat of Grant’s annexation project gavePimental and Cabral an excuse for starting a newrevolution, and they were beginning to show theirhand when I ran into General Baez at St. Thomas.He knew of my association with Guzman Blanco andat once approached me with a proposition to go toSanto Domingo to aid his brother in the troubleshe foresaw. He also suggested that I might undertakea mission to America or Europe in relation tothe readjustment of the debts of the island, whicheven then were becoming burdensome and a sourceof much anxiety to the party in power, because ofthe insistent belief of the creditors that they wereentitled to their money when it was due. I told him Iknew nothing at all about finances but that, if I could[109]get an extension of leave from Guzman, I would considerany practical plan that promised excitement.He said he would consult with his brother and writeme at Caracas.

We went on to London, where I learned that Nortonwas in the Mediterranean with the “Leckwith,”impatiently carrying general cargoes. I left word forhim with Nickell & Son that I expected soon to beready to go out East with him, took on a cargo of armsand headed for Costa Rica, where I had informationthat a revolution was hatching against Gen. TomasoGuardia, who had recently come into power. For thistrip, I remember, I took the name of “Captain JohnF. Kinnear.” We had some trouble in getting away,for the British Government was still dead set againstfilibustering, and in the hope of removing all suspicionI gave our destination as Kingston, Jamaica,though I had no idea of stopping there. I gave theship a new set of papers, showing British registry,and was, of course, flying the British flag.

We ran into bad weather in the Caribbean and wereforced, after all, to put in at Kingston, leaking badly.The ship was so opened up, in fact, that she had tobe recalked and have a few new planks, whichnecessitated putting her in dry dock. The port regulationsstipulated that when a ship went in dry[110]dock a general cargo could be left in her, at the optionand risk of the owner, but that all explosives andmunitions of war must be taken out and stored in thegovernment arsenal, or in some place selected by thecommandant. There was nothing for it but to takeout our cargo, and five days were consumed in loadingand repairing the ship. I had the work hurried withall possible speed, for the mail ship from England wasdue in nine days after our arrival and I was fearfulthat she would bring an order for our detention, which,as a matter of fact, she did, as I learned years afterward.When the repairs were completed the governorof the island refused to allow us to reload ourcargo, as he had an intimation that the ship was notwhat she pretended to be. This hint, it developedlater, came from Jimmy Donovan, a “sea lawyer”whom I had shipped at the last minute in the hurryof getting away from London. He made what isknown on the sea as a “pier-head jump.” On thefourth day I prevailed on the governor to allow usto take on our cargo, but he insisted that the shipmust be held, with both anchors down, until furtherorders. I decided that we would go out that nightand so informed Lorensen, the sailing master.Knowing me even as well as he did he laughed incredulously,thinking I was joking, for the channel[111]through the harbor was shaped like the letter “S” andcommanded by a fort which could, as he said, blowus out of the water without half trying.

“Just the same,” I said, “we are going to sea orto hell to-night.”

“All right, Captain, but it will be to hell, if I amany judge,” was the quiet reply of the game Lorensen,than whom a braver or better seaman neverwalked a deck. During the evening he greased all ofthe blocks so we could start on our problematicaljourney without any noise. The moon went down atmidnight and before it was out of sight we had oneanchor up, with a muffled capstan. We were gettingup the other when the harbor policeman camealong. A few Bank of England notes blinded himand we got under way, with two of the ship’s boatstowing us and the tide helping us along. Evidentlythe fort had orders to look out for us but we caughtthem napping, apparently, for we were almost past itwhen we were hailed and ordered to stop. In a minute,without giving us a decent chance to heave to,even had we been so inclined, they whanged away atus. The second shot went clear through us, justbelow the waterway, and Lorensen, who was withme at the wheel, exclaimed grimly, “Here we go,Captain.”

[112]But he was mistaken, for in the darkness theirgunnery was not up to the standard of Britishmarksmanship, for which I have a wholesome respect.They kept at it hard enough but all of their shotswent wild, except for one that punched a hole in theport bulwarks forward, though from the way theshells whistled I have no doubt our canvas wouldhave been punctured many times, had it been up.We were soon under cover of the Myrtle Bank Hoteland after that two ships protected us until we werefar enough away so that only a chance shot couldreach us. When we were well enough out in the harborso that we could manœuvre and get the full effectof the light breeze that was blowing over the saltflats, we set all of our sails and pulled away.

At daylight I had the carpenter at work fixing upthe little damage the fort had done us, and it waswell that we were quick about it for during the afternoonwe met the old warship “Bellerephon,” whichwas attached to that station, coming in from a triparound the island ten days ahead of time. We werepreparing to salute her when she stopped and hoveus to with a blank shot. I don’t think I have everbeen more surprised, for there was no wireless telegraphin those days and I could not conceive how shehad gotten word that we were suspected of filibustering.[113]While I was racking my brain for some solutionof the problem Lorensen ran forward, leanedout over the side, and came back and reported thatthere was a blue shirt under the bobstay. Thatexplained it, for in those days it was an unwritten lawin the British Navy that when a sailor on a merchantship had any pronounced complaint to make, regardingeither his own treatment or general conditions onthe vessel, he would hang a shirt in the chains, underthe bowsprit, where it would not be seen by theofficers unless they were looking for it, as a signal toany warship they met that there was somethingwrong on board. Whenever and wherever a warshipsaw a shirt fluttering under the bobstay the vesselwas held up and carefully investigated.

I suspected at once that it was Jimmy Donovanwho had hung out the shirt, and I had him buckedand gagged and stowed away in the hold before hecould have said “Jack Robinson.” Then, quickly, Imade an entry on the log which showed that he hadbeen left in the hospital at Kingston, with perniciousfever. By that time the lieutenant from the “Bellerephon”was alongside. When he came aboard Iassumed a look of injured innocence and profoundsurprise. He ordered me to muster the crew aft andcalled for my papers. To my great satisfaction he[114]merely glanced at the certificate of registry, whichwas forged, and centred his attention on the crew list.The men answered to their names as he called themoff. When he came to Donovan I explained thathe had been taken sick at Kingston and left there,and produced the log, which satisfied him.

“Who among you has any complaint to make?”he asked of the men. There was no response, and herepeated the question.

“Don’t be afraid,” he encouraged them. “The‘Bellerephon’ will protect you. If you have any complaintto make, step out and make it. We will seethat you get fair play and, if necessary, take you onboard.”

No one moved, and after waiting some time thelieutenant turned to me with the remark that everythingseemed to be all right. I told him I had heardof no complaints from any of the men and asked whythey had “stood us up.”

“Why, there is a shirt out forward,” he explained.I suggested that perhaps some of the crew had beenwashing. Hearing my remark a quick-witted fellownamed Bill Johnson, who had shipped on my firsttrip with the “Juliette,” stepped out and said he hadwashed his shirt that morning and hung it in thechains to dry, without knowing that it meant anything.[115]“I’ve been a sailor for a good many years butthat is one signal I never heard of before,” he said.

“Is that true, Bill?” asked the lieutenant withwhat seemed like just a shade of suspicion.

“It is, sir,” replied Bill with the steady gaze of anhonest man.

“He is a ‘True Bill’ all right,” I told the youngofficer as I shot a grateful look at the grizzled sailorthat meant a raise in wages. “He is the oldest manon the ship and one of the best. That shirt signal isa new one on me, too, and I thought I knew all thesigns of the sea.”

“Very good, sir,” he replied. “It is quite evidentlya mistake.”

He then returned to the “Bellerephon,” whichanswered our salute, and we squared away for CostaRica. My mind was free from any further fear ofcapture, for a stiff breeze was singing over our quarter,and I knew by the time the old warship could getto Kingston and start after us again we would be wellout of reach. As soon as she was hull down I musteredthe crew aft and complimented Bill on hisready wit and rewarded it. He was with me foryears after that and was never known by any othername than “True Bill.”

I then reminded the men that, in accordance with[116]my invariable rule when running contraband, I hadtold all of them the exact nature of our voyage beforewe were out of sight of land and had offered to setashore any who did not wish to undertake it, whilethose who stayed with me were to receive doublepay, and a bonus out of the profits in addition, inconsideration of the hazardous nature of the trip.

“Therefore,” I told them, “the treachery of Donovanhas not only endangered your extra pay andbonus but also placed your freedom in jeopardy. Ashe was one of your number I will turn him over toyou for such punishment as you think his casedeserves. I, of course, reserve the right to review yourverdict, but I do not believe you will be too lenientwith him.” The crew welcomed this announcementwith cheers, which could not be regarded as a goodomen for the traitor, and a court-martial wasorganized, with the “bos’n” at the head of it.

Donovan confessed when he was brought beforethe court, whereupon it was unanimously andspeedily decided that he should run the gantlet andbe marooned, which verdict I approved, for I believedit to be none too severe. The crew prepared for thefirst ceremony by knotting a lot of rope ends andtarring them until they were as hard as iron butflexible. They then formed in a double line the[117]full length of the ship and as Donovan ran down themiddle of it they laid on so well that he was leavinga trail of blood before he tumbled in a heap at theend. He was then placed in the brig and kept thereuntil we came to a small island off the Costa Ricancoast, on which he was landed with enough waterand provisions to last him a couple of weeks or moreand a flag that he could use to signal any vessel cominghis way. There was not a great deal of traveldown that way in those days and he may still bethere, doing a repetition of the Robinson Crusoe act,though the island was not very large and the boat’screw that landed him reported that they saw no goats.Donovan was helpless from fear when he was loweredinto the boat to be rowed to the island, and beggedfor mercy, but that was something our cargo did notcontain.

The arms we carried were sold to the revolutionistsin Costa Rica, being paid for partly in cash and partlyin coffee, which I sold at Curacoa. From there Ireturned to Venezuela and reported to GuzmanBlanco, after having been away only about fourmonths. Not long after my arrival in Caracas, whereI resumed my old position as confidential agent forGuzman, I received a letter from President Baez askingme to enter his employ, to reorganize his army[118]and aid him in suppressing the revolutionary feelingwhich was being developed by agents for Pimentaland Cabral. He offered to give me a commission asGeneral in the Santo Domingan Army, which he diddo later, and to pay me liberally for my services,which he didn’t do. I replied that I had again associatedmyself with Guzman and that while no lengthof service had been specified, I wished to remain withhim at least a short while, after which I would try toget leave to join the Santo Domingans.

Guzman was paving the way for his election asConstitutional President, which was accomplished thenext year, 1873, and all of his friends were workingto that end. He was supported by a public sentimentthat became practically unanimous, but there were afew who were unalterably opposed to any establishedorder of things and who could not get over the habitof “revoluting,” with or without provocation. Duringthe Fall and Winter these discontented ones graduallydrew together under the leadership of GeneralPulido. Guzman was kept advised as to what theywere doing but their following was so small that itcaused him no uneasiness and, to further strengthenhimself with the people, he determined to take nosteps against them until they came out in the open,when he was prepared to crush them. The moment[119]the rebels raised their banners Guzman took the fieldagainst them, in person. At the head of an army offour thousand veterans he marched to Valencia wherehe met Pulido and routed him, following up his scatteredforces and almost annihilating them, and therevolt was stamped out with one smashing blow.That was the last hand raised against Guzman forseventeen years; during all of that time he was theabsolute dictator of Venezuela. The constitution prohibitedthe President from succeeding himself so heoccupied that office for alternate terms, with anobedient dummy serving in the intervals, which hespent in Europe as Minister Plenipotentiary, directingthe government by mail. His rule was wise andprogressive. Railroads were built, roads improved,schools established, and real religious liberty took theplace of clericalism. He was betrayed, in the end, byhis supposed friends, men whom he had raised toprominence and prosperity. Had he been succeededby a man as strong and able as himself Venezuelawould to-day be the foremost country in SouthAmerica, instead of the one most uncivilized.

Not long after the campaign against Pulido, inwhich I served on Guzman’s staff, I received anotherletter from Baez, urging me to come to SantoDomingo. The same mail brought a letter from Baez[120]to Guzman, asking him to grant me leave of absencefor a few months to enter his service. Guzman wasflattered by this request and with his permission Iwent to Santo Domingo City in the Spring of 1873,on the “Juliette.”



PRESIDENT BAEZ of Santo Domingo was shortand thin and had a washed-out look, as though hisskin had been faded by chemicals instead of by a three-quarters’admixture of white blood. He had large fulleyes that were shifty and insincere. He was cleverbut superficial, cunning and treacherous. Had I seenhim before I went to his cursed country, to reorganizehis army and aid in putting down the growingrevolutionary sentiment, I would have remainedin Venezuela or gone elsewhere in search of adventure,for he looked a coward and provoked distrust.I had heard of him only as a good fighter but thatreputation, I became convinced soon after my firstvisit to the “palace,” had been earned for him by hisformer friends and supporters and was in no sensethe work of his own sword, at least so far as recentyears were concerned. In his earlier days he mighthave displayed more bravery, and he must haveshown some courage to arouse a fighting degree ofloyalty that had four times swept the country, butpresuming that to be true he had gone back greatly[122]with advancing age. He seemed to have convincedthe superstitious mulattoes, with whom the stillmore fanatical full-blooded blacks were always atwar, that he was a real man of destiny whose coursecould not safely be interfered with, and his successivesuccesses probably were due more to that belief thanto any other cause. His brother, the Minister ofWar, had all of the President’s faults in accentuatedform and added to them an inordinate vanity. Hewas jealous of me from the start. He had expectedthat I would recommend to him such changes in the“military establishment” as I thought wise, but Iinsisted on doing things myself and having a freehand, which the President was quite willing to giveme, perhaps because he was suspicious of even hisown brother.

The “army” was, in reality, not much more thanan unorganized body of densely ignorant nativeswho, as practically the only compensation for theirsupposed loyalty, were allowed to carry guns, whichthey did not know how to use. I taught them howto march without getting in each other’s way, how tohandle their arms without shooting themselves, andas much discipline as they were amenable to, but Ifear my efforts did not go much beyond that eventhough they did effect a decided improvement. One[123]of my first recommendations to the President wasthat he buy and fit out two small gunboats with whichto patrol the coast and hold in check such revolutionarycentres as Monte Cristi, under threat of bombardment.They could also be used, as I pointed out,to transport troops quickly to rebelliously inclineddistricts. The President thought well of the plan and,though I advised steamers, he directed that the“Juliette,” for which he agreed to pay a fair price,be converted into such a craft. I ordered five smallrapid-fire guns sent from England to Halifax, NovaScotia, and, the revolutionary spirit seemingly havingsubsided with the improvement in the army, took the“Juliette” there in the Summer of 1873, to have herdecks strengthened and mount the cannon. Wereturned early in the Fall to find that the smoulderingrevolution had burst into a flame and a large forcewas marching on Santo Domingo City, and only afew miles away. When I reached the palace the Presidentand his brother were vehemently but vainly advisingeach other to be brave.

“What shall we do—what shall we do?” demandedthe President as I entered the door.

“It strikes me that it might be a good scheme tofight,” I replied, with no attempt to conceal my disgustat their attitude. “In fact, I should say it is up[124]to us to fight, and fight until we are all bloody, if wehave to.”

“Yes, yes, but where?” queried the trembling chiefexecutive.

“Go out and meet them,” I advised. “They probablywill not be looking for us, as I judge that wouldbe a departure from the established Santo Dominganmethod of warfare, and we may be able to takethem at a disadvantage.”

“No, no,” urged the panic-stricken Minister ofWar, “let us wait until they get into the city andthen bombard them with your guns.”

“Which would mean,” I said, “killing four or fiveof your own people to every one of the enemy. Iam not used to that way of fighting and don’t knowhow to do it.”

They told me there were about three thousand menin the attacking force. We had more than four thousandmen under arms, which gave us the advantageof numbers. The city had no defences worthy thename and I insisted that the thing to do was to gooutside and fight it out in the open, while the doughtyGeneral, who seemed to be seeking delay more thananything else, was in favor of making a rough-and-tumbleof it in the town. The President, who hadimbibed something of American ideas during his[125]three years’ residence in New York, and who hadapparently regained a little of his nerve while wewere canvassing the situation, agreed with me, and,against the continued objections of his brother, wewent out to meet the attacking army.

Gen. Baez commanded our centre and right whileI commanded our left flank. His reason for wantingto postpone the action was quickly apparent, for hewas an arrant coward. He began to give way, beforea force that was inferior in both numbers and discipline,with the firing of the first gun, and fell backso rapidly that before I realized it my command wasflanked and almost cut off, with the sea on one sideof us and the enemy on two others and rapidly closingup the fourth. My men fought surprisingly welluntil they suddenly discovered that they were almostsurrounded, when they promptly went into a panic.Most of them dropped their guns and ran for the city,with an activity of which I had not dreamed themcapable, while nearly all of the others, in regularSouth American fashion, about-faced and joined therebels on the spot. In a few minutes I was captured,along with about a hundred men who were sonumbed by fear that they could neither run nor fight,and had not enough discretion to join the enemy. Iwas furious over the cowardice of Baez and put up[126]the hardest fight I was capable of, with the satisfactionof putting six or eight blacks on a permanentpeace basis, but with my revolver empty and mysword broken I was overwhelmed by the inky cloud.Gen. Baez galloped back to the city and he and hisbewildered brother, the President, had barely time toboard a small schooner and sail for Curacoa before thecapital was in the hands of the rebels. Gen. Ganierd’Aton, a tool of Pimental and Cabral, was at onceproclaimed President, and hailed by the populacewith the customary acclaim.

Instead of being killed at once, as I had expectedto be, I was taken to a small fort on a hill near thetown where, on the trumped-up and altogether falsecharge that I had fomented trouble and brought oncivil war, I was tried by drum-head court-martial andsentenced to be shot at sunrise. The verdict was, ofcourse, dictated by revenge, and execution of it wasdelayed because they wished to gloat over me for awhile. This was a little the most serious predicamentI had ever been in and, with the idea of taking everychance that was open to me rather than with any distincthope that it would be answered, I gave the grandhailing sign of a powerful secret order which I hadjoined while in Caracas. I thought I saw a sergeantraise his eyes but, as he gave no further sign, I concluded[127]that if there had been any movement it hadbeen one of surprise and not of recognition. I wasplaced in a large sala with windows opening on thecourtyard and blank walls on the other three sides.The windows were barred and after satisfying myselfthat they were secure, and that there was no way ofescape, I laid down and smoked, reflecting that if mytime had come there was no way of interfering withthe programme scheduled for the break of day. Thesoldiers were drinking and celebrating their victorywith shouts and songs, which lessened in volume andvehemence as the night wore on, but two sentries whopaced back and forth in front of my room and met underone of the windows religiously kept sober. Nowand then a drunken coterie would press their dirtyfaces against the bars to hurl at me denunciatorybursts of Spanish eloquence, to which I vigorously replied,but these enlivening visits grew less and lessfrequent, as the consumption of tafia rum increased.

Along about three o’clock, just as I had about madeup my mind that in a couple of hours I would bedue to start on an indefinite exploration into regionsabout which nothing is known except that notraveller ever returns from them, I heard a shortscuffle at each end of the path the sentries werepatrolling and a gurgling noise as though a man was[128]choking. The next moment Lorensen’s voice camesoftly through the door, “Are you in there, Captain?”I assured him that I was.

“Stand away from the door,” he said, and I obeyedthe order with pleasurable alacrity. Three blowswith a log of crutch mahogany taken from a pile inthe courtyard which had been brought in from themountains for export, smashed in the door. Lorensenseized my arm and, led by the sergeant who had,after all, recognized the sign I had made and answeredit, we climbed down a declivity back of the fortand made our way to the shore, where two boatswere waiting for us. The smashing in of the door ofmy prison aroused the drowsy guard and we werehardly well out of the fort before there was a beatingof drums and loud shouts from the few half soberofficers, directed at the soundly sleeping soldiers.They finally mustered a detachment which was sentin pursuit of us, but they were not in a condition tomove rapidly and did not reach the shore until wewere a considerable distance away from it. Theyfired a few shots in the general direction of the seabut as we were in no danger of being hit we did notraise a gun.

When we got out to the “Juliette” I heard the storyof my deliverance. I had been taken prisoner about[129]the middle of the afternoon and it was early in theevening when the death sentence was passed on me.The sergeant, whose name was Alexandro, had understoodmy signal. He went into the city as soon as hecould get away from the fort and, by persistent questioningof the natives, finally ascertained that I was incommand of the American ship lying in the harbor,—forI had not hoisted the Santo Domingan flag on the“Juliette.” He then rowed out to the ship and, aftertelling Lorensen what had happened, through a memberof the crew who could speak Spanish, offeredto lead a rescuing party to the place where I was confined.He said it would be comparatively easy to getme away as only a small body of troops had been leftat the fort, the supply of rum in the city being muchlarger, and they would be helpless from drink.

Lorensen, being a member of the same order, couldwell understand why a white man should have takenthe deep personal interest in my welfare which Alexandromanifested, but he was suspicious that the negrowas seeking to lead him into a trap. He decided,however, to take no chances, so, after warning Alexandrothat he would be the first man killed if heattempted any treachery, Lorensen went ashore withsixteen well-armed men, six of whom were left withthe boats while the others proceeded to the old fort.[130]They surprised the two sentries at the opposite endsof their beat, throttled them and, as the surest meansof preventing an outcry, cut their throats, which accountedfor the gurgling noise I had heard. Thenthey broke in the door of the sala, in which operationthey were obliged to make enough noise to arouse theguard.

Such are the obligations of a great secret order.

Men whom I sent ashore reported that PresidentBaez and his brother had fled and the rebels were infull control of the government, and as soon as it wasday I sailed close in and bombarded the fort wheremy execution was to have taken place. There was agreat helter-skeltering of rum-soaked braves whenthe first shells exploded around their ears, but therewere some who did not get away, and the crumblingwalls came down and buried them. Then we headedfor Venezuela again, after an experience that paid meonly in excitement. I had not drawn a dollar fromBaez and I had been obliged to pay for the changesmade in the “Juliette” and for the guns that werebrought from England, for I could not find a bankerin Halifax who would advance a cent on the letter ofcredit from the great Republic of Santo Domingo.Still, I figured that the experience had furnished meenough excitement to justify its cost. Several years[131]later I met Gen. Baez again in Murphy’s Hotel at St.Thomas but did not see him until he took a good-naturedshot at me. The bullet smashed a pile ofdishes on the arm of a waiter ten feet away from me,and from the start that waiter made I would not besurprised to hear that he is running yet around thehills back of Charlotte Amalia.

At Caracas I found that Guzman had been dulyelected Constitutional President. He was inauguratinga scheme of public improvements, the countryhad settled down to business, and the prospect wasall for long continued peace, which was displeasingto me and I wanted to get away again. However,Guzman had a plan to keep me busy. There was notthen, nor is there now for that matter, a decent mapof Venezuela. It was reported from Paris that aFrenchman had gone up the Orinoco to its headwatersand had found that the Casiquiare River,which empties into it, formed a natural canal connectingwith the Rio Negro, which runs into theAmazon at Manaos, Brazil. Guzman proposed thatI go over this route and seek to verify the Frenchman’sreport. Exploring unknown lands has alwaysbeen as much a passion with me as aiding and abettingrevolutions, and I willingly accepted the commission,but, though I did not tell Guzman so, I had[132]no intention of returning to Caracas. As an evidenceof my appreciation of his friendship I gave him aJurgensen watch, which I had had made to order,and the “Juliette,” just as she stood, sending Lorensenand one or two others to London to work underthe direction of my agents until I should arrive. Heused the good little ship for years as a mail boat betweenLa Guaira and Curacoa. Guzman gave me aDamascus sword of exquisite workmanship, which, notlong afterward, I used with good effect on the piratesof the China Sea.

He wanted the exploration made on a grand scaleand suggested that he send along a detachment ofsoldiers. I convinced him that his plan was impracticable,for a small party could get through muchmore easily than a large one. Late in October I wentto Trinidad to outfit for the trip. There, at the oldIce House Hotel, I met two young Britishers whowere men after my own heart: Dr. Rogers, a richChurch of England clergyman who preferred thelegitimate pleasures of this world to the prospects ofthe next, and Frank Anderson, son of a wealthyGlasgow merchant and a recent graduate of EdinburghUniversity. They had come out to hunt forbig game and were outfitting for a trip up the Orinoco.When I told them where I was going they[133]expressed a great desire to accompany me and Ireadily agreed. I was glad to have such good companionsfor the long and probably dangerous journey,for it was a tradition that there were many “badIndians” far up the river. I was the commandantof the party, Rogers was the scientist, and Andersonthe provider. They had brought out from Englandtwo Peaco*ck collapsible boats and to complete ourfleet I bought an Orinoco lancha, a large flat-bottomedscow with a single enormous sail.

We went up as far as Ciudad Bolivar, the head ofsteam navigation, on the old side-wheeler “Bolivar,”and there took to our boats, which were provisionedfor six months and carried seven natives to do thehard work. There was only a slight current in theriver, which was at low stage as it was then “midsummer”—theirwinter comes with the rainy seasonin our midsummer,—while the steady trade windfrom the Atlantic blew straight upstream, so we madegood progress under sail. It was a lazy trip in theearly stages and a tiresome one, for there were onlya few dirty hamlets along the way and the llanosstretched away on both sides of us in an interminablemonotony. At the confluence of the Apure andArauca Rivers, two hundred and fifty miles aboveCiudad Bolivar, we found a great inland delta, larger[134]and more bewildering than that at the mouth of theOrinoco where there are thirty-six separate channelsthat have been charted. This delta, like the one onthe coast, was formed by the tremendous force andvolume of the “midwinter” floods, which had built upso many islands of soft mud that it was at times difficultfor us to stick to the main stream.

One of our most interesting experiences was at thejunction of the Rio Meta and the Orinoco, one hundredand fifty miles farther on, where we encounteredthe so-called “musical stones,” of which we had heardmarvellous tales from the natives. These are granitecliffs which, we had been told, gave out at sunrisesounds closely resembling the tones of an organ. Thismythical music, as we regarded it, caused us to stayhere several days and finally, on one very cool morning,by placing our ears to the rocks, we distinctlyheard subterranean growls, groans, and whistles,which could without great stretch of the imaginationbe compared to the notes of an organ, though it mustneeds be a wheezy one to make the similarity approximatelyhonest. We all knew something about geologyand, without pretending to give a scientificconclusion, it was our opinion that the sounds werecaused by the hot air of the day, which the rocks retainedduring the night, being driven out by the cool[135]air of the early morning through narrow fissures thatwere partially obstructed by thin layers of mica, lyingat an angle to the general stratification, which servedas reeds. The resultant vibrations were musicalenough to produce a weird sensation as we listenedto them, and it was easy to imagine the effect theywould have on the ignorant and superstitious natives,and the stories for which they furnished a foundation.The Orinoco is navigable as far as the Meta for light-draftsteamers at all seasons of the year, but it maybe centuries before the “musical stones” become anadvertised attraction for tourists.

At Atures, one hundred miles above, and again atMaypures, just beyond, were two rapids around whichour boats had to be carried; but with these exceptionsit was plain sailing, or paddling, until we crossedthe line into Brazil. Another hundred miles beyondthe rapids brought us to the jumping-off place of theworld—the indescribably filthy little hamlet of SanFernando de Atabapo, built where the GuaviareRiver comes down from the mountains of Colombiato join the Orinoco. It is on the border of Venezuelaand Colombia and its population is largely made upof murderers and escaped convicts from both countries,with a few from near-by Brazil. A number ofthe leading citizens undertook to waylay us as we[136]were leaving the place but the only result of theirmisguided effort was that two or three of them receivedwhat the law would have administered if it hadbeen given a chance.

From the time we left Ciudad Bolivar we had beensailing through a veritable wilderness, with humanhabitations few and far between, but after we left SanFernando de Atabapo we travelled through the primevalforest, which came down to the river’s edgeon both sides. Its only inhabitants were widely scatteredIndians, who were inquisitive enough but notat all ugly. There were miles and miles of magnificentrubber trees, which were especially abundantalong the Casiquiare, and great stretches of vanillaand cacao growing wild. The Orinoco is indeed awasted waterway. The vast empire it drains, coveringmore than half of Venezuela, is marvellously richin minerals and in its forests, and could easily be madeas rich in agriculture. Yet when we made our tripthere were fewer people living along it than there hadbeen four hundred years before when Ordaz, theSpanish explorer, ascended it to the mouth of the Meta,and I doubt if there has been any increase in the populationsince our visit. Ten Hudson Rivers could beadded to or taken from the Orinoco without affectingit, yet it is traversed only by the native lanchas andbongos, or dugouts.

[137]We turned into the Casiquiare River, two hundredmiles above San Fernando de Atabapo, with considerableregret, for we would have greatly liked to followthe Orinoco to its unexplored source in the mysteriousParima Mountains, where is said to dwell arace of white Indians, who are popularly supposed tostand guard, with deadly blow pipes shooting dartsthat produce instant death, over vast treasures ofvirgin gold. But that would have taken many monthsmore and we were not prepared for so long a trip.The priceless forest which surrounded us was filledwith game of all kinds and great snakes, and alivewith birds of wondrous plumage. There were somany snakes, in fact, that we anchored our boats atnight and slept in them in the middle of the river,where we had nothing to fear but the enormouscrocodiles which poked us with their ugly snouts toprevent us from oversleeping. We landed every dayto stretch our legs and shoot, with ridiculous ease,enough game to keep us in fresh meat, but we nevercamped on shore at night.

After following the Casiquiare for one hundred andfifty miles or more we came to the parting of theways—the point at which the Rio Negro, comingdown from the foothills of the Andes, five hundredmiles away, divides to feed both the Orinoco and the[138]Amazon—and solved the mystery of the two rivers.There was no connecting canal of slack water, as theFrenchman was said to have reported. The RioNegro, a wide and deep stream, forms the boundarybetween Venezuela and Colombia for nearly two hundredmiles. At two degrees north latitude, or aboutone hundred and twenty miles from the equator, itdivides, the smaller part, approximately one-third ofthe volume, forming the Casiquiare, which runs eastfor a short distance and then north to the Orinoco,while the main stream runs south and then east untilit empties into the Amazon at Manaos. Though wehad no map to guide us the situation seemed plainwhen we reached the larger river, which fed theCasiquiare, and by following the downward courseof that stream until we were certain it was the RioNegro, we settled the question.

Just below the junction of the Ucayari River withthe Rio Negro, almost directly under the equator, wecame to a succession of falls and rapids around whichwe made a portage. From there on, through the samesilent wilderness of natural wealth that we had traversedfor weeks, we leisurely sailed and drifted downto the Amazon, for the blistering heat discouraged allphysical effort that was not mandatory. It was notuntil we reached the lower reaches of the river that[139]we found men gathering rubber, and they were takingonly ounces where tons were at their hands. Wereached Manaos early in May, 1874. We had beensix months on the trip and had covered all of twothousand miles which, everything considered, wasfast travelling. Aside from its educational value theexploration had been delightful, and though tired fromliving so long in cramped quarters we were all inbetter health than when we left Trinidad.

My companions, who rejoiced in having been thrownin the way of greater sport and more interestingexperiences than they had expected to find, wereready to return to England and I arranged to gowith them. After resting for a week or two we wentdown to Para on a river boat and thence to RioJaniero on one of the Lloyd Brazilero steamships.From there we sailed for England on the Royal Mailsteamship “Elbe,” commanded by Captain Moir, whowas in command of the “Trent” when Mason andSlidell were taken off. On the way across I compileda full report of the exploring trip which I mailed toGuzman, with a promise that I would return toVenezuela within a few years. I left my Britishfriends at Southampton and went to London to joinFrank Norton and start for the China Sea, of whichhe had pictured so much that was good in my sight.



AS a boy it was my ambition to fight Indians, butif I had known as much about them then as I donow, I would have selected pirates. They have none ofthe claims on life which the real, red, native Americansenjoy, and they can be fought on the glorioussea instead of on land, which adds to the inherentexcitement. It was in the Summer of 1874 that Imade my first plunge into piracy, for, with all of thetrimmings and aids to deception stripped away, thatwas what it really amounted to. I did not know intojust what I was being led when I embarked in thisnew enterprise; but I am frank to say that it wouldhave made no difference, for a free translation of theword “pirate” is “adventure of the first order,” andthat was what I was looking for.

When I reached London, after my strange escapefrom execution in Santo Domingo and the explorationof the headwaters of the Orinoco and the Rio Negro,Frank Norton was coming up from the Mediterraneanwith the “Leckwith,” carrying a general cargo, andI had not long to wait for him. He was joyous when I[141]told him I was ready to accompany him to the ChinaSea, which he had pictured as an El Dorado of excitement,with many golden Manoas that might be convertedinto Bank of England notes. There was to beno filibustering there for we had no thought of playingagainst the concert of Europe with our one littlefiddle, even had there been any prospective revolutionsworth the hatching; but Norton insisted thatthere was plenty of adventure to be found and muchmoney to be made in handling equally illegitimatecargoes which included no explosives or munitionsof war. As he was familiar with that part of theworld I took his word for it, without going intominute details. He said we would need the “Leckwith”and two ships to carry on the business to thebest advantage, so I selected the “Surprise,” anAmerican brig, and the “Florence,” a topsail schooner,both stout, fast ships. I put Lorensen on the “Leckwith”as sailing master, George Brown on the “Surprise,”and old Bill Heather on the “Florence.” The“Surprise” took on a general cargo for Japan andwas ordered to rendezvous at Hong Kong, while the“Florence” loaded for Singapore. Norton and I followedin the “Leckwith.” Two brass cannon weremounted in place of the yacht’s guns she carried andwe took on board four small carronades, a French[142]mitrailleuse, and several hundred rifles, cutlasses, andside arms, with an abundance of ammunition, all ofwhich were stored in the hold.

Before our departure I had printed on parchment,in exact imitation of the genuine, certificates ofregistry in English, Dutch, German, French, andSpanish, and seals made to correspond to them.These I filled out, as occasion demanded, in the namethe particular ship bore at the time, and in thenationality which I thought would furnish the bestprotection. I also had certificates of health, consularclearances and bills of health, custom house clearances,and shipping certificates printed in different languages.Forged service certificates were also issuedto old men of long service who were competentofficers but who could not pass the technical examinationsprovided for in the amended maritime laws.These and the certificates of registry were aged with asolution of iron and, if necessary, rubbed on the cabinfloor to add to their years. I had used similar forgedpapers while filibustering in the West Indies but hadnever had such an elaborate outfit, though I was neverafterward without it. With these papers I could givea ship a registry under any flag and make it appearthat she had come from any port that suited my purpose.They were signed with an illegible scrawl, as[143]are the genuine. To further complicate matters the“Leckwith” was supplied with a telescopic smokestackwhich, when lowered, was completely hidden.She was schooner-rigged and could be transformedinto a fore and aft schooner by dousing the stack andhousing the yards on the foremast, or into a brig byputting yards on the mainmast. Similar changes ofrig could be made on the “Florence” and “Surprise.”I never used a ship on which this could not be done.The efficacy of these precautions is proved by thefact that I have never lost a cargo of contraband,though I have handled scores of them.

With provision made for all of the deception andtrickery which experience and foresight could suggestwe headed for Singapore, to begin a career of adventuresuch as my wild mind never had conceived, evenin its dearest dreams. On the long trip out I whiledaway the time in an effort to evolve a torpedo of anew type. I had been interested in high explosivesall my life and had long believed that a non-dirigibletorpedo could be devised which would be an improvementon our own Harvey,—which was towed in abridle and was not practicable for a greater distancethan two or three hundred yards,—and which wouldhave advantages over the dirigible type. To facilitatemy experiments I had on board a lot of sheet brass[144]and before the end of the trip I had developed atorpedo that I regarded as perfection and which Iafterward used with success, though it finally got meinto trouble in South America. It was six feet long,thirty inches in diameter, and shaped like a fat cigar.The inside was lined with air cylinders to give it therequired buoyancy, and inside of these was packedthe explosive charge, of wet gun-cotton or dynamite.It was towed by a wire or small rope attached to theblunt nose, from which projected six spider-like armstwo feet long, and alternating with these were sixshorter arms extending outward from the thickestpart of the torpedo. The forcing backward of any oneof these arms cut off a shear pin and released a springwhich set off a fulminate of mercury cap. This explodeda disc of dry gun-cotton which set off the maincharge. The shear pins were of copper wire of anydesired thickness, but were intended to be only thickenough to prevent the arms from being forced backward,and the torpedo discharged, by the current ofa river or by the resistance of the water when beingtowed or by small driftwood which might be encountered.

The buoyancy of the loaded torpedo could easilybe calculated and by means of the air cylinders itcould be kept awash or floated just below the surface,[145]the latter being the preferred method when it was tobe used during the day. The towing wire or ropewas kept on the surface or just below it by smallfloats, distributed at such distances that they wouldattract no attention even in the improbable event oftheir being seen. The torpedo was intended to betowed across the course of the vessel that was to bedestroyed. The moment the ship’s bow picked up thetowing rope her fate was settled, for whether therope was fifty yards or five miles long it was simplya question of time until the torpedo was draggedalongside and exploded by the pressure of one of thearms against the side of the vessel. The torpedocould be towed astern of a ship or a launch or evenan innocent rowboat. In river work it could bestretched across the stream with a line at each end,the shorter one being only strong enough to withstandthe current, so it would part easily when theunfriendly ship picked up the line attached to thenose of the torpedo. I was greatly pleased with myinvention and it was not long until I had an opportunityto prove that it was a complete success.

We reached Singapore more than a month aheadof the “Florence” and on our arrival there Norton unfoldedhis whole scheme to me. The gist of it wasthat we were to prey on the pirates who infested the[146]China Sea, and particularly that part of it lying betweenSingapore, Sumatra, and Borneo, which wasdotted with islands and beautifully suited by natureto their plundering profession. Every ship going toEurope from China, Indo-China, Siam, and from thePhilippines and the network of islands to the southof them, as well as vessels coming up from the IndianOcean through the Strait of Sunda, between Sumatraand Java, had to run the gantlet of this piraticalnest, and many were the good ships that ended theircruises there, along with their passengers and crews.It was here the pirates held out last in their long andbloody fight against civilization, as the present stateof mankind in general is called. The British Governmenthad been trying for years to put an end to theiroperations but there were so many of the islands, andthe opportunities for concealment and escape wereso numerous, that the undertaking was a giganticone. It was not until years after my tragic appearanceon this stage that it was officially announcedthat piracy had been suppressed. Even that longdelayed declaration was not altogether true, for in thataccursed region, now well known but yet mysterious,piracy is still being carried on, even to this day,though in a small and desultory way. There were afew islands farther north, off the southern coast of[147]Indo-China, among which the pirates sometimesrendezvoused to lay in wait for their prey, but in ordinaryweather it was easy for ships to keep clear ofthese danger spots. But they could not avoid thoseislands lying northeast of Singapore, and it was therethat most of the merchantmen were looted.

The pirates were chiefly Chinese, with a considerablenumber of Malays and some Dyaks. As tobravery and bloodthirstiness there was little choicebetween them. They were all desperate villains andtheir thirst for gold was exceeded only by their trulyOriental cunning. When they fell from wounds theywould watch for an opportunity to hamstring theiropponents or disembowel them with their long,crooked knives, which were as sharp as razors. Afterwe discovered this devilish trait no quarter was evershown them. When one of them fell he was shotthrough the head or stabbed, to make sure that hewould do no further harm. Nothing else could bedone with such an enemy. The Chinese operatedchiefly in large junks, with which they could go wellout to sea. Most of them carried guns of considerablesize, while all of them were supplied with a multitudeof stink-pots,—their favorite weapon. Thesewere round earthenware pots, twelve or fifteen inchesin diameter, filled with a black mixture of the consistency[148]of moist earth, which was lighted just before themissile was thrown. They were handled in a sling,such as every small boy has used but on a larger scale,and could be thrown with great accuracy for one hundredfeet or more. When the pot struck the opposingship it broke open and the contents spread out on thedeck, giving off a thick, pungent, and vile-smellingsmoke which would quickly produce complete asphyxiationif it was inhaled at close range. If the smokingmass was left long enough undisturbed it would setfire to the ship. The pirates themselves were largelyimmune to this horrible smoke and under its cover,following a rain of stink-pots, they would board a shipalmost unseen and have her defenders, whom they alwaysoutnumbered, at a great disadvantage from thestart. When fighting at close quarters the Chineseused long, curved swords, something like a Turkishyataghan, while the Malays were armed with the krese,a short, double-edged sword with serrated edges. Bothwere murderous weapons and the pirates were graduatedexperts in the use of them; in fact, they preferredtheir butcher knives to firearms, for they weremiserable marksmen. As soon as an engagementbecame general they would throw away their gunsand pistols and use their swords, with both hands,striking powerful, chopping blows.

[149]The Malays and Dyaks used proas or feluccas, light,strong, low-lying vessels from sixty to one hundredfeet in length, from ten to sixteen feet wide, and fiveor six feet deep, with less than three feet draft. Theywere rigged with two large lateen sails and were veryfast. The only material difference between them wasthat the proas were supplied with long sweeps withwhich they could be driven along at a fair rate ofspeed when there was no wind. The junks were usedfor outside work, while the proas and feluccas keptclose inshore, seldom going more than fifteen miles out.On account of their shallow draft they were easily hiddenin the mouths of rivers and creeks, and when soconcealed they could not be seen at a distance of halfa mile.

It was this ease of escape, and the fact that unlessthey were caught red-handed conviction was impossible,which combined to make the stamping out ofthe pirates such a tremendous task. The junksalways carried just enough cargo to enable them topose, technically, as peaceful traders and, with the aidof their friends afloat and ashore, they could easilyprove an alibi, or anything else that was needed.When closely pursued by a suspicious warship andcertain to be overhauled and inspected, they wouldthrow overboard their surplus of arms and, if necessary,[150]any loot they happened to have on board, toremove all incriminating evidence. Through an elaboratesystem of spies the pirate chiefs were constantlyadvised as to the movements of the warships and kepttheir craft as far away from them as possible. Thusit was that unless a cruiser happened along just as amerchantman was being looted, and her crew butchered,or immediately afterward, the chance of capturingthe scoundrels was remote. Even with thelarge retributive fleet of cruisers and gunboats thatfinally was established in those waters, beauteousand romantic but thickly dotted with villainoushavens, the number of piracies that were punished,including the joyous justice which Norton and Imeted out, was trifling when compared with the totalof murder and robbery.

The chief of a large section of the Chinese pirateswas old Moy Sen, a rich Chinaman who lived in ahandsome home in Canton and posed as a legitimatetrader. He owned a large fleet of junks and onesteamer, and there was not a ship that left HongKong with a rich cargo that he did not know all about.The evil genius of the Malays was a shrewd scoundrelknown as Leandrio, and he and Moy Senoperated under what would be known to-day as a“gentlemen’s agreement,” by which they divided up[151]the territory, in a general way, and did not interferewith each other. As a matter of fact there werepractically no honest trading ships in that section,with the exception of the big merchantmen engagedin the export trade. All of the coasting ships wereeither pirates themselves, when the conditions werefavorable, or were in league with the pirates, to whomthey carried information as to the value of cargoesbeing prepared for shipment and their probable dateof departure. The result was that there was not aship, except the easily distinguished merchantman,which we did not come to regard as legitimate prey.

Norton argued that the pirates were bound to keepon robbing and burning and murdering in spite ofanything we could do, and that we could deriveplenty of excitement and large profits by robbingthem. Incidentally, he contended, we would put alot of them out of business for good and all, thus contributingto the end desired by all nations. I fell inwith his plan heartily, for, while I cared little for themoney that was to be made, it promised as livelyadventures as I could wish for. It was arranged thatI should pose as Dr. Burnet, a rich English physicianwho was cruising in his private yacht for his health.To make it appear that they were engaged in legitimatecommerce, the “Florence” and “Surprise”[152]were to carry some general cargoes from port to portamong the islands but were to so shape their cruisesthat they would be at certain fixed points on or aboutgiven dates, so that we could keep closely in touchwith them. They were to be given large crews andso heavily armed as to be safe from piratical attacks.The “Leckwith” was to do all of the preying on thepirates and the loot we took from them was to beturned over to the other ships at the meeting places.This would make it unnecessary for us to put intoport often as we could use our sails a great dealand husband our coal. This arrangement, and thechanges which could quickly be made in the rig of allthe ships, would, we figured, remove us from suspicion,for a long time at least. Agencies for our legitimatecargoes were established in Sumatra, on theisland of Banca, where there were extensive tin mines,in Borneo and Rajah Brooke’s independent governmentof Sarawak in North Borneo, and at other convenientplaces. It was arranged that the bulk of ourloot should be sent to a firm of Chinamen at Singapore,who dealt largely in dishonest cargoes but wereabsolutely honest with their clients.

With the schedules of the “Florence” and “Surprise”established and with the “Leckwith’s” bunkersstuffed with coal, we headed for the islands in[153]search of pirates. We then had a crew of aboutseventy-five men, though at different times we had asfew as fifty and as many as one hundred, independentof the “black gang” in the fire and engine rooms.The crews of the three ships were frequently interchanged,except for about fifteen especially brave andreckless fellows who were always kept on the “Leckwith.”With all of our sails set and in the guise of atrading ship we sometimes trapped the pirates intocoming alongside and grappling with us, which madeit easy work for us, but when we had reason to thinkthey had valuable booty on board we went at themfull tilt under steam and took it away from them. Allof our guns, which were always unshipped when wewent into port, were close up against the rail andwere concealed under what looked like deck cargo,but it was the work of only a moment to cast off theircovering and lower a section of the bulwarks longenough to give them a wide radius of action.

Our first experience was a profitable one. Whennear the “hunting grounds” we lowered the smokestack,got up our canvas, and sailed along awaitingdevelopments. We were getting in among the islandswhen we met a big junk which had just looted andscuttled a richly laden Brazilian barkentine. She hadmuch more than enough on board to pay her for one[154]trip, but cupidity got the better of her commanderand he put about and came after us, thinking we wereonly a trading schooner but might have somethingon board worth taking. We made a pretence of tryingto get away, which we could have done, for the“Leckwith” footed fast even under sail, but in realitywe eased our sheets to hasten matters along. Whenhe was close astern of us, with the wind abeam, weluffed up, got out guns ready for action in a jiffy and,as we crossed his bows, raked him fore and aft withour carronades, which were loaded almost to themuzzle with slugs and nails. Before he could changehis course, with his decks littered with dead andmangled, we came about and gave him a broadside atclose quarters, along with a deadly rifle fire from thehitherto unseen members of the crew who had beenconcealed in the ’tween decks. He replied to thisblast with a lot of stink-pots, only a few of whichcame aboard and were tossed into the sea before anyill effects were felt from their nauseating fumes, anda weak and poorly directed fire from his guns. Takencompletely by surprise and with more than half oftheir number littering the reddened deck, the pirateswere panic-stricken. Before they could regain theirsenses we came about again and gave them anotherbroadside which took all the fight out of them, if[155]there had been any left, and put them at our mercy.As we ranged alongside, keeping up a rifle fire butdisdaining any further use of our guns, they managedto launch a couple of boats and all who could get intothem pulled for the nearest island. When we threwour grappling irons and hauled in on them the fewsurvivors who had strength enough left to get to therail threw themselves overboard and swam for it.The first man aboard of the junk had one of his legsalmost severed by the wicked sword of a badlywounded Chinaman, and after that bit of fiendishnessour men lost no time in making sure that the rest ofthem were really dead. We took out of the junk fullyone hundred thousand dollars’ worth of specie, silk,tea, porcelain, and drugs and then set fire to her, leavingher to bury her own dead.

After that easily won victory we trapped and sankhalf a dozen proas and feluccas in the same way,though with more spirited resistance in some cases,for we were so anxious to get things to goingthat we threw off our mask before we had them atsuch close quarters as we got the junk. We had twomen killed in these engagements and a dozen moreor less seriously injured. Norton sustained an uglycut on the leg that sent him to the hospital and I gota slash on the arm that gave me considerable trouble[156]for a few days. In only one instance did a ship getaway from us and that was when two proas attackedus on either side in a dead calm that settledbefore we could get steam up. We could not changeour position, while they manœuvred with their longoars and one of them escaped, though she took a lotof dead with her. We got nothing from them to speakof but there was excitement in extenso and we gloriedin it. Norton had not overdrawn the picture of theadventurous China Sea.

We had turned our cargo over to the “Florence,”along with a number of wounded men, and were backamong the islands, though outside of the regularcourse of sailing ships, when early one evening afull-rigged ship hove in sight. She passed us but wasnot more than six miles away when we saw flashesthat told us she had been attacked. We had our firesbanked, for it was just at the break of the monsoonwhen the weather is variable and the winds uncertain,so we lost no time in going to her assistance. Aswe closed in we saw a Malay felucca on each sideof her and the pirates swarming on her decks, withthe crew putting up a brave fight. Running the“Leckwith” up on her starboard quarter, we threwour men aboard of her and they went at the piratessavagely from the rear. I led the boarding party for[157]it looked as though it would be one of the kind offights that I never would miss. In those days I wasyoung, athletic, and vigorous and I had rather have afight with death at one end of it than anything else.No matter where I went, or what the odds against us,I knew the men of the “Leckwith” would be at myheels, for a braver set of dare-devils never lived.

The Malays outnumbered us more than two to one,but we went at them with a fury that was new tothem, and were slowly forcing them back towardtheir one good boat—we had smashed the other oneto bits when we slammed alongside—when a beautifulwhite yacht came tearing up on the port quarterand sent three boatloads of men to our assistance insuch smart style that I took her to be a gunboat,though the quick glance I took at her showed herlines to be unusually fine for a warship. Her partyclambered over the bows under command of a stockilybuilt young officer wearing what looked like the uniformof a naval captain, and we had the piratesbetween us. I understood later, when I learned whoand what they were, why these reinforcements, insteadof discouraging the Malays, caused them tofight with renewed desperation. But they could notwithstand our combined rush and the last of themsoon went over the side into their proa, which[158]drifted away into the darkness when they cut herloose. However, in the last few minutes of fightingthe young British officer, as I took him to be, sustaineda savage cut in his right shoulder, and after wehad laid aside our dead and given our wounded roughattention I was surprised to receive an inquiry fromhim as to whether we had a surgeon on board. Ireplied that I was a surgeon and, taking him aboardthe “Leckwith,” dressed his wound on the cabintable. I then saw that his uniform was that of acaptain, but not of a naval officer. He told me hisname was Deverell but when I asked him the name ofhis ship he answered evasively, and I had learned theways of the China Sea too well to press the question.

“Your wound is rather a bad one,” I told him,“and is likely to require further attention. I amsimply loafing and expect to be cruising in this neighborhoodfor some time, even though it does seem tobe pretty thick with pirates. I will be glad to haveyou call on me if I can be of any service to you.”

He mystified me still more when he replied: “Weknow you, Doctor, and will know where to find you ifit becomes necessary to take further advantage ofyour kindness.”

I had not time just then to think much about thestrange incident, for the fight had been a bloody one[159]and there were many men who needed attention. Wehad six men killed and there were fully twenty-fivemore with injuries of some sort. When I came tolook myself over I found that one bullet had grazedthe top of my head and another my chest, while theright shoulder of my jacket had been sliced off by acut that, had it been properly placed, would havetaken my arm with it. My only injury was a triflingflesh wound on my leg. Had I been less of a fatalistnarrow escapes of that kind, to which I grew accustomed,might have affected my nerves, but insteadthey were only entertaining. It interested me, inevery fight, to see just how close I had come to beingkilled, knowing full well that death could not add myname to the list until my time came, and that thenthere would be no way of avoiding it.

When we got to clearing up the decks nearly sixtydead Malays were thrown overboard. The merchantman,which was an English bark, had twelve of hercrew killed and so many of the survivors were badlycut up that only six men were fit for duty. We leftenough of our men on board to work the ship andconvoyed her to within two hundred miles of Singapore,where, with a fair wind and a smooth sea, shewas able to proceed without danger. That episodenetted us not only a glorious fight but a great reputation[160]as the friend and protector of honest shipping.In fact, it brought us too much fame, for when we putinto Labuan, a British island off the north coast ofBorneo, for coal, after seeing the merchantman safelyon her way, and reported the incident, we had to getout in a hurry to avoid a lot of innocent questions asto who Dr. Burnet was and where he came from.

On our way back to the islands from Labuan wesighted the mysterious yacht whose commander Ihad attended. Evidently she was looking for us forshe changed her course as soon as she made us out,and sent a boat alongside with a request that I comeaboard, as the captain was very ill. I found him sufferingwith surgical fever, as I had predicted, and inrather a bad way. I dressed his wound and treatedhim and stood by for three or four days, visiting himtwice a day and returning immediately to the “Leckwith,”for while my services were plainly appreciatedit seemed that I was not wanted on the strange shipany longer than was necessary. There was an air ofmystery about her that puzzled and fascinated me.As I entered Deverell’s cabin on my first visit Ithought I heard the rustle of a skirt in the passagewaybehind me. Before I could make any inquiryDeverell, as though reading my mind, requested meto ask him no questions about anything relating to[161]the ship. On my last visit, when I told him he neededno further attention, he said, after thanking me, “Iam master here and I am not. No doubt things seemstrange to you, and they really are stranger than youthink, but I cannot tell you more now. Fate seems tohave thrown us together, however, and I believe weshall see more of each other and get better acquainted.I hope so. Good-bye.”

Cruising westward after parting company with theship of mystery we ran right into a series of profitableengagements. Four ships had left Hong Kong togetherbut only one got through. The booty whichthe pirates took from the others we captured fromthem, in two small junks and three large proas, whichwe destroyed. We transferred our cargo to the“Florence,” near South Natuna Island, and stood offto the north while she headed for Singapore. Wewere three or four hours away from her when I had astrange presentiment that I should have stayed withher. The feeling was so strong that I put the “Leckwith”about, caught up with her, and went on board,with my traps. Expecting to have a lot of idle timeI took along my torpedo, with which I was still experimenting.

A week later we were in a particularly dangerousplace, near where the Brazilian barkentine had been[162]scuttled. Late in the afternoon as we entered a narrowpassage, we sighted a big proa close to an island onthe port bow, and less than half a mile farther on wecame on another one partly hidden in the mouth ofa creek in a larger island on the starboard hand.There was not a sign of life on either one of thembut I knew their crews were close by and felt thatwe were in for it. I was fussing with the torpedowhen we came upon them and it struck me that thiswould be a good chance to put it to the test, if bothof them attacked us at once, which I supposed theywould do. We had neither fulminate of mercury norgun-cotton aboard but I had been working to overcomethat very difficulty and had arranged the firingpin so that it would discharge a cartridge into anexplosive charge of black powder. We packed thechamber with powder, and filled enough air cylinders tokeep the torpedo afloat, bent on a towing line of newmanila rope, one hundred fathoms long, and hadeverything in readiness by the time it was dark.

We kept a sharp lookout and it was not long untilwe heard the soft chug of oars off the starboard bow.Our whaleboat, which was manned and waiting, atonce set off in a course which, we figured, would carrythe towing line across the bow of the proa. A fewminutes later we made out the other proa coming[163]up astern on the port side. The pair of them got soclose that it looked as though something had gonewrong with my torpedo and I was just about to divideour crew to meet them on both sides when there wasa flash and a roar less than fifty yards away, and thecomplete success of my invention was demonstrated.The proa was thrown out of the water, turned over,and badly smashed up. We never knew how many ofher crew were killed by the explosion but not manycould have escaped. The other craft swung aroundto board us but we riddled it with full charges fromthe fore and aft carronades and it began to sink. Thesurvivors took to the water and a lot of them attackedthe whaleboat, which had towed the torpedo, as it wasmaking its way back to the ship. The boat’s crewwere prepared for them and their heavy cutlasseschopped off every hand that grasped the gunwale andsplit open every head they could reach.

At Singapore, where we discharged our cargo, ouragents reported that Moy Sen was vowing vengeanceon us for the loot we had wrested from him and thehavoc we had spread among his fleet, and that he hadcaused the report to be actively circulated at HongKong that the “Leckwith” was not a private yachtbut a pirate, preying on legitimate commerce. As aresult many robberies with which we had nothing[164]at all to do were being laid at our door, and we wereadvised to be cautious. We worked our way back tothe rendezvous and, after consulting with Norton,I took my interpreter, Ah Fen, who was half“Chinkie” and half Malay, from the “Leckwith”and went to Hong Kong on the “Surprise” to seejust what was going on.



“THE Beautiful White Devil,” a woman piratewhom I at first regarded as a purely fancifulbeing, born of the unreal atmosphere of the East, cameinto my life, in which she was destined to play a mostimportant part, at Hong Kong in the early days of1876. I had gone there in search of authentic informationconcerning the attitude and plans of oldMoy Sen, overlord of all the Chinese pirates, who wasreported to have declared an intention to bury myharassing ships and all on board of them, in returnfor our vigorous operations against him. This threathad given a new interest to a game of which I wasbeginning to tire, for I had then been waging war onthe pirates for more than a year, and it was gettingmonotonous. I landed quietly at night from the“Surprise,” which remained far out in the roadstead,and went to the old Queen’s Hotel, where I clung tomy role of a rich English physician, travelling forhis health, but assumed a new name, which I cannotrecall. My “Chinkie” interpreter, Ah Fen, I senton up to Canton to secretly gain such information[166]as he could pick up from a relative in the campof the boss buccaneer of the China Sea.

While waiting for his report I lounged around thehotel and steered my casual conversation with thehabitués toward the subject in which I was mostinterested. Soon I began to hear weird stories of awoman pirate who, while never molesting honestmerchantmen, preyed mercilessly and successfully onthe Chinese and Malay pirates, just as Norton and Iwere doing. It was said that she was exquisitelybeautiful of face and diabolically black of heart; thatshe led her band of cut-throats in person and gloriedin the shedding of black and yellow blood by thebarrel. Her recreation from wholesale butchery wasfound in the companionship of occasional white menwhom she ran across and who gladly accompaniedher to her retreat, located no one knew where, onlyto be killed when she wearied of them. According tothese tales, which I at first regarded as purely imaginative,she travelled in a steam yacht of phenomenalspeed and had never failed in her desperate exploits.Though she had been in the business for years no onein Hong Kong had ever seen her and she was knownonly as the “Beautiful White Devil,” which name,from all accounts, was well suited to her. It occurredto me at once that if such a woman really did exist it[167]might have been her ship that came to our assistanceon the night of our battle with the Malays on thedeck of the British bark, and whose captain I hadattended under strange circ*mstances, and I sawvisions of a meeting and perhaps closer acquaintancewith her; but they were only fleeting fancies, for Icould not make myself believe the tales that weretold me. Not but what I wanted to believe them, andtried to, for next to adventure I loved a beautifulwoman; if the two could be combined, the result wouldbe an absolutely ideal condition, even though thefeminine fancy did run to murder; but my reason toldme I was dreaming of the impossible.

However, after I had heard the report of Ah Fen,who returned in about two weeks, bubbling over withinformation and gossip, I put more confidence in whatI had been told, for he repeated the same wild story,with elaborations and variations. It was a well establishedfact in the minds of Moy Sen and his followers,he said, that there actually was a woman pirate whopreyed on and destroyed the regular pirates, and shewas as much hated as we were, or more, for she hadbeen following that calling, with much energy, foryears. It was said she had inherited an avenging oathagainst the pirates from some male member of herfamily, who had been a terror to them before her,[168]and she was carrying it out with fanatical fervor.This was the story brought in by pirates who hadescaped from junks and proas she had attacked,and who gave thrilling accounts of her demoniacalfury in leading her men. Moy Sen, my interpreterreported, was swearing renewed vengeance on bothof us but, inasmuch as the lady seemed to bear acharmed life, he proposed to go after me first. Heattributed to me the destruction of some of his junksthat I had never seen, while, to balance accounts, therobbery of some of his ships which I had looted waslaid at the door of my woman contemporary. Thisconvinced me that there was a woman pirate, or,which I still believed to be more likely, a man masqueradingas a woman, and that the pirate chief hadconfused our exploits. He was setting some sort of atrap for me, according to the inside gossip picked upby Ah Fen, and was determined to sweep the seaclear of my ships, at least.

I had sent the “Surprise” away as soon as shelanded me, with orders to return in a month, ostensiblyin search of cargo, and pick me up. She wasabout due when a man called at my hotel one eveningand asked if an English physician was stopping there.I was pointed out to him in the billiard room and ashe came toward me I recognized Captain Deverell,[169]but he was as formal as a stranger and I took mycue from that and did not indicate that I knew him.He asked if he could consult with me and I took himto my room, where he assumed a much more cordialair.

“I called,” he said, “to invite you to take a cruisewith me so that we may get better acquainted and Ican show you my appreciation of your kindness of afew weeks ago.”

“How long will you be out?” I asked.

“A week or a month; whatever time suits yourpleasure.”

I did some quick thinking. If there was a womanpirate it was her ship that Deverell commanded, Iwas sure. If I accepted his invitation I might gothe way of other men whom, if the reports I had heardwere to be trusted, she had picked up, and who neverreturned. Whether she was a “Devil” or whetherit was her ship from which the invitation came I couldnot ask without showing some apprehension thatwould be impolite. Besides, I had previously beenrequested by Deverell to ask him no questions abouthimself or his ship and I inferred that this inhibitionwas still in force; if he had wanted me to know morethan he had indicated he would have volunteered theinformation. It was an uncanny proceeding, yet the[170]very mystery of it attracted me as a magnet doessteel. Furthermore, here was a brand new adventure,right within my grasp, and if it was to end my careerthen it was because my time had come, and that wasall there was to it.

With my thoughts running in that channel a decisionwas quickly reached and I told Deverell I wouldbe glad to go with him. I packed my bag and turnedit over to a man whom Deverell summoned from thestreet. Ah Fen was instructed to watch for the “Surprise,”rejoin the “Leckwith,” and report to Nortonwhat he had told me, and tell him to have me pickedup at Hong Kong in a month or six weeks. Late inthe evening we went to the Bund where a boat thatwas waiting at an out-of-the-way landing up nearthe native quarter took us out to the ship, which waslying fully six miles offshore, well beyond the usualanchorage. It was the same ship I had seen severaltimes before but her rig had been so altered, by takingthe rake out of her stack and shortening her spars,and by changing her upper works, that I could nothave recognized her if I had seen her under any otherconditions. Her sides were discolored and dirty, dueto the skilful use of paint, and she looked like an oldtramp. But on board of her were all the comfortsand conveniences of a yacht, with the discipline of a[171]warship. She was about the size of the “Leckwith,”registering probably five hundred tons net, and withthe removal of her dummy superstructure which concealedsix carronades, her deck was clear, except forthe wheelhouse and the captain’s room behind it.The gun deck below was devoted entirely to livingquarters arranged with an eye to comfort. Those forthe crew ran back to amidships, for she carried all ofa hundred men. Abaft of them were the officers’quarters and in the stern, cut off from the rest of theship, were the rooms of the real commander, whichwere large and sumptuously furnished.

As soon as we were on board it was “Up anchorand full speed to sea.” Appropriately enough, I wasgiven the cabin of the surgeon, who had died recently,to which fact I owed my presence on the ship. Deverelltook me into his room and we talked untilmidnight. Soon after we got under way he satisfiedmy silent impatience by throwing open a panel andexposing a life-size painting of the most beautifulwoman I had ever seen.

“Is that the Beautiful White Devil?” I asked,unable longer to restrain the questions that werechoking me.

“That is our Queen,” he replied gravely, “and it is[172]by that name alone that she is known to us andspoken of on this ship.”

“She certainly is entitled to the first part of thename by which she is known ashore, whether or notshe deserves the last section of it,” I said, with openadmiration.

His answer left no doubt as to whose ship I was on.“That picture may do partial justice to her face butit is impossible that it could portray the beauty of herheart. Instead of being cold-blooded and bloodthirsty,as you seem to have heard, she is tender andsympathetic and she has devoted a great part of hermoney to the relief of suffering humanity. She deprecateskilling even villainous Malays and Chinks, butshe will not be defeated, cost what it will. Neversince I joined the ship have I seen a wanton act ofcruelty.”

“What is her life, and what is the motive of it?”I asked.

“She will have to tell you that herself, but beforeyou see her I want to warn you. Every man whosees the Queen falls in love with her, and if you thinkyou are going to be like the rest you had better goover the side right now.”

“How is one to keep from falling in love with[173]her?” I inquired, with some anxiety, still lost in admirationof the lovely face on the canvas.

“If one philosophizes and keeps his love to himselfit is all right, but this lady is not to be won by anyman. She has devoted her life to a particular purposeand we have devoted our lives to her.”

“That sounds very romantic and interesting,” Iobserved, already half suspicious that Deverell himselfwas in love with her. “What is the special purposeto which you are all pledged?”

A shrug of the shoulders and a smile made up theonly answer.

Deverell then closed the panel and made me thesubject of conversation. He asked all manner ofquestions about my life, and when I brought the storydown to the China Sea he showed a familiarity withmy movements which indicated a system of spies thataroused my admiration, and I was free in expressingit. It was through their elaborate system, he admitted,that they had learned I was in Hong Kongand where I was stopping. He admitted, too, thatthey had been in touch with me from the day I enteredtheir waters and had come to regard me as akindred soul, to which fact I owed my invitation fromtheir Queen.

It was considerably after eight bells before I retired[174]but my sleep was not long or heavy, for the strangenessof the situation and its possibilities impressedme, not with fear but with exultant expectancy. Atbreakfast time Deverell, wearing a smart uniform,escorted me aft to the private quarters of the Queen,which reminded me of those of an officer of flag rankin the American Navy. They had the same privategalley and air of exclusiveness of a flagship, but theywere much more spacious and were fitted out with adaintiness that bespoke generations of culture. Thedining-room was a reproduction in miniature of thoseone finds in the best homes of England, with nothingabout it to suggest the sea. Back of it and separatedfrom it by odd Chinese curtains, was a luxuriouslounging room, with large ports cut through the over-hang.On one side of it was the Queen’s sitting-roomand library, and on the other her boudoir.

I was ushered into the dining-room and in amoment the Queen appeared. As she parted the curtainsand paused for just an instant in the doorwaywith an air of diffidence, I was transfixed by hermarvellous beauty, to which, as Deverell had said, thepainted picture had done only partial justice. Tall,and with the figure and the manner of a goddess, Iwas fascinated by her eyes, deep blue and filled withsentiment and sympathy; eyes that could never be[175]brutal but which must yearn for love and tenderness;not the eyes of a woman born to command, for therewas a softness about them that was almost pleading,but of one created with a desire to be herself commandedand dominated by a stronger nature.Through them she looked at me as a child mightlook, but with more of understanding, yet as much ofcuriosity. Unconfined, her hair, when I saw it, wouldhave swept the floor, but it was twisted into a greatblack, glistening crown; a little detail that made herappear more than ever the Queen.

Deverell started to introduce me but she interruptedhim. “I already know Dr. Burnet,” she said,as she swept toward me with superb grace and infinitecharm of manner and extended her hand, smalland soft.

“And I feel that I already know you” was ablunder into which her eyes led me.

Instantly the look of animation which had comeinto her wonderful eyes gave way to one of sadness.“But I fear,” she said, “that the reports you haveheard regarding me are very different from those Ihave had concerning you, and which caused me towant to meet you, that I might thank you for yourkindness to Captain Deverell.”

I stumbled into another tactless reply: “I have[176]only one fault to find with what I have been told.You should be known as ‘The Beautiful WhiteAngel.’” It was not a polite thing to say but I washopelessly, almost heedlessly, in love, and it alwayshas been my way to go straight at things.

Her answer, only through her eyes, that if I wasnot, in fact, a very ordinary individual I had made avery commonplace remark, so added to my embarrassmentthat we had talked about the weather andthe sea for some time before I got back to my mooringand felt reasonably secure. Before breakfast wasover we were getting along better, though I couldnot have concealed the admiration I did not express.At the end of the meal the Queen and I retired tothe lounging room, Deverell going forward to lookafter the ship. His attitude toward her was one ofdevotion that amounted almost to homage, which sheaccepted as her right, and he spoke of and to her onlyas “Queen.” Naturally, I addressed her in the sameway, as that was the only name Deverell had usedwhen he started to introduce me, and I then knew herby no other.

“We are headed for my retreat,” she explained. “Iwant you to see it, and your visit there will give us anopportunity to get better acquainted. I should like tohave you stay with us as long as you can. I will put[177]you down in Hong Kong or Singapore on three orfour days’ notice.”

I assured her the prospect was delightful. With abow and a smile that encouraged veritable loquacityshe asked me to tell her all about myself, and shedisplayed so much interest in my different filibusteringexpeditions, and the adventures that grew out ofthem, that I gradually told her the whole story.When my recital brought me to the China Sea herinterest became even more lively, as to details, butshe displayed the same intimate knowledge of mymovements, in a general way, that Deverell hadshown.

In the course of the numerous long talks whichfollowed, I felt that I was regaining some of theground I had lost by my blunders in my first bewilderment,and though my infatuation grew strongerevery time I was in her magnetic presence, whichcharged my whole being with the electrical energyof life at its best, I said not another word to herabout it, on the ship. As we came to understandeach other better she asked me to tell her all I hadheard about her. I was surprised, but I knew shemeant me to be perfectly frank with her, so Irepeated, in a general way, the vague and vaporywhisperings as to her wonderful beauty, on the one[178]hand, and her alleged bloodthirstiness and wantonnesson the other, which latter stories, I told her,could not be tolerated for an instant by any one whohad ever seen her. She smiled bitterly.

“I never have cared what people said or thoughtof me,” she said very slowly, “until recently. Farfrom enjoying the life I have been compelled to lead,I have suffered from it. It has been hard, and Ihave had to face and solve its problems alone. Cravingfriendship as flowers do the sun, and needing itas much, I have had to cut myself off from the worldand try to make myself believe that I have neitherheart nor conscience. When we get home I will tellyou the story of my life, as you have told me yours.”

On the afternoon of the third day out from HongKong we ran into a group of islands, off to the eastwardof the regular course to Singapore. Just asdinner was announced a flag was waved from thebridge and, following Deverell’s eyes, I made out ananswering signal on the steep side of a small islandjust ahead of us. We were close inshore and Iscanned the bank closely but could see no sign ofeither a landing or an opening. I was anxious to seewhat was to follow but a messenger brought word thatthe Queen was waiting dinner for me. Deverell didnot dine with us but joined us as we were having[179]coffee. The ship slowed down while we were at dinnerand finally the screw stopped. Immediately theQueen led the way to the deck, where she had orderedcoffee served.

“This,” she said at the head of the stairway, “ismy kingdom—without a king. Isn’t it beautiful?”

I was a little in doubt as to whether her inquiryrelated to the scenery or the absence of a male ruler,but, without being able to distinguish clearly in thegathering tropic darkness, I assured her that it wasthe most beautiful place I had ever seen, wherein,when day dawned, I found I had not exaggerated.We were at the head of an oval lake, perhaps a mileand a half long, with mountains, whose ascent beganclose to the shore, rising crescent-shaped around it.There was a small village, composed of English cottagesand native huts, at the end of the lake nearestto us. On three sides of the lake was a narrow beach,which widened at the village; the fourth side, towardthe sea, was a perpendicular bluff, sixty feet or morehigh. I searched it for the passage through whichwe had entered the lake but nothing could I see buta bare wall of dark rock. The Queen watched meas I studied the situation and smiled at my perplexity.“Wait until to-morrow,” she laughed. “Itwould never do to let you into all of our secrets at[180]once. You had best retire early, for we will goashore at sunrise,” and she disappeared.

While we had been talking the topmasts werelowered, which I did not quite understand, and thefires drawn, and soon I was alone on deck, with asolitary watchman forward. There was no moon butunder the soft light of the stars, low-hung and witha brilliancy seen only at or near the equator, I satin silent wonder and admiration for hours. I wasup again before it was full daylight and watched thelowering of the Queen’s launch. She appeared withthe sun, accompanied by a Dyak woman whom I hadnot seen before, and we landed at a little stone dockin front of the village. All of the inhabitants, consistingof about fifty English and Scotch men andwomen, some with silvered locks and bent backs,and some of them crippled by the pirates, and nearlyas many natives, crowded the pier to meet her, theirmanner one of the greatest affection and deference.We walked through the village, which was a model ofneatness, and on up a winding path for nearly a mile,when a sharp turn around a flank of the mountainbrought us to a large bungalow—the palace of theQueen. It was so situated that it could not be seenfrom the sea, at any point, but just around the turnand not fifty yards from the house was a deep shadowed[181]bower from which there was a clear view ofthe ocean for two-thirds of the way around the compass.This was the outside sitting-room of theQueen and here breakfast was served. While it wasbeing prepared she made herself more beautiful bychanging her dress of European style for a nativecostume of flowing silk so becoming that I wonderedat her ever wearing anything else.

After breakfast she looked down at the little townand far out to sea in silence for a long time, and thentold me the story of her life. Her name, she said, wasKatherine Crofton. Her father was one of theyounger branches of a family which was headed by aBaron. The family crest was a sheaf of wheat andthe motto “God grants the increase.” Her branchof the family had lived in the south of Ireland forseveral generations. Another branch had long livedat Derry Willow in the County Leitrim. Her fatherwas a lieutenant commander in the British Navyand to prevent an accident he disobeyed the order ofan incompetent and arrogant superior officer. In aquarrel that followed her father knocked his superiordown and otherwise abused him, for which he wascourt-martialled and dismissed.

“My father was a high-spirited man,” she continued,“and his disgrace embittered him against[182]England and everything English. He soon left home,without saying where he was going, and when wenext heard from him he was in Hong Kong. He correspondedwith us regularly after that and in threeor four years, when I was about fifteen, he wrotemother and me to take a P & O ship for Singapore,where we would find further instructions. When wegot there father was waiting for us on a handsomeyacht, the ‘Queen,’ which is the ship that you haveheard so much about. I am still using her. Hebrought us to this island, which he had fitted out asa retreat. He had established a small settlementdown on the lake and built a warehouse in which tostore his goods, and a machine shop to facilitaterepairs to his ship. He had taken great pains andput himself to a large expense to make his rendezvoussecure from intrusion or discovery.

“Evidently this lake is in the crater of an old volcanowhich, when it subsided, left a high, narrow barrierbetween it and its old enemy, the sea. Downthere,” pointing to the end of the lake opposite thevillage, “was a narrow opening into the lake, with adeep channel leading straight out to sea, though onboth sides of it are rocks and shoals. Probably it wasa fissure created by the volcano; anyway it served myfather’s purpose perfectly. He had the opening[183]closed up with rocks until it was just wide enough toadmit the ‘Queen.’ The ridge there, you can see, isnot more than thirty-five or forty feet high, so thepartial closing of the gap was really not such a difficulttask. Then he fitted into the opening that wasleft, a great double gate, which rolls back and forth,instead of opening outward, and though it weighsmany tons its mechanism is so arranged that fourmen can operate it. The gate is strong enough tostand any storm but to avoid straining it we keep itopen in heavy weather, unless ships are hoveringabout. From a watch tower on top of the mountainbehind us we get a clear view of the sea in all directions,and a man is always on duty there. The ridgethat cuts off the ocean rises toward the upper end ofthe lake and the village is entirely hidden behind it,as is the ‘Queen’ when her topmasts are housed.The island, as you can see, is very small and fromthe sea there is not a sign to indicate that it is inhabited.When the gate at the opening into the lake isclosed it cannot be distinguished at a distance of aneighth of a mile, for it exactly resembles the rockson both sides of it, but the channel which leads to itis known to no one save us and no other ship woulddare to venture within a mile and a half of the shoreon account of the rocks.

[184]“I did not understand at first the meaning of allof these precautions, or some other things. Fatherwent out on frequent voyages and returned with moreor less cargo, which was placed in the warehouse, untilit was full. Then father would change the appearanceof his ship so that no one would know her andtake cargoes out and sell them, until the warehousewas empty again. He always took mother and mealong on these trips, though never on the others, andyoung as I was I learned much about navigation, forI had his love for the sea. On these trips we broughtback books and magazines and so were able to keep alittle in touch with the outside world.

“When I was not much older than nineteen fatherand mother were taken desperately ill and, believingthat he would not recover, he called me into his roomand made a confession. He said that in his hatred ofthe British he had turned pirate and had been for allthose years preying on ships flying the flag hedespised. He had also, occasionally, waged war onthe native pirates and taken their loot from them,which explained why he had frequently come in withwounded men on board. He told me of how he hadsuffered from the act of injustice which expelled himfrom the navy and in the end he made me swear thatif he died I would continue the work he had begun.[185]He told me I could rely on Frank Deverell, his chiefofficer, whom he said he hoped I would some daymarry,”—this last with just a trace of sarcasm. “Myfather died the next week and my mother threemonths later.

“That was four years ago. I have kept the oathwhich my love for my father prompted me to take,but the fulfilment of it has brought me increasingmisery. My attacks on the British flag have beenfew—in fact I have given timely assistance to manymore English ships than I have robbed, and hundredsof their passengers and sailors owe their lives to me,but I have preyed on the natural pirates of thesewaters as ardently, perhaps, as did my father. Yet Ihave no greater moral right to take from them whatthey have stolen than I have to rob a British or anAmerican ship, nor can I excuse myself for the lossof life that goes with my attacks on them. I ammuch better armed than they are and it is nothingbut cowardice, as well as thievery, for me to makewar on them. I am, in fact, no better than they are,for I am in the same class with them—a pirate. Myconscience has troubled me more and more until ithas sickened me with the whole wretched business.A bad promise is better broken than kept; an oathis no more than a promise; and I am about ready to[186]quit all of this robbery and butchery and try to returnto decency and civilization. As to the other storiesyou have heard about me—they are simply lies.”

Toward the end she spoke rapidly and passionatelyand when she finished she was all a-quiver, and hereyes filled with tears. After a long pause, duringwhich she regained control of herself, she said:

“Now, Captain, I have told you all. I am partlyjustified, if such a vow as mine can be pleaded as justification,but why are you in this business?”

Her sudden inquiry, following her bitter denunciationof pirates and those who preyed on them, surprisedand embarrassed me. I told her that I was init only because of the adventure of it; that I hadbeen attracted to the China Sea by Norton’s stories,and that once there I had naturally fallen in with theexciting life and become a part of it; and that all ofmy fighting blood was aroused and my soul glorifiedby the fact that the great pirate chief had sworn tocrush me.

“That is not a sufficient excuse,” she replied,promptly and decisively. “I had some reason for myactions, but you have none.” A moment later sheadded, gently: “I did not mean to pass judgment onyou, for I have no right to do that. We must all begoverned by our own consciences.”

[187]Neither one of us cared to continue the conversationand I was glad when she suggested that shewould have a servant show me to a smaller bungalow,a short distance away, where I was to stay, thoughtaking my meals at the “palace.” She advised a walkthrough the village and around the lake during theforenoon, and said we would walk toward the top ofthe mountain after lunch. I looked over my comfortablequarters and then walked back to the lakeand went in a boat, with Deverell and Fennell, the“Queen’s” second officer, to the entrance, in which Iwas much interested. I found it to be just as it hadbeen described. There were two gates, one on eachside, about twenty-five feet high, above low water,and fifteen feet wide. They ran on small wheels ingrooves cut in the solid rock and had been put inplace, evidently, by building a cofferdam around theentrance. Below the water line they were built ofheavy iron lattice work, so as to give the tides freeingress and egress. Above the water they were constructedof thick timbers, covered on the seaward sidewith iron plates. When they were open they ranback into nests cut into granite rock. When theywere closed they came together diagonally, in theshape of a wide V, with the apex facing outward, sothat the action of the waves only locked them more[188]firmly. It was possible for two men to operate eachgate, though six made quicker work of it. Their constructionwas as fine a piece of elusive engineeringas I have ever seen. Their height was so arrangedthat there was no break in the coast line and theywere, as the Queen had said, indistinguishable at avery short distance. There was just room enoughover the sill to admit the “Queen” at low tide, anda larger ship could not have gotten through the gatesor over the bar.

I told Deverell enough to make him understand,without my saying so, that the Queen had told meher life story, and, knowing this, he talked quitefreely. From what he said I satisfied myself that notonly had the elder Crofton been an out-and-out piratebut his bewitching daughter had done honor to hisname, for two or three years at least. We visited themachine shop, which was quite elaborately fitted upfor the repair of ship and guns, and walked throughthe village, where he pointed out men who had lostarms or legs in the service of the Queen and herfather, and others who had been retired for age andwere now pensioners. Deverell was a true pirate andtold me with delight of some of their exploits. Hisreverence for the Queen amounted to idolatry. If hislove for her had been returned I would not have been[189]surprised for, though lacking some of the finerinstincts of a gentleman, as could well be imaginedfrom his surroundings for years, he was an unusuallylikable chap and of a type that ordinarily appealsstrongly to women. He was about forty years old,two inches less than six feet tall, and had the figureof an Apollo. His steel gray eyes sparkled withfriendship or shot sparks, and his brown hair fairlybristled when he was angry. He impressed one asbeing altogether a man, the soul of loyalty, a perfectfriend, and brave to the last drop of his blood.

After luncheon the Queen and I set off toward themountain top, nearly one thousand feet above us, butwe did not reach it, for the heat was intense.

“Well, what do you think of us now?” she asked,on our way down, after I had told her how I hadspent the forenoon.

“I think enough of you to devote my whole lifeto your service,” I quickly replied.

She gave me a long, searching look, that seemed togo right through me and lay my whole soul openbefore her, then took the lead and, without a word,walked rapidly on to her bungalow, and I walked onto mine.

When I came back to dinner she was waiting forme in her bower. As she came to meet me and[190]extended her hand she said, earnestly and almostsadly, “I believe you were honest and sincere in whatyou said this afternoon, but I can only say ‘Thankyou.’ What you suggested is impossible.”

In the three weeks that followed I urged my loveupon her with all of my determination but she refusedto change her decision and apparently was as firm init as at first. It was agreed that we should bothgive up piracy, in any form, but all of our argumentsended there until finally, one afternoon as wesat looking out over the sea and talking, for once,of the ordinary affairs of life, she said, slowly andemphatically, “Deverell was my father’s right-hand-man.I am going to give this place to him, just as itstands, take the next ship for England, lay my casebefore the Home Secretary and ask him for a full pardon.I will confess to him that I have taken fromthe pirates what they had stolen from others. Tooffset the offence I have hundreds of written statementsfrom people whose lives I have saved from thepirates by coming up in the nick of time, for whichservice I never accepted payment of any kind. Ibelieve I can secure a pardon and if I do, I will meetyou, with a clear conscience, and become your wife.”

In a tumult of joy, which came over me with theforce of an electric shock, I sprang to her side and[191]started to take her in my arms, but she stretched outher hand and held me off. I had never seen such aserious look on her exquisite face and there were tearsin her eyes.

“Not yet,” she said, tenderly but firmly. “I havesaid I would marry you only when my name hadbeen cleared of its dishonor, and until that conditionhas been complied with you cannot regard me asyour promised wife. After that you may do with meas you please, but not until then.”

Her accession of conscience had been so great thatshe considered herself disgraced, and that nothingshort of a pardon from the British Government, sobitterly hated by her father, could restore her respectability.With my most persuasive arguments I triedto dissuade her from going to England, but withouteffect. I urged her to marry me at once and go withme to America or some other country, where wewould not be reminded of the past and have nothingto fear from it, but she would not listen. She fearedshe would be found and arrested later on and bringdishonor on me; she seemed to have no thought ofherself in that respect, and, seeing that, I betterunderstood the depth of her great love.

No argument of mine could change her and therewas nothing to do but fall in with her plan. She[192]packed up the most treasured of her personal effects,paid a last visit to the graves of her father andmother, and two days later we sailed away. Justbefore going on board she summoned the villagersto the empty warehouse and told them she had givenall of her property to Deverell and was going away,never to return. They wept and showed great distress,but Kate was quietly happy and her gloriouseyes were firm and undimmed as they looked for thelast time on her beauteous isle.

I knew about where to find the “Florence.” Wepicked her up in a few days and I boarded herand made sail to meet the “Leckwith” at therendezvous. Kate went on to Singapore, where shetook the next ship for England. Six months later Ireceived word that she had died suddenly there, beforeshe had applied for a pardon, and the course ofmy life was changed again.



WHEN I rejoined the “Leckwith,” after havingstarted the Beautiful White Devil, whowas a devil no longer but the one woman in theworld for me, on her way to England to secure apardon for her piracies which would open the wayto our marriage, Frank Norton was very inquisitiveas to where I had been and the reason for my suddendisappearance from Hong Kong. He had of courseheard from Ah Fen of the woman pirate, who wasmistakenly blamed by the real pirates for some ofour raids on them, while we were held responsible forsome of hers, and I could see that his keen mind hadconceived the suspicion that it was her ship whosecommander I had attended, in my capacity as a surgeon,after our joint fight with the Malays on thedeck of the British bark, and that she was at the bottomof my absence, but I declined to discuss the matterat all or give him any information on the subject.I told him simply that I had been away on strictlyprivate business. With even my most intimatefriends I am naturally secretive regarding my purely[194]personal affairs, and the “Beautiful White Angel,” asI now knew her to be, had become so sacred in myenraptured vision that I did not wish to talk abouther with any one, and least of all with the cynicalNorton. I knew he would base his estimate of heron her altogether undeserved reputation amongpeople who had never seen her, and that he wouldsay something which would make me want to killhim. There really was no need for that sort of afinale to our semi-partnership, so I remained silent.Norton was annoyed by my refusal to take him intomy confidence and went away in a huff, but he wasastounded, a day or two later, when I told him I haddecided to sell the “Florence” and “Surprise,” divideup the profits with him, and quit the business wewere in.

“What is the matter?” he asked in amazement.“Have you lost your mind?”

“On the contrary,” I replied, “I have only justcome into my right mind.”

“But look at the money we are making,” he protested.“Is there any other place where you canmake as much money so easily?”

“There is nobody who gets more satisfaction outof money than I do,” I said, “but after all it isn’t the[195]only thing in the world. I came out here for theadventure more than for the money.”

“Well, isn’t the supply of adventure equal to thedemand?” he asked with a tinge of sarcasm.

“Not of the kind that appeals to me. There isplenty of excitement, of a kind, but not an awful lotof adventure, as I understand the term. Most of thetime it is nothing more than wholesale butchery ofignorant Malays and Chinkies who have no chanceagainst us even though they do outnumber us. Andto make it worse, we steal from them. That is not thekind of adventure that I enjoy.”

This sort of talk from me must have sounded verystrange and I was not surprised at Norton’s dumbfoundedexpression.

“But we only take from them what they havestolen from somebody else,” he argued. “They haveno right to it, while we can reasonably claim it asa reward for avenging those whom they have killedand robbed. Besides that, we ought to get a medalfrom the British Government for every one of thosedevils we put out of the way, for we are doing theworld a service.”

“That is no argument,” I contended, rememberingMiss Crofton’s curt reproval of my own defence toher, along just the same line, only a month before.[196]“The fact that they steal from others gives us noshadow of right to steal from them. Perhaps it isa good thing to kill them, but I hold no commissionand draw no salary for that sort of thing. If theworld wants them put out of the way, let the worldattend to it. The world has never done anything forme that should make me want to assume the wholecontract. If it is a public service to slay pirates, Ihave certainly killed my share, and directed theslaughter of enough more of them to absolve all ofmy most distant relatives from any further responsibilityin the matter. Somebody else can now stepup and kill his share, and they can keep it going aslong as they like. I am sick of murdering and robbing,even though they are pirates, and there willbe no more of it from my ships.”

“What do you know about this ‘Beautiful WhiteDevil’ Ah Fen has been telling me about?” he shotat me. He evidently expected to catch me off myguard, but I was looking for just such an inquiry andwas not at all perturbed.

“There is no such person,” I answered with perfecttruthfulness. “I satisfied myself on that point whileI was in Hong Kong. That is only one of the wildstories you hear out here where there are so manypeople who smoke opium. There may be a man[197]pirate who sometimes masquerades in female attire,but there is no woman pirate.”

“It may be,” he suggested sneeringly, “that thissudden decision of yours to retire is due to the factthat Moy Sen has threatened to exterminate us. Ifyou don’t want to fight the old scoundrel, why don’tyou say so, instead of backing out on an assumptionof morality that does not harmonize with your makeupand with which it is far beyond me to agree.”

That dart struck a tender spot. I would be thelast one to quit under a threat or under fire, and Nortonknew it. The prospect of a rattling final fightwas most alluring. Fighting pirates, I reasoned withmyself, especially when they had declared war onyou, was altogether different from preying on them,which I had given my word I would not do. It wouldbe at least six or eight months before my belovedKate could secure her pardon and meet me in Bombay,where we had planned to be married, and that,I figured, would give me time to accept the “defi” ofthe King of the Pirates, if he moved as rapidly as wemight expect.

“Far from running away from a fight of that kind,”I told Norton, “I should much rather run into it.We will cruise around a while to see whether theChinkies really mean to give us battle. But it is[198]the sport of it that I want and nothing else, for if itcomes off it will be a great fight. There must be nomore looting.”

Norton apparently considered that he had shakenmy decision to quit preying on the pirates, whereinhe was mistaken, and hoped to be able to induce meto abandon it entirely. At any rate we were of onemind in hunting for a scrap with the Chinkies, justfor the fun of it, and harmony was restored.

We loafed around in the path of the pirates belowGreat Natuna Island but nothing happened for tendays or two weeks and it began to look as thoughthey were not seeking us very earnestly. We sawseveral junks which we could easily have stood upand robbed, but I would not permit it. Late oneevening, just as the galloping night was closing in,an enormous junk appeared suddenly from behindan island and came sailing down a narrow straitthrough which we were just crawling. Instead ofhurrying along through the dangerous passage, asshe would have done had she been an honest trader,she began to shorten sail after she had passed us.That aroused our suspicions and we determined tolook her over. She appeared to carry only a smallcrew, but when we came together it seemed to mefor a moment that she had more Chinamen on board[199]than I had ever seen before at one time. Weincreased our speed a little and drew up alongsideto get a good look at her. We were almost on aneven keel with her when she swung suddenly to starboardand would have smashed into our bow if wehad not gone full speed astern without losing asecond. As she passed under our short bowsprit shethrew a grappling iron which caught on our portbow, and we let it stay there.

We lit our battle lamps and hung them along underthe rail so that they illuminated our deck, where wepreferred to fight, because we knew every foot of it.We had about one hundred and twenty-five men onthe “Leckwith,” Norton having taken the pick of thecrews of the “Florence” and “Surprise,” while I wasaway, in order to be prepared for any contingency,and I had no fear that the pirates could come aboardfast enough to get away with us. The junk’s grapplingiron held and as soon as she was clear of uswe went ahead slowly. This drew the two shipstogether, which was what we wanted. As the junkswung around we let go our carronades, but we wereat such close quarters that the slugs did not havetime to scatter and simply ploughed small holesthrough the mass of men that swarmed her decks.We gave them a volley of rifle fire and met them with[200]another as the ships came together. They rushedover the rail at us in a sulphur cloud. Then it wasrevolvers and cutlasses. The pirates resorted to theirold trick of throwing themselves on the deck, asthough killed or wounded, and trying to hamstringor disembowel us, but we were up to that game andwere watching for it. We made sure that everyChinaman was dead when he struck the deck. Everyblow was that of an executioner. In a few minutes,as it seemed then, though it may have been muchlonger, the decks were slippery with blood and Icould actually hear it dripping through the scuppersinto the quiet sea.

It was such a fight as one gets into only in years,perhaps only once in a lifetime. The butchery wasdreadful but the excitement of it set one’s bloodablaze. Our men became demons. As they shot andslashed they shouted and sang. A disarmed Chinkieseized me around the waist and dragged me in amonghis blood-stained fellows, but we were so closelywedged together that they could not chop at mewithout striking each other and they never thoughtof stabbing me. Norton and the mighty Lorensen,swinging an enormous Chinese sword which he hadtaken from one of his victims, came to my assistanceand in a twinkling I was free, with dead and maimed[201]pirates piled up around me in a circle. I could feelsword cuts now and then but they seemed like pinpricks. All of us were so covered with blood thatthere was no telling whether it came from our ownwounds or those we had inflicted.

“That makes us even,” I shouted to Lorensen, asI cut down a yellow devil who had crept up behindhim, while he was busy with those in front, and hadhis knife raised to put him out of commission. AChinkie who had lost his sword seized my emptypistol from its holster, pressed it over my heart andpulled the trigger. I let him go that far and thenlaughed at him as I backed away and cut his headhalf off. I saw Norton go down and fought my wayto him, to find that he had only slipped in a red pool.He had been singing a loud requiem of profane abuseover those who met his sword and he resumed itwhere he had left off, hardly missing a note. Wekept the pirates in front of us and steadily forcedour way forward. Every time one of our own menfell it made us fight the harder. The Chinkies cut andslashed with all of their desperate savagery but itwas impossible for them to stand before the fury ofour men and, though they outnumbered us four orfive to one, they finally began to give way. We followedthem onto their own deck and piled them up[202]on top of each other. Finally a lot of them took tothe hold and the rest, perhaps a hundred of them,jumped overboard. Those that foolishly fled to thehold we treated to a dose of their own medicine.We threw their stink-pots down among them untilthe air was thick with the poisonous smoke, andclosed the hatches. Some of them, gasping andblinded, tried to escape through the guarded gangways;the rest of them died in the hold. There wasnot a pirate left alive on the junk or on our own deck.

We looked upon our work and pronounced it good,but before we had time to congratulate ourselves orcount noses to ascertain the extent to which we hadsuffered, we discovered a big steamer almost on topof us. It was the “Ly-ce-moon,” the flagship of MoySen’s fleet, and, though we did not know it, the oldpirate chief himself was in command of her. Webarely had time to refill our revolvers and get backonto the “Leckwith,” when she banged into us andmade fast with her grapplers. She was nearly twicethe size of the “Leckwith” and her rail was three orfour feet above ours. We did not know how manymen she carried nor did any of us care, for we weremad with monotonous murder; the bestial blood lustthat comes from a glut of human butchery was overall of us. We were both exhilarated and enraged;[203]stimulated by the quick work we had made of thejunk, and furious at the revelation of the cunningtrap that had been set for us. The junk was the bait.It was expected that we would attack and board her;that our boarding force would be overwhelmed bythe hundreds of devils who were crammed into herhold, and while this fight was on the “Ly-ce-moon”was to come up on the other side and finish us off.It was shrewdly planned and if we had not been onour guard and suspicious of everything, we would havefallen into the trap, and delayed matters so longthat when it came we would have had a fight on ourhands which it would have been hard to win. As Ireasoned it out, when we ranged alongside of thejunk to size her up more closely, as soon as she cameup with us, her commander, naturally thinking wewere preparing to attack him, decided that the cunningthing for him to do was to throw his hordeaboard of us instead of waiting for us to board him.He supposed we carried only our ordinary crew, asall of our extra men were out of sight, and figuredthat it would be an easy game for him, in which hestood to win a lot of glory with no chance of losing;for even if we should develop unexpected strength,the steamer would come up in time to make ourdefeat certain. Nothing but this turn of affairs, which[204]was not according to the programme, and the furywith which our augmented crew went at the Chinkies,made it possible for us to render the junk entirelyharmless before Moy Sen arrived.

When he threw his grappling irons we made themfast and, before he had time to think, or to see all thathad happened, we were scrambling over his highsides, each man armed with a revolver in one handand a cutlass in the other. The Chinaman, evenwhen he is a pirate, has no rapid resourcefulness.When you “switch the cut” on him, or do anythingin a different way from that in which he expectsyou to do it, he has to stop and figure it outand fix himself all over again. Moy Sen’s crewwere prepared to board us, and when we made theoffensive our defensive, and carried the fight to themwith an altogether unexpected rush, they wereso taken by surprise that they offered little realresistance to our invasion. But by the time wewere all on board they had regained their senses andthe fight that followed was even more savage thanthe one before it. There were no lights, except thoseunder the “Leckwith’s” rail, which did us little good,and the pirates fired at us from hiding places abouttheir well-known decks, which we could not make outuntil our eyes had become accustomed to the darkness.[205]Our men shot and, when their revolvers wereempty, slashed at every noise. In order that wemight not attack each other we kept up a contemptuouschant of curses on the Chinese, countingtime to it with our cutlasses.

The result was a repetition of what had occurredwith the crew of the junk, but it required muchlonger to accomplish it. The junk had carried moremen than the steamer, for it was planned that those onthe junk were to do the brunt of the fighting and getus going before the others came at us from behind;but the first battle was fought on a well-lighted deckwith every foot of which we were familiar, whilethe second struggle took place on a strange ship andin semi-darkness, which was lightened only by thelamps on our own ship below us and a few starsabove, for the sky was overcast with clouds.

We strung our forces along the full length of the“Ly-ce-moon,” to prevent the pirates from gettingbehind us, and fought our way crosswise of the ship.One of the first things that caught my eye was thefigure of a gigantic Chinaman in the afterpart ofthe vessel, who at first directed the fight and thentook a large hand in it himself. It was, as I suspectedat the time from the manner in which he hadbeen described to me by Ah Fen, old Moy Sen himself,[206]who had paid us the high honor of taking personalcharge of the campaign against us. He wasthe biggest Chinaman I had ever seen and must havebeen a full-blooded Tartar. He was raw-boned andhis face, of which I now and then caught a glimpse,was that of a fiend. He had tremendously longarms and every time he swung his sword he cleareda space. Lorensen and I, who were close togetherwhile Norton was farther forward, tried to fight ourway to him, but we were held back by importantbusiness directly in front of us that demanded immediateattention. By the time we succeeded in workingour way aft, the chief of all the pirates haddisappeared.

Made more desperate by the annihilation of theircomrades on the junk and inspired by the presenceof their great leader, and his commanding anddefiant shouts, the Chinkies fought with a grim stubbornnesswhich I had never before seen them display.They made no noise about it but kept choppingaway, sometimes aimlessly, but always chopping.The scent of veritable rivers of blood would havesickened us, and our tired arms, like those of ourenemies, would have settled into a methodical swing,had we not been spurred on by one victory and theprospect of a still greater one. My sword was[207]broken off at the hilt in warding off a vicious blow,but before another one could be struck I seized afortunately falling Chinkie and held him in front ofme, while his blood gushed all over me, until I hadsecured his sword, which I used as effectively as myown. In trying to hamstring me a half-dead pirategashed the calf of my leg to the bone, yet I scarcelynoticed it. I felt something trickling down my faceand knew a glancing blow had laid open my scalp,but there was no twinge of pain. It was the samewith all of the others. No one thought of his woundsunless he was disabled, when, if he had strengthenough, he dragged himself to the rear to be out ofthe way. Nothing was in our minds but to fightand win. Had there been twice as many of thepirates the result, in the end, would have been thesame, for it was not in us to be defeated that night.Gradually, but slowly at first, we got the upper handof them. When the inspiring voice of their chief wassilenced they gave way more rapidly and our menchased them over the side and rushed into cabins,deckhouses, for’c’sle, engine room, and stokehole, huntingout those who had sought hiding places, andputting an end to the continued danger of pot shots.

It was broad daylight by the time we had thrownoverboard the last of the dead Chinamen and washed[208]down the decks, after giving our own badly woundedmen such attention as was possible under the conditions.We thought for a time that Moy Sen hadescaped, but we found him, almost chopped to pieces,close to the after wheelhouse, with three of our mendead beside him. Except for his great size we wouldnot have known him, but he was identified by AhFen, who was the only one on board who had everseen him. We had twenty-one men killed and twiceas many so seriously injured that a number of themsubsequently died, and there was hardly a man ofus who did not have one or more wounds of somekind. In addition to the cut on my leg, which was anasty one and barely missed the tendons, and thescalp wound, which was not a severe one, I had adozen cuts and gashes of assorted sizes and widelydistributed. The point of a sword had ripped openmy already scarred cheek and another one had takenaway a souvenir from my arm. Norton had a longcut along his abdomen, which almost accomplishedthe intended disembowelment, and half of one earwas hanging by the skin. He also had many minorinjuries, but neither of us was damaged beyondspeedy repair. Lorensen, a mighty man in any position,who had sent as many Chinamen to join Confucius[209]as had any of us, was one of the very few whoescaped with only trifling scratches.

On the “Ly-ce-moon” were two teak chests, filledwith gold and silver coin and ingots, silverware,jewelry, and precious and semi-precious stones, of theOriental variety, apparently representing the mostvaluable portions of several stolen cargoes, and theseI allowed to be transferred to the “Leckwith,” inpreference to throwing them overboard. It thenbecame a question as to what we should do with MoySen’s ships. There was some apprehension that ifwe took them with us we might run into a cruiserand be unable satisfactorily to explain exactly howwe came into possession of them and what we weredoing with such a large crew on a private yacht.We compromised the difficulty by scuttling the junkand putting a crew aboard the steamer. We went toSingapore, arriving there in the early Summer of 1876,as I remember it, to close up our business, and soldthe pirate ship to our Chinese agents for a third ofwhat she was worth. We also sold to them, for asmall part of its value, the loot we had taken fromher, but all of that money was divided up betweenNorton and the crew. I held to my promise andtouched none of it. We retained about twenty-fiveof our best men, paid the others off, after dividing[210]up a large share of our profits with all of them, placedthe injured in a hospital, and headed for HongKong, where the “Florence” and “Surprise” hadbeen ordered to report. On the way we stopped ata small, out-of-the-way island, landed all of our gunsand most of our small arms, and, after covering themwell with red lead and tallow, buried them in a deephole, over which we planted a lot of young cocoanuttrees. The “Leckwith” then became, in fact, aprivate yacht. We had no anxiety regarding our oldfriends, the pirates, for there was nothing we couldnot run away from.

It was fortunate that we removed all traces ofpiracy and restored the “Leckwith” to an honestvessel for as soon as we reached Hong Kong wewere boarded and inspected with great care. Ittranspired that while I was away with Miss Crofton,Norton had landed at a little village a hundredand fifty miles down the coast and played hob withit. I knew nothing about it until after we wereexamined, when Lorensen told me about it. Norton’sexcuse was that he believed the village wasinhabited only by pirates and he wanted to teachthem a lesson, but there was no doubt in my mindthat he had hoped to find a lot of loot there. The“Leckwith,” naturally, answered the descriptions of[211]the ship that made the raid, and if we had not beennicely cleaned up when the officers came aboard, weundoubtedly would have been arrested for piracy,instead of which we were absolved from all suspicion.

The “Florence” was waiting for us and I at oncedisposed of her, through our agents, to an Englishtrading company. In a few weeks the “Surprise”came in from Yokohama, where she had delivered acargo, and was sold to a Japanese house with abranch in Hong Kong. I remember that she broughtseven thousand pounds, which I gave to Norton.We paid off their crews, with a bonus and their shareof the profits, and saw that they were scattered andshipped on long voyages in different directions, aswe had done with the surplus crew of the “Leckwith.”We had no fear that they would carelesslytell what they knew about our operations, for theywere pleased with their treatment and, beyond that,self-protection would have stood in the way of anycomplaint against us, but we considered it wise todistribute them to the four corners of the earthbefore they had an opportunity to fill up with rumand become braggarts, wherein would be danger toall of us. The two captains, Brown and Heather,had fallen under the spell of the China Sea, with itsdangers and its delights, and were in no hurry to[212]leave it for prosaic England, but we knew they couldbe relied on; if they had not been discreet and close-mouthedI never would have engaged them. I hadbeen out East about two years and considered thatthe adventures I had encountered there amply repaidme for the time, to say nothing of the joy I had foundin establishing the identity of the Beautiful WhiteDevil as a real, live being, and falling in love withher. Therefore I insisted on treating all of our menwith a liberality that amounted to prodigality, buteven after that Norton and I divided up somethingover three hundred thousand dollars, as the remainingshare of what we had cleaned up from thepirates.

We loafed around Hong Kong for weeks, for ithad been arranged that Miss Crofton should communicatewith me there as to the probable result ofher effort to secure a pardon after the confession sheintended to make to the Home Secretary. Finallythe word came, and it was a great shock to me, forit was a report of her death, which occurred suddenlyat her old home in Ireland, soon after she arrivedthere on her way to London. I had been inlove before, more times than once, but never somuch as with her. For her I was ready to giveup my adventurous life, but the knowledge that she[213]was gone from me made me more desperate thanever. I was tempted to resume the old piratical life,yet I could not bear to remain amid scenes thatwould constantly remind me of her. So I left theChina Sea behind me and never have returned to it.

On receipt of the heart-breaking news I told Nortonthe whole story of how I became acquainted withthe beautiful Miss Crofton and fell in love with her,and how my romance had been shattered. I toldhim he could stay there if he wanted to, and returnto the old life if he wished, but that I intended toleave at once and for all time. He declared he wouldgo with me, and suggested that we take a trip toAustralia; but I was moody and wanted to cruisearound a bit, in the solitude of the open sea, with nodefinite object in view. We headed up along thecoast and Norton, who was looking after the navigationof the ship, in which I had lost all interest forthe time being, put in at Amoy, for want of somethingbetter to do. He thought a visit to a strangeport might do me good. While we were lying thereNorton became acquainted with a Chinese or Coreanmerchant. He was anxious to get up to the ShantungPeninsula, where the Germans were beginningto establish themselves firmly with the idea of takingpossession of that rich section of China when[214]the Empire was divided up among the “friendly”powers, so called because they were altogetherunfriendly, and Norton proposed that we continueour indefinite journey that far and take him along.I agreed, thinking we might find something interestingin new scenes. When we got nearly up to thePeninsula Norton unfolded a new scheme. Our merchantpassenger, he said, had told him of a lot oftreasure buried in a cemetery in Corea, close to ariver and not a great way from the coast, which wasguarded only by the superstitious native fear of thedead. It would be an easy matter to secure thetreasure, according to his story, and he offered tolead us to it if we would give him a share of it. Bythat time I was in a frame of mind to welcome anyexcitement and I told Norton to close with him andgo ahead.

Accordingly we altered our course and sailed forthe west coast of Corea. I do not know how far wefollowed it but we stopped at the mouth of a smallriver, which ran close to the cemetery, about twelvemiles up. We went up to it at night in a steamlaunch we had bought at Hong Kong; Norton, themerchant, and I, and eight men. The cemetery, whichwas five hundred yards back from the river, was anopen space of perhaps ten acres, filled with funny-looking[215] graves, covered with signs and charms. Inthe centre of it was an unroofed structure about fiftyfeet square, with stone walls twelve or fifteen feethigh. It was there, said our guide, that the moneywas concealed.

Just as we came to the edge of the burying grounda procession of twenty or twenty-five white-robedmen, marching in Indian file and carrying a numberof ladders, appeared on the opposite side. Theymarched to the square structure, raised their laddersagainst the wall and went over. In half an hour theyclimbed out again, with several large and heavy sackswhich were lowered with some difficulty, took downtheir ladders and marched away in silence. Ourguide explained, with many Chinese curses, that theydoubtless were a delegation sent from Seoul afterthe treasure. Certainly they had taken somethingaway with them and it probably was money. Therewas no telling whether it was gold, silver, or copper,for all our guide professed to know was that a “largeamount” was hidden there. From the size andweight of the numerous sacks in which it was carriedaway I got the idea that the “treasure” consisted ofthe cheap “cash” used in that country and Chinaand that the total value of it probably did not exceeda few hundred dollars at the most. Had it been made[216]up of gold coin it would have represented thenational wealth of Corea.

Some of the store might have been left behind, butI did not care to investigate. The outlook was notpromising and the situation was uncanny to a degreethat got on my already depressed nervous system; so,with some random remarks about Corean methods ofburying their dead and hiding their money, wewalked back to the launch and returned to the ship,without having derived even a reasonable amount ofexcitement from the trip. That fiasco finally fixedin me a resolution, that had been forming for sometime, to get entirely away from that part of theworld. We turned about and landed our disappointedpassenger at Shanghai and from there tooka course almost due south, which carried us east ofthe Philippine Islands, down through Molucca Pass,past the Island of Celebes, into the Florida Sea, andout through the Floris Strait into the Indian Ocean.Our final objective port was London, but I had nowish to make another trip through the China Seaand its islands at the south, which held so manypainful memories, and took this roundabout courseto avoid them.



ON my way back to England on the “Leckwith,”along toward the end of the still sadly rememberedyear of 1876, after having said farewell to theChina Sea, with its beauty, booty, and blood, wedecided to go around by the Cape of Good Hope tolook South Africa over a bit. By that time I waseager for anything that offered excitement and diversion,without regard to either the principles whichwere involved or the lack of them. I had broodedover the death of the Beautiful White Devil, forlove of whom I was willing to give up my old waysand become a quiet and orderly person, until I hadinterpreted it to mean that the unseen and unknowndirecting force of my career had no sympathy withmy reformatory resolutions and had taken that brutalway of making plain the command that I was toremain a homeless adventurer. The result was thatmy nature, for the time being, was as embittered asit had been exalted only a short time before, and myhand was raised against every one. Norton, my partnerin this expedition, was delighted with the change[218]that had come over me, and hailed with unconcealedjoy what he regarded as my return to a normal frameof mind.

We put in at the Mauritius for coal and there weheard stories regarding the still flourishing slavetrade which led us to believe we might find somespirited and profitable sport with them, in the sameway that we had preyed on the Chinese and Malaypirates out East. We sailed around Cape St. Maryinto the Mozambique Canal, between the East Africancoast and the island of Madagascar, and beganbartering for ivory, gold dust, palm nuts, and animalskins, as a mask for our real purpose and to give usa favorable opportunity to study the situation. Investigationproved that we had been correctly advisedregarding it. The Sultan of Zanzibar had practicallysuppressed the sale of slaves in his domain, but theonly effect had been to drive the trade down the coast,and large numbers of negroes from the interior werebeing handled by the Arabs, who were born to thebusiness. For the pick of the slaves there was aregular course down the White Nile and the BlueNile and on across into Arabia, hitting the back trailon the path of Moses. The rest of the unfortunatevictims of a civilization which makes might rightwere driven in long strings down to the coast, chiefly[219]to Mozambique and to the delta of the Zambesi River,which was a favorite spot for barterings in blacks.The bulk of these slaves were intended for shipmentacross the channel to Madagascar, where therealways was a demand for them among the old Hovas,or aristocrats, who owned the large plantations. Thebalance of them were sent to the Arabian coast fordistribution. They were shipped to both markets indhows, low-lying vessels that, with a fair wind andcomparatively smooth sea, could make almost steamshiptime. They need to be fast, for a Britishcruiser, on the lookout for just such ships, was continuallypatrolling the channel in the general courseof a figure 8, and sometimes there were two or threeof them on the watch. The Arabs kept close tabon the warships and knew about where they were atall times, except when they doubled on their course,which they sometimes did, with occasional disastrousresults.

When the chocolate caravans reached the mouthsof the Zambesi sales were held, both public and private,at which the slave-dealers bought from the slave-catchersas many negroes as they thought theycould handle. The blacks were placed in pens orstockades and kept there until the coast was clearand a dhow ready to sail, when, chained together[220]by the neck in batches of six, they were driven onboard and stowed away under the hatches, fromtwo hundred to four hundred constituting a shipload.The average price of these slaves in Madagascarwas one hundred dollars, but when, on accountof the watchfulness of the warships, they had beenkept long in the pens and were fat and strong, theybrought considerably more,—sometimes twice asmuch.

In the guise of a peaceful trader, with nothingabout us to arouse suspicion, we loafed along theslave coast until we had a good line on the mannerin which the Arabs conducted their operations andknew the general routine of the movements of thewatching warships. With a satisfactory understandingof the general situation we signed on, at Mozambique,seventy-five additional men, who were readyfor any service, equipped ourselves with such paraphernaliaas we required, and launched out into thebusiness of snatching slaves. Our ordinary methodwas to cruise along the Madagascar coast until wesighted a dhow sailing along in a light breeze, or,better still, becalmed. We would just keep her insight until nightfall. If she was becalmed we wouldclose in on her, with our lights doused, until we weretwo or three miles away; if she was under slow way[221]we would get the same distance in advance of her.Then we would lower five or six boats, each carryingten or twelve well-armed men, and attack her fromas many different directions. Norton or I alwayswent along in command of the expedition. We triedto surprise the Arabs, and on some very dark nightswe succeeded, but most frequently they surprised usby being prepared for our visit. There was always afight and sometimes, with the larger dhows, a full-fledgedbattle. We could not use large guns withoutdanger of killing the cargo, so it was altogetherrevolver and cutlass work on our side. The Arabsused long rifles with beautifully inlaid handles, whichreally were deadly weapons in spite of their fancifulappearance, and curved swords, in the use ofwhich they were artists. They fought hard enough,viciously, in fact, but we generally had as many menas they carried, or more, and when we did not catchthem napping we confused them by attacking themsimultaneously at five or six points. We had a mankilled now and then and had a number put out ofcommission with more or less serious wounds, butwe suffered little in comparison with the damageswe inflicted.

With the fight over we would transfer the Arabsto the “Leckwith,” where we put them in irons or[222]somewhere else, and place a crew on the dhow tonavigate her to the coast and sell the slaves. Ourattacks were always made close inshore to minimizethe danger of being ourselves surprised and overhauledby a warship. We would follow the captureddhow in with the “Leckwith” and stand off andon two or three miles offshore, watching for interferenceand waiting for the transaction to be closed,when we would send boats in and pick up our crew,which invariably was in charge of Norton or I orLorensen. The dhow was sold or presented to thepurchaser of the slaves.

The activity was continuous, for we were alwaysscurrying around in search of slaves, yet the excitementof it was not so thrilling as I had anticipated.We had been following this new, and I must admitsomewhat revolting occupation only a few weekswhen the crew of a small dhow set their ship onfire as we were closing in on it one night and took tothe boats before a shot had been fired. By the timewe got on board the whole afterpart of the vessel wasin flames and we had all we could do to keep it fromspreading forward far enough to reach the slaves,who were in a panic and were making the nightmelodious with the wildest yells I had ever heard.As soon as the blaze was made out from the “Leckwith,”[223]Norton brought her alongside and we succeededin transferring all of the negroes to her, butwith great difficulty, for they were almost helplessfrom fear and, chained together as they were, it washard to handle them quickly. However, it was asmall shipment, and all of our men who could bespared from fighting the fire eventually got thembelow decks on the “Leckwith,” after which we letthe dhow burn, and made fast time away from herfor fear the flames would attract some passing ship.It was several days before we got rid of the slaves,for the first port we visited was overstocked, and inthat time they filled the ship with an indescribablestench that it was impossible to eradicate, and in theend it proved her undoing.

One evening not long after that, just at dusk, aswe came around Cape St. Andrew, we ran right intoa British gunboat—I think it was the old “Penelope.”She at once changed her course, came alongsideand hailed us:

“What ship is that?”

“The ‘Jane Meredith,’ from Delagoa Bay to Suez,”I shouted back, and I had the papers to prove it.

We were ordered to heave to and a lieutenantcame aboard us. His manner, as he came over the[224]rail, indicated that he was suspicious of us. He firstexamined our papers and passed them.

“You’re damned light to be going north,” he said,as he looked over the manifest, which showed onlythe small cargo of skins and palm nuts that wealways carried.

“That’s so,” I admitted, “but we’ve been out Eastfor three years and I’m anxious to get back to England.I came around this way thinking we mightpick up a cargo, but there’s not much doing.”

“It looks as though there had been somethingdoing,” he exclaimed a few minutes later, when hesaw the number of men we had on board. “Whatin thunder are you doing with so many men?”

“We had three ships out East,” I explained. “Isold the others to the Japs. The crews did not wantto stay with them. When they signed I agreed toreturn them to England, and I am taking them backmyself, rather than pay their passage; that’s all.”

He looked skeptical, but asked no further questionsalong that line, except to inquire the names of theships I had sold and their rig.

The moment he poked his nose in the hold andsniffed the air he turned on me and declared, with anair of finality, “You’ve been running slaves.”

“Nothing like it,” I replied, just as positively.[225]“There were a lot of nigg*rs at the Mauritius whowanted to get to Delagoa Bay and as we were goingthere I took them along, at two shillings a head.They grubbed themselves and most of them liveddown here, as we were crowded above. If I hadknown they would stink the ship up so I wouldn’thave carried them at any price.”

“That’s the regular slave smell,” he insisted,apparently by no means convinced by my calm statement.“Your craft isn’t fitted up as though you hadto transport nigg*rs to keep you in coal.”

“I don’t make a business of it,” I told him, “butI’ve got to carry something besides two extra crews,or lose money.”

Without continuing the argument, his silence addingto my apprehension, he went on over the shipand examined every foot of it. He found nothingto strengthen the suspicions I was convinced he hadformed, but he had already seen, and smelled, enoughto make me uncomfortable.

The moment the young officer’s launch was clearof us we got under way at full speed. He had torow only a couple of hundred yards to the gunboatand we had not gone a mile before a shot was firedafter us as a signal to heave to again. Evidentlythe commander of the warship, as soon as he heard[226]the lieutenant’s report, had decided to hold us onsuspicion, but we had no idea of being held. It wasdark by that time and, as we showed no lights, thegunboat could not pursue us, nor could she tellwhich way to shoot. We saw her lights trailing usfor a while, but she soon gave up the chase.

I knew it would not do for us to run afoul of thatgunboat, after that, or any other, for the word wouldbe passed quickly along, and they would be on thelookout to pick us up. We became much more carefulthan we had been before, but in spite of our precautions,or perhaps because of them, things beganto go against us. Not long afterward, while we werewaiting on the outer edge of a bay a short distancesouth of Kitombo to pick up Norton and a party whohad landed a cargo of slaves from a captured dhow,we had to run for it from a cruiser that happenedalong. Though she never got within range she gaveus a long chase and it was a week before we consideredit safe to go back after Norton and his men.The Arabs were increasing their crews and we had asuccession of hard fights with them, in which we losta number of men. Norton was half knocked out and,in addition to several minor injuries which I hadaccumulated, I had a bullet hole through the fleshypart of the arm that was giving me considerable[227]trouble. And with it all we were constantly offendedby the stench which those slaves had left in the hold,as though to haunt us.

I never have believed in overplaying my luck,and it required only a few setbacks to convince methat fortune had turned against us, so I decided tomake another change. Preying on slavers was nastybusiness, anyway, though rich in profits, and I had hadenough of it. I had become superstitious, too, aboutthe sickening, odoriferous heritage which the slaveshad left with us. We were likely to be recognizedwherever we went, and that smell would convict us.Running slaves ranked with piracy and convictionmeant a two-step on air at the end of a yardarm,which was not a pleasing prospect. Therefore Idetermined to quit the business and bury all tracesof it, including the “Leckwith.” She had paid forherself many times over and I could afford to loseher. Besides, if I kept her she would continuallyremind me of my experiences in the China Sea, andthose I was equally anxious to forget.

I paid off all of the extra men, giving them doublewages and a share of the profits, and told them ofmy plans, so far as they were concerned. We hadplenty of coal to take us as far as I intended to goand I did not care to put into any port for fear of[228]being recognized. Therefore I told them we wouldtake them to within twelve or fifteen miles of Zanzibar,where they would take to the boats and sailashore. They could land quietly, and probablyunnoticed, but if any questions were asked them theywere to report that the ship had foundered. Thisplan was carried out and they were started landwardwith provisions and water.

We continued on our solemn journey until we cameto a point about twenty miles off Aden, near thelower end of the Red Sea, and there we proceededto bury the “Leckwith” and her ghost, the smell ofthe slaves. The funeral was conducted, early in themorning, with becoming ceremony and with sinceresorrow on the part of all of us. It is a terrifying thingto have a ship go down under you, even in a smoothsea and with the shore in sight, but it is a humantragedy to deliberately sink your own ship, and along and intimate association, filled with dangers,such as mine had been with the “Leckwith,” manifoldsthe melancholy of it. I had thought I couldsend her down without great concern, inasmuch asit was necessary to protect her from capture andourselves from arrest, but when the time came to doit I understood something of the feelings of the Western[229]frontiersmen when they killed their wives to preventthem from falling into the hands of the Indians.

In the nearly ten years that I had been with hershe had carried me safely through more dangers thanfall to the life of the ordinary man, even though hebe as ardent a lover of the sea and of adventure as Imyself. No storm that blew had ever driven her toshelter or made her question the security she felt in myhands. In all sorts of weather, under sail or steam, shehad carried me clear of every pursuing ship that challengedher speed. However rough the usage she neverrebelled or complained; wherever I directed her shewent as true and straight as an arrow, with never amisstep or a falter. If she had been disgraced it wasbecause I had elected to dishonor her; no part of theblame was hers. She was not an inanimate, unfeelingthing conceived by man out of iron and steel, but a living,breathing, human creation, with all the passionand sympathy and devotion of a woman, and, as is theway of most mortals, I did not know my own lovefor her until I was about to lose her. I am not muchgiven to weeping, but there were tears in my eyesas I gave the signal that stilled forever the steadypulsations of her great, true heart, and I could feelthe death tremor running through her as she cameto a stop.

[230]While a royal salute boomed from her yacht’s gunforward I read over her the burial service at sea prescribedby the Church of England. Her own flag wassent to the maintop and the rest of her bunting wasastream from stern to bowsprit, over the mastheads.Then, with the small boats forming a cortege alongside,we opened her seaco*cks, pulled a short distanceaway, and watched her slowly sink to her grave, tenderlylowered by her own mother, the sea. We hadtaken our revolvers along for that particular purpose,our protection being a secondary consideration, andas the waves that her broken heart had warmedcaressed the topmost flag we fired another salute inher honor, as the final tribute of a love that, longsmouldering and not understood, had been fannedinto full flame by her burial, and she was gone. Iowned many ships after that but never one amongthem was I so sure of, under all conditions, as I wasof her.

The ocean whispered to itself of her brave deedsas it closed in over her and we hoisted rags of sailson our three boats and headed for Aden, where welanded late in the afternoon with a carefully preparedstory of the sinking of an imaginary ship. Aden wasa port of call for ships running out East and we tookthe next one that came in for England.

[231]We reached London early in 1877 where I learnedwith delight that war between Russia and Turkey wasimminent. The first thing I did was to dissolve mypartnership with Norton. While I had greatly enjoyedthe adventures that were a part of it, I did not relishthe business to which he had introduced me. I do notseek to avoid any responsibility for my own acts; Iwent into the business with my eyes open but it wasnot exactly the sort of thing I was cut out for, and itleft a bad taste in my mouth. Moreover, I preferredto operate alone.

Norton joined his wife, who was living in Devonshire,and I went to the Langham Hotel, where I putmyself in touch with my old agents and other dealersin contraband, for I hoped the coming war wouldproduce some legitimate business. I was not disappointed,for very soon I was asked to meet the diplomaticagent of Montenegro, a little principality lyingon the Adriatic between Turkey and Austria-Hungary,which was at that time subject to the SublimePorte. It was cut off from the sea by a narrow militarystrip which was occupied by Austria. Cattaro,the natural seaport of Montenegro, was within thisstrip and was guarded by Austrian soldiers. TheMontenegrin border was not more than a mile away,right at the top of the precipitous mountains that[232]surround the little town, but the passage of armsacross it was forbidden, and so strictly was this lawenforced that people crossing from or into Montenegrowere compelled to leave their rifles andeven their revolvers with the guard at the frontier,until they returned. Everything that passed into Montenegrowas subjected to close inspection by the Austriantroops, and it seemed to me, as I first studied thesituation, that the delivery of a cargo of contrabandto the little principality would present many unusualand interesting difficulties.

I met the diplomatic agent, by appointment, at theold Jerusalem Coffee House, near Corn Hill, and heshowed me a commission from Prince Nicholas himselfto establish his responsibility. He wanted me todeliver a cargo of arms at Cattaro for Montenegroand said he was willing to pay liberally but notextravagantly for the service, as the danger, to oneskilled in the handling of contraband, would be slight.I inquired what he proposed to do with the arms afterthey reached Cattaro, as their importation into hiscountry was forbidden, but he politely replied thatthat was something with which I need not concernmyself, inasmuch as he could positively assure methat I need have no fear of having my ship seizedat Cattaro or getting into trouble there. He told me[233]the Montenegrins proposed to take advantage of theRusso-Turkish war, which was then certain, though itwas not formally declared until April 27, to make adetermined effort to throw off the Turkish yoke, andthat the arms were urgently needed for that purpose.He said that if the Porte heard so much as a hintthat they were buying arms I might be stopped by aTurkish ship; therefore the greatest secrecy must bemaintained and I should be prepared with a full setof forged papers which would be so convincing thatany Turk who might board my ship would be afraidto inspect the cargo for fear of offending England.

We came to terms without any difficulty, as I wasanxious to get back into my own business, and, asI had no ship of my own, I chartered a small steamshipfor the voyage. The arms were shipped toAmsterdam, to conceal their real destination, and Ipicked them up there, after they had been repackedinto cases weighing from one hundred and fifty totwo hundred pounds. This was done so that theycould be taken up the mountain-side from Cattaro onmuleback without unpacking. There were about tenthousand rifles and a great quantity of ammunition.We encountered no inquisitive Turks and the tripwas made without incident. Cattaro is buried at thehead of the Bocche di Cattaro (mouths of Cattaro),[234]a great S-shaped bay, and rare scenic views of impressivegrandeur were opened up to us with every turnof the tortuous channel, as we wound our waythrough it. Bold, bluff mountains ran right down tothe water’s edge and off to the north were the highpeaks of Herzegovina.

According to programme, we got up to Cattaro justat dusk and after the custom house had closed. Assoon as we had made fast a Montenegrin official, whohad been waiting for us, came aboard, paid me mycharges in gold, and asked me to get the cargo outas quickly as possible. With the appearance of thefirst boxes a long string of pack ponies came trottingdown the dock, and as fast as they were brought upfrom the hold the boxes were placed on their waitingbacks and hustled off up the mountain-side. By daylightthe whole cargo was across the frontier, or closeto it. I could not but feel that I was taking somechance in letting it go so unceremoniously, but I hadbeen so convincingly assured, both by the diplomaticagent in London and by the official who took chargeof the unloading, that there would be no trouble forme, that I decided to run the risk. When the customhouse opened I presented my papers, which calledfor a cargo of general merchandise. No questionswere asked as to the disposition of the goods and[235]I was given a clearance, or permit to leave the port.This clinched my suspicion, which had been growingstronger with each of the preceding incidents, thatthe arms were imported with the secret approval ofthe Austrian Government. Austria had previouslyproved her friendship for Montenegro by refusingto allow the Turks to occupy Cettinje, the capital,after they had suppressed the last revolt. The Montenegrinsrose again during the Russo-Turkish war,which began soon after our arrival at Cattaro, and,with the aid of the arms I had carried to them, finallyachieved their long-prayed-for independence, whichwas acknowledged by Turkey in the Treaty of Berlin.

I devoted a few days to a visit in Cettinje, which,far from what my imagination had pictured it, wasnothing but a collection of hovels, but the peoplewere in marked contrast to their surroundings andmade up for the shortcomings of their homes. Themen were tall, very few of them being under six feet,and handsome; the girls were beautiful, with thegrace and features of nobility, but, as most of thehard work fell to them while the men protected them,they aged quickly. In their picturesque native costume,resplendent with crimson and gold, they werethe handsomest race I had seen in Europe. Warenthusiasm was rampant and nothing else was talked[236]of. I was tempted to stay and fight with them;if I had known their language I think I would havedone so, for they are born warriors and the love ofit will never fail them. Their dream, as with all oftheir race in the Balkans, is the restoration of thegreat Servian Empire of six hundred years ago, whichincluded practically all of the peninsula, and so longas they exist they will be trying to drive the Turkout of Europe.

I loafed along through the Mediterranean on myway back to London and spent the next year or morein enjoying myself and squandering money, which, inthose days, was my favorite pastime after a series ofadventures. I knew I had only to go to sea to coinmore money, so the spending of it produced nothingbut pleasure. In the Spring of 1879, with the breakingout of the boundary war in which always aggressiveChile was matched against Peru and Bolivia, whichtwo neighbors had long been in secret alliance toguarantee the independence of each other, the call toSouth America came to me again. I itched to havea hand in the affair and my desire was soon gratifiedwhen I responded to a summons from the managerfor Sir William Armstrong & Co., the gun makers.He said he had a shipment of heavy guns for Peru,which were to be delivered at San Lorenzo, a fort on[237]an island, which guards the city, at the entrance tothe Bay of Callao. Callao is the port of Lima, thecapital, and I was advised that the Chilanos weremaintaining an effective blockade there. Peru hadonly six serviceable ships when the war started.Chile had a much stronger fleet though her ships wereof inferior speed. She had so many of them, however,that Peru had been unable to raise the blockade.After stating the situation, Armstrong’s manager sentme to Great Portland Place to interview the Peruviannaval attaché, who had charge of the shipment.“It is a ticklish job,” was the manager’s parting advice.“You will find spies all along the line and it willrequire all of your skill to deliver the cargo. Don’tbe mealy-mouthed about the price you ask for it.”

I agreed with the naval attaché to deliver theguns at Callao for fifty thousand dollars. He wasinclined to haggle over the price, but came to myterms in the end. It was stipulated that I was toreceive that amount if the cargo was delivered or ifmy ship was sunk by the Chilanos while defendingherself, whereas if I was captured or if I sank theship to avoid capture, I was to get nothing. I knewI would need a ship that could do sixteen knots anhour or better for this undertaking and as I preferredto own her, so that I could do what I pleased[238]with her, I bought the “Britannia” outright, forseventy-five thousand dollars, from the London andHull Steamship Company. She had done seventeenknots, and probably could do it again, and wasstrongly built, though she was not intended for adead weight cargo in deep-sea sailing.

In the eyes of international law carrying arms, orother contraband, for warring nations is very differentfrom furnishing munitions of war to rebels,though the moral principle, as I see it, is the same.In the first instance, friendly powers, so called, areglad to furnish the warring nations with guns, withwhich they may kill each other off, at a profit to theirown citizens. In this case it is a survival of thefittest, with the peaceful nations extending their sympathyto both of the fighters and their aid to the onewith the deepest war chest. On the other hand, thesale of arms to rebels is forbidden, regardless of thefact that there can be no revolution without a rebellion,and that it is only through revolution, which issimply evolution, that mankind has advanced out ofthe so-called dark ages, even though they may havebeen, after all, the best. With the rebels, no matterhow lofty the principles they are fighting for, it isnot at all a question of the survival of the fittest, butthe perpetuation of the government that is, no matter[239]how bad. The “comity of nations” is such afearsome bugaboo that those who revolt against theestablished order of things, however galling it maybe, are frowned upon by all nations and given norights at all. To furnish them with arms is a crime;a violation of a law which, I am glad to say, I neverhave respected.

In the case of Peru and Bolivia and Chile it was awar of nations, with all of the other powers smilingapproval; therefore no trans-shipment of the cargo,at Amsterdam, or some other convenient clearinghouse, was necessary. Secrecy was required only tokeep from the Chilean Government knowledge of thefact that arms had been shipped to Peru and, if thatcould not be done, to prevent it from discovering thevessel on which they had been despatched. We gotthe cargo aboard without, so far as could be seen,arousing the suspicion of the Chilean agents, thoughthere was no doubt in my mind that they knew ofthe purchase of the guns. We then took on as muchcoal as the ship would carry, including a lot ofsmokeless, and got out, ostensibly headed for Japan.I promptly rechristened the ship the “Salome” andprepared a set of papers which indicated that wewere bound for Guayaquil, Ecuador, with a generalcargo. We put in at St. Vincent, in the Cape Verde[240]Islands, for coal, and, for the same purpose, at Pernambucoand Montevideo. At the latter port I tookon every pound of coal the ship would hold, includinga deckload, for it was a long run from there toCallao.

I did not take a chance on going through the narrowStraits of Magellan, and right past the Chileanport of Punta Arenas, but went clear around theHorn. On the way down to the Horn from MontevideoI stood far out, for I suspected that the Chilanosmight have a ship doing sentry duty at thelower end of the east coast and, while I had no fearthat she could run me down, I wished to avoid all suspicion.When we rounded the Horn I headedstraight west for three days, until we were well clearof the coast and outside of the regular course, andthen steamed due north until we reached the latitudeof Callao. Then we began burning our smokelesscoal and headed in, slowly and cautiously. Whenwe were twelve or fifteen miles offshore I sightedthe smoke of a vessel coming down from the north,and, soon afterward, another one approaching fromthe south. Experience and that sixth sense whichevery successful blockade runner must possess, toldme that they were two of the blockading fleet. Istayed so far down on the horizon that I could make[241]out nothing but their smoke and watched them asthey approached each other, met, and drew apart. Iwaited until each of them was, as nearly as I couldcalculate it, as far from what my course would beas I was from the harbor, and then made a dash for it,taking chances on finding one or two guard ships onpost right in front of the city, and prepared to showthem my heels the moment I sighted them. Luckily,there were no ships off the harbor nor did either ofthe patrol ships sight me, and I sailed up to the governmentdock with no more trouble than if I hadbeen going into Liverpool. The guns were taken outand I received my money, which was the easiest Ihad ever honestly earned, but it was because I understoodthe game and had been careful.

While the cargo was being unshipped the blockaderslearned that I had run past them and, to geteven with me, I suppose, they laid in wait for us tocome out. That did not worry me, however. I wasin no particular hurry to leave and waited until theywere weary of watching. Then, on a dark night, Istole out, hugged the shore to the south and slippedaway from them, without having as much as a hailthrown at me. I restored the ship to her propername and self but took the same course back again[242]around the Horn to keep clear of any entanglingalliances with the Chilean warships. I put in atBuenos Ayres for coal, picked up a cargo for Liverpool,and on my arrival there resold the ship for afew thousand dollars less than I had paid for her.



IN the old days, when I was cavorting with contrabandthroughout the West Indies and SouthAmerica, I ran into one unpleasant incident whichleft me with a large moral,—or immoral, accordingto the point of view,—obligation on my hands. Duringa quiet spell I had bought, at a bargain, a littleschooner at St. Thomas, loaded her with mahoganyat Santo Domingo, and started for Liverpool, to seewhat was going on in that part of the world. Wewere caught in a heavy gale and were forced to runinto Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, where we arrived in asinking condition. On the false charge that mypapers were forged the agent for Lloyds’, with whomthe ship was insured, seized the vessel as I was havingher repaired, and had me arrested for barratry.I was taken to Halifax, where I was put to considerableinconvenience in securing bail. I pleaded myown case and, as soon as I could get a hearing, wasreleased, but in the meantime the agent for the underwritershad libelled my ship and sold her at auction,and her new owners had sent her away to South[244]America. It was a downright steal but I did not considerit worth my while to stay there and fight thecase, so I simply swore to some day make Lloyds’pay dearly for the loss of my ship, and let it go atthat for the time being.

My last real adventure had ended with the burialof the “Leckwith,” for there had been nothing thrillingin the delivery of the arms I had carried to Montenegroand Peru, and I was hungry for some newexcitement, the very essence and sole enjoyment ofmy life. While casting about for something to satisfymy appetite the recollection of the Yarmouthoutrage came over me and I decided to steal a shipand let the underwriters pay for her, as partial compensationfor the one they had stolen from me. Aftera survey of the available supply, following my returnto London from Peru, late in the Summer of 1879, Ihit on the “Ferret,” a handsome and fairly fast littlepassenger steamer belonging to the Highland RailwayCompany, which was lying at Gourock Bay onthe Clyde. They would not let her out on a generalcharter, which was what I wanted, so I concluded tocharter her for a year for a cruise in the Mediterranean,with the option of purchase for fourteen thousandpounds at the end of that time. All of thenegotiations were conducted and the deal closed by[245]Joe Wilson, my trusted aide, and I was careful toimpress him with the necessity for the insertion ofthe option of purchase clause. I had so much confidencein him that I did not closely examine thecharter papers and not until it was too late did Idiscover that he had neglected to cover the one vitalpoint. My plan was to go back out East and dig upthe guns which Frank Norton and I had buried ona little island when we left the China Sea, and perhaps,if I found that I could stand it to revisit thescenes of the supreme joy and sadness which hadcome to me with the discovery of the BeautifulWhite Devil, resume the unholy occupation of preyingon the pirates between Singapore and HongKong. I wanted the option of purchase clauseinserted in the charter partly as a sop to my conscienceand partly with the idea that if we were, byany remote chance, apprehended before we reachedthe China Sea, I could announce that I had exercisedmy option and was prepared to pay for the ship. Iwas not sure that my conscience, for I still had one,would let me carry the deal through, and I figuredthat I could comfort it, if it troubled me too much,with the assurance that I might really buy the shipafter all, though I am frank to say I had no suchintention.

[246]With the delivery of the charter, in proper form asI supposed, I made a great show of fitting the shipout for a yachting cruise, at the same time smugglingon board two small cannon and a lot of rifles andammunition. Lorensen, my old captain, was seriouslyill, so I took on as sailing master a mannamed Watkins. He was well recommended but itlater developed that he had a strain of negro bloodand a well-defined streak of yellow. Tom Leigh, oneof my old men, was first officer, and next to himwas George Ross, another new one. We coaled atCardiff and cleared for Malaga. We passed Gibraltarlate in the afternoon, as was intended, and signalled“All well” to the observer for Lloyds’. As soon asit was dark we headed over toward the other shorefor twelve or fifteen miles and then stood straight outto sea again. As we made the second change in ourcourse we stove in a couple of our boats and threwthem overboard, along with a lot of life preservers.I wanted to make it appear that the “Ferret” hadfoundered, and we ran into a heavy blow which dovetailedbeautifully into my scheme. At daylight wewere well clear of Gibraltar but within sight of theMorrocan coast. I called the crew aft and addressedthem to this effect:

“Taking advantage of the option of purchase[247]clause in the charter, I now declare myself the ownerof this ship and will pay for her, as stipulated, at theend of the period for which she is chartered. We aregoing on a very different trip from that for whichyou signed. It will be attended by some danger but,probably, by profits which will more than compensateyou for the risk you run. Those of you who wish togo with me will receive double pay, a bonus of fiftydollars for signing new papers, and a share of theprofits from the trip. Those who do not care to gomay take a boat and go ashore.”

Every man agreed to stay with me. I thereuponrechristened the ship the “India,” a name legitimatelyheld by a vessel on the other side of theworld, as was indicated by Lloyds’ register, fired agun and dipped the flag and declared her in commission.At the same time I rechristened myself, aceremony to which I was equally accustomed, andtook the name of James Stuart Henderson. I presentedthe ship with a new log and certificate ofregistry and other necessary papers, from the counterfeitblanks I always carried, and all of the mensigned the new articles. We then headed for Santos,Brazil, with the idea of keeping clear of Britishwaters until the loss of the “Ferret” had become anestablished fact. On the way the brass plate on the[248]main beam, showing that the engines were built forthe “Ferret,” was removed, and the new name tookthe place of the old one everywhere about the ship.The chart room and wheelhouse were taken off thebridge and rebuilt over the wheel amidships. Someof the upper works were stripped away and the wholeappearance of the vessel was changed to such anextent that even her builders would hardly haverecognized her.

At Santos I bought outright a cargo of coffee andheaded for Cape Town, South Africa, where I consignedit to Wm. G. Anderson & Son, with instructionsto sell it for cash, and quickly. On the tripacross the Atlantic, Ross, the second officer, who hadbeen one of the boldest at first, all at once becamevery anxious regarding the outcome of the trip andhis future welfare. Watkins, the sailing master, whohad shown a domineering nature that I did not like,also hoisted the white feather. Griffin, too, the chiefengineer, displayed some symptoms of cold feet, buthe was a brave man at heart and his trouble waseasily cured. I allowed Ross to return to Englandfrom Cape Town, and Watkins caught the gold feverand started for Pretoria. I had no fear that eitherof them would engage in any unwise talk, for bothhad signed forged articles with their eyes wide open.[249]I made Leigh sailing master and we cleared light forAustralia, with a short stop at the Mauritius for coal.We coaled again at Albany, West Australia. Fromthere we went to Port Adelaide, South Australia,and then on to Melbourne, where we came to grief.Off Port Philip Head we signalled for a pilot anda canny Scot came aboard. He seemed suspiciousof us from the first and I noticed that he was studyingthe ship closely as we steamed up to an anchorageoff Williamstown. Two young royal princeshad just arrived on a British fleet and there weregala goings-on when we entered the harbor.

I landed at once and went to the Civil ServiceClub Hotel to recuperate from a bad case of malariawhich I had contracted at the Mauritius. While notalarmed by the apparent suspicion of the pilot, I wasimpressed by it, and gave strict orders to Leigh toallow no one to come aboard. Leigh’s one weaknesswas drink and to guard against his becoming helplesslyintoxicated I instructed Wilson to eitherremain on board or visit the ship every day. Myfever grew worse after I went ashore and in two orthree days the doctor decided that I should have anurse, as I was all alone. The doctor was with mewhen the nurse arrived and as he entered the doorthe doctor made a quick movement as though something[250]had startled him, and looked from one of usto the other in amazement. I could not imaginewhat had happened until he said: “That man looksenough like you to be your twin brother. I neverhave seen such a resemblance between two men.”

I surveyed the nurse more critically and saw thatwe did look strangely alike, even to the scarred face.He had a scar on his left cheek, whereas mine is onmy right, and it was shorter than mine, but it servedto heighten our resemblance. We could not havebeen more alike in build if we had been cast fromthe same mould, and any one who did not know usintimately could easily have been excused for takingone of us for the other. The nurse said his namewas William Nourse and that he had arrived in Melbourneonly two or three days before from Tasmania,where he had worked in the Hobartstown hospital.As we got better acquainted he told me he had had arun of hard luck in Hobartstown; that his wife haddeserted him and he had taken to drink and lost hisposition, and that he had come to Australia to makea fresh start.

While I was recovering at the hotel events weretranspiring in connection with the ship which tendedto dissuade my spirit from becoming overproud.Wilson, it developed, soon relaxed his vigilance and[251]gave himself up to pleasures ashore but without comingnear me, whereupon old Leigh blithely betookhimself to his beloved bottle. After a few days theshrewd Scotch pilot paid the ship a friendly visit,found Leigh full three sheets in the wind, encouragedhim to proceed with his potations until he fell asleep,and then went over the ship at his leisure, takingmeasurements and making observations. Naturally,her measurements corresponded exactly with those ofthe “Ferret,” which had been reported as missing witha probability that she had gone down in the Mediterranean,and he reported his suspicions and the resultof his investigation to the authorities. Being aScotchman he was not actuated so much by honestyand a desire that right should prevail as by theexpectation of a substantial reward. The ship waspromptly seized for some technical violation of theport regulations, which gave the officials an opportunityto make a detailed inspection and take all ofher measurements, and Leigh and the few membersof the crew who were on board when the seizurewas made were detained there. Leigh refused to saya word but one or two of the crew, believing the fatwas in the fire and wishing to save their own bacon,told enough to confirm all of the suspicions that wereentertained regarding us. Leigh was then formally[252]placed under arrest and search was instituted forWilson and me.

I was greatly surprised when, late one afternoonabout ten days after our arrival at Melbourne, Ireceived word from Joe that the ship had been recognizedas the “Ferret” and seized, that he had takento the bush and that I had better disappear as quicklyand quietly as possible if I wished to escape arrest,for the officers were looking for both of us. Fearful,for the first time, that Joe had made a mistake, andcursing my carelessness, I dug into my papers anddiscovered that the charter contained no option ofpurchase clause. That made it serious business andI understood why Joe had taken such precipitateflight. I knew if I stayed at the hotel my arrestwas only a matter of a few hours and that if I soughtto escape, the chances were that I would be caught,but I determined to make a try for it. By that timeI was able to be up and walk around my room,though I had not left it, but I had Nourse pass theword around the hotel that I had had a seriousrelapse and was in such a precarious condition thatI must not be disturbed by visitors nor by any noisenear my rooms.

I told Nourse that a warrant was out for my arreston some technical violation of the port regulations[253]and that, while I had no fear of the result of a trial,I did not feel strong enough to go through it, andtherefore I intended to leave at once and secretly andstay away until the trouble blew over. He agreedto go with me and soon after dark we left the hotelquietly by a rear entrance which opened onto analley. I left behind all of my luggage except a bagin which I carried about five thousand, five hundredpounds in gold and Bank of England notes, anda few articles of clothing. We engaged a carriageand drove to a suburb on the railroad running toSydney, where we stayed all night, as all of the eveningtrains had left. My idea was to get to Sydneyor Newcastle, where I hoped to bribe the captain ofsome outgoing ship to take me on board as a stowaway.We took the morning train and rode as far asSeymour, about seventy-five miles from Melbourne.There we hired a rig and drove across country toLongwood, where we picked up the railroad after ithad passed an important junction point which Iwished to avoid as I feared the officers would bewatching for us there. On the long drive to LongwoodI became convinced that my capture was certain,for the country was so thinly settled that wewere sure to attract attention and be easily followed,if we undertook to drive through it, while if I stuck[254]to the railroad I was sure to be apprehended. Inseeking some new way out of the dilemma I conceivedthe idea of having Nourse take my place. There wasno reason that money could not remove to preventhim from doing so, for neither of us was known, anda physical description, such as the police would have,would fit either of us. I was becoming more andmore apprehensive of danger and as we neared LongwoodI put the proposition up to him.

“What do you say, Nourse, to changing placeswith me and letting yourself be arrested, if it comesto that? I will engage a good lawyer to defend youand even if you should be convicted, which I doubt,you would not have to spend more than a few monthsin jail, at the most. You are strong and could standthe confinement, while it would about put me underthe turf. According to your own story there is noone who cares what trouble you get into, and evenif you went to jail you probably would be as happythere as anywhere. How much will you take to doit?”

“I had been thinking of that very thing,” he replied.“I don’t care much what happens to me, but I amnot exactly hungry for a long term in Pentridge. Ifthis thing is no worse than you say it is, though, I’ll[255]swap places with you and see it through for twohundred pounds.”

I accepted his terms without argument. Healready knew enough about me so that he couldadopt my identity, without fear of detection exceptunder a searching inquiry, but I quickly framed up alife history for him and told him the full and truestory of the “Ferret.” I cautioned him, however, ifhe was arrested, to make no statement of any kinduntil he had talked with the lawyer I would send tohim. As soon as we reached Longwood we exchangedclothing, even down to our underwear, socks,and shoes. Nourse was transformed into JamesStuart Henderson, dressed by Pool of London, and Ibecame a rather shabbily attired nurse. I paidNourse his money, which relieved me of most of myload of gold, and concealed the rest of my money inmy rough and roomy shoes and under my more orless dirty garments.

We had just finished dinner and were sitting alonein the hotel office, rehearsing the part Nourse wasto play, when a sergeant and two officers, who hadgot track of us at Seymour, rode up on horseback.We saw them through the window and I moved backinto the shadow for, though I did not look greatlyunlike Nourse in our changed garb, I did not wish the[256]officers to notice our facial resemblance. With onlya glance at me they walked right up to Nourse andplaced him under arrest. He professed amazementbut readily admitted that he was James Stuart Henderson.He said he was driving through the country,with a nurse, for his health, having just recoveredfrom the fever.

The orders of the officers called for the arrest ofonly one man so I was not interfered with. Theywere after big game and, much to my satisfaction,considered me hardly worthy of their notice. Stillanxious to avoid close range comparison withNourse, I did not return to Melbourne on the sametrain with them the next morning, but went downby the one that followed it. I kept well clear of thejail to which the bogus Henderson had been hustledand went to a little hotel on Swanston Street, kept bya German named Hellwig. The first thing I heardwas that Joe, who had taken the train ahead of me,had been captured at Albury, where the railroadcrosses the Murray River, which divides Victoriafrom New South Wales, and was on his way back, incharge of an officer, to join Leigh and my counterfeitpresentment behind the bars.

I at once engaged Jarvis, the best barrister inAustralia, to defend them, and later employed Gillette[257]& Stanton, another high-class firm, to assist him. Itold them, of course, the real facts, and had theminstruct Leigh and Joe to coach Nourse in the parthe was to play and to maintain the proper attitudetoward him. The moment Leigh saw “Henderson”he knew there was something wrong somewhere buthe was too shrewd to indicate it and greeted the newcomercordially. I had described Leigh to Nourse sothat he could not mistake him and he walked rightup to him and shook hands. When Joe joined themin jail Leigh got to him first and posted him. Theywere charged with conspiracy and barratry and wereindicted, altogether, on seven counts.

Nourse was as game as a hornet and played his partwell, yet he was not born a gentleman and he wasaltogether lacking in that savoir faire which is regardedas a necessary makeup of the typical soldierof fortune, which Henderson was supposed to be.George Smyth, the prosecuting attorney, was ashrewd chap, as well as a gilt-edged sea lawyer, andit was not long until he began to suspect that he hada bogus Henderson in limbo and that the real ravisherof maritime law was still at liberty. Some ofthe other officials came to doubt that they had theright man and this suspicion became so strong by thetime the trial came on that they had detectives out[258]quietly searching for the real Henderson. Thisinformation reached the lawyers whom I hademployed, but whom I saw infrequently as I remaineddiscreetly in the background, and they insisted, asthey had previously suggested, that I go away untilthe case was concluded.

“This case is much more serious than you realize,”said Gillette, as he again urged me to leave Melbournefor my own protection, or go into close hiding andstay there. “Unfortunately, Nourse is not nearly soclever as you. You are damned clever, but you arenot clever enough to avoid being nabbed if you stayaround here while the trial is on.”

“I think you’re wrong,” I told him, “but I’m payingyou for your advice and if it is good enough tobuy it ought to be good enough to take. I’ll go outand bury myself.”

“Right,” he said. “See that you make a good jobof it.”

“I will,” I replied. “I am going to bury myselfin a real tomb.”

The lawyer looked up a bit startled. “You don’tmean that you intend to kill yourself?” he askedwith some anxiety.

I laughed at him. “Not much,” I told him. “Ilike to explore strange lands but I always want to[259]come back. If there really are any detectives on mytrail, the last place they will look for me is the cemetery,and I will go out there and cache myself awayin Sir William Clark’s tomb. It is an ideal hidingplace, so far as security is concerned, and you candevote all of your thought to the trial, without anyfear that I will be discovered and disarrange things.”

“But people are buried in there,” exclaimed theman of law with a show of horror which evidencedgreat reverence for the dead.

“So much the better for my purpose,” I said, asI walked out of his office. “I’m off for my tomb.”

The idea of using the Clark tomb, which I had previouslynoticed while walking through the cemetery,as a hiding place, had come to me while the lawyerwas urgently renewing his advice to me to get undercover until the conclusion of the trial. The mausoleumwas in an out-of-the-way corner of the deadcity and I knew that if I could get inside of it I wouldbe safe from intrusion. It was about twelve by sixteenfeet in size and was closed with a solid iron door,but above it was a grating which would furnishplenty of ventilation.

The landlord of the hotel where I was stoppinghad a delightful Dutch daughter, with whom I hadbecome very friendly, and when I returned there after[260]my talk with the lawyer, she informed me that twomen had been around making guarded inquiriesregarding a man answering my description. Shetook them for detectives, she said, and without knowingor suspecting why they were looking for me shehad thrown them off the scent. This convinced methat there was a chase on, after all, and that it wasgetting so hot that I had no time to lose.

With a blanket wrapped about the upper part ofmy body, and with the pockets of Nourse’s dirty oldwhite overcoat stuffed with pilot bread, cannedmeats, candles, a dark lantern, and books, I went outto the cemetery that evening. I had some doubtabout being able to get into the tomb but I succeededin picking the lock with a piece of heavy wire and proceededto take up my abode with the departed Clarks.There were three of them and from the sizes of thecaskets I took them to be father, mother, and child.There was one unoccupied niche and in that I arrangedmy bed, with my blanket and Nourse’sovercoat.

I lived in the tomb for three weeks without arousingthe slightest suspicion that it was occupied. Mysurroundings did not worry me at all—in fact Inever had such quiet and orderly companions—andafter I had adapted myself to them I was fairly comfortable.[261]My meals were simple to a degree thatwould have delighted a social settlement worker.I was accustomed to softer beds, but the change didme no harm. I did most of my sleeping during theday, when I could not smoke without fear of beingdiscovered, and every night, between midnight anddawn, I took a walk through the cemetery. Twice aweek, at an appointed rendezvous, I met the landlord’sdaughter, who brought me a fresh supply ofcanned stuff, bread, and reading matter, and the latestnews of the trial. Twice, toward the last of it, whenI was very hungry I ventured into the outskirts ofthe city and filled up at a cheap eating house. Duringthe early morning and evening I read by the lightof the dark lantern, which was so placed, with theblanket as a screen, that its rays could not be seenthrough the grating over the door. By the time thetrial was well over and I was free to come out I hadfallen into the routine of my new hotel and was sowell situated that, if I could have been assured ofabout three square meals a week, I would not havecomplained greatly if I had been forced to stay theresix months.

The trial was held before Judge Williams andresulted in a conviction. I had expected no otherverdict, for with the option of purchase clause missing[262]from the charter it was a clear case. The lawyers forthe defence contended, of course, that Hendersonhad announced that he had purchased the ship andthat only his illness had prevented him from so advisingher owners, but they could not satisfactorilyexplain why he and Wilson had taken to the bushwhen the vessel was seized. Nourse was subjectedto a most severe examination by the prosecutingattorney in an effort to prove that he was not the realHenderson, but he had been thoroughly coached byJoe and Leigh and acquitted himself so well thatmuch of the suspicion which had been entertainedthat he was playing a part was removed, but not allof it.

The crucial moment came when the clerk of thecourt called out, “James Stuart Henderson, standup,” and Judge Williams asked him if he knew ofany reason why sentence should not be passed uponhim. According to the lawyers, the situation wasintensely dramatic. The judge, the prosecutingattorney, and all of the more or less skeptical officials,were boring holes through poor Nourse’s headwith their eyes. He had but to open his mouth toclear himself and start every officer in Australia on ahunt for me from which I would have found it hardto escape, but he was true blue. He looked back atthe judge bravely and simply said, “No, sir.”

[263]Nourse and Wilson were sentenced to seven yearsand Leigh to three and one-half years in Pentridgeprison. With the time deducted for good behavior,this meant five years and three months for Nourseand Joe and less than three years for Leigh. Whenthe case assumed a more serious aspect than I hadbelieved it would when I bargained with Nourse totake my place, I sent word to him that I would payhim well if he would “play the string out,” and assoon as I left the tomb I deposited five thousand dollarswhich was to be paid to him when he wasreleased. I spent some time and considerable moneyin an effort to secure a pardon for my companions,but when I found that was impossible I returned toEngland, with a promise to be back in Australia bythe time their terms expired. On the long trip backto London I spent a lot of time in reproaching myselffor the result of the unfortunate cruise. It was thefirst mistake I had ever made and, while I was notprimarily to blame, the responsibility was mine, forI was at fault in not having seen that all of the paperswere in proper form. That experience taught me alesson and I never again fell into a blunder of thatsort. The Highland Railway subsequently sold the“Ferret” to run between Albany and Adelaide.



WITH my return to London in the earlyeighties, after I had been sent to prison byproxy for seven years in Australia, the old lure of theWest Indies, with their continuous riot of revolutions,came over me so strongly that I could not hold outagainst it, nor did I try. Frank Norton, my old partnerin piracy, had the “Queen of the Seas” at the EastIndian docks, where he was displaying a ship ventilatingapparatus which he had invented. He urgedme to go back to the China Sea with him and resumeoperations against the pirates, but I put him off.Soon after leaving him I ran into an English engineernamed Tucker, whom I had known in Venezuela,and from him I learned that Guzman Blanco, theDictator, was in Paris, his foreign capital, fromwhich he was directing the government of Venezuelathrough a dummy President, and was anxious to seeme. I was not particularly desirous of seeing him,however, for I feared I could not resist him, and Ihad no wish to again be tied down in Caracas, as Ihad been before when I was his confidential agent.[265]I was much more interested in reports which reachedme, through contraband channels, that a new revolutionwas shaping up in Costa Rica, and that therewas a prospect of trouble in Hayti and even inVenezuela.

I took the first ship for Halifax and went fromthere to St. John, New Brunswick, where I boughtthe fore and aft schooner “George V. Richards.” Shewas a trim-looking craft of about one hundred andeighty tons, and stanch, but, as I discovered later,as faddish as an old maid. We never could trim herto suit her and she never behaved twice the sameunder similar conditions. In the same weather shewould settle back on her stern like a balky mule orsail like a racing yacht, just as the spirit moved her.Yet I was fond of her, for she was a great deal likemyself; she had her wits about her all of the timeand was at her best in an emergency. I took her toBridgeport, Connecticut, where I loaded up with oldSharps and Remington rifles and a lot of ammunition,and, after burying them under sixty tons of coal,sailed for Venezuela to see what was going on inGuzman’s absence.

Instead of going direct to La Guaira, where I waswell known, I headed for Maracaibo, the city thatgave Venezuela its name. Alonzo de Ojeda, who followed[266]Columbus, sailed westward along the coast ofTerra Firme, which the Great Discoverer had spokenof as “the most beautiful lands in the world,” tothe Gulf of Maracaibo. There he found severalIndian villages built on piles and, prompted by thissuggestion, he named the land Venezuela, or “LittleVenice.” Maracaibo has a splendid harbor for light-draftvessels, and but for the fact that it has beensubject to the whims of successive plundering presidentsit would now be the chief city of the country.Not only is it the port of a great and rich section ofVenezuela, but it is the only outlet for the coffee andother products of a large part of Colombia. Eversince their separation there has been ill-feelingbetween the two republics, and it has suited the fancyof every Venezuelan president since Guzman’s day,Castro being the chief offender, to spasmodicallyshut off all communication with Colombia, with consequentdisastrous effects to the trade of Maracaibo.As a partial offset to these recurrent embargoes, thecity boasts of a brand of yellow fever that hasactually made it famous, at least among travellers inSouth America. It is so mild that it is seldom fataland wise folks who are ticketed for the interior ofVenezuela go to Maracaibo and stay until they havehad the fever and become immune.

[267]The collector of customs at Maracaibo “borrowed”a fine rifle from me, which is one of the South Americanvarieties of graft, and put me up at the club,where I was thrown in friendly contact with thepeople I wished to meet. I found that General Alcantarawas acting as dummy President while Guzmanwas enjoying himself in Europe, and I soon satisfiedmyself, from remarks dropped by his friends inresponse to my guarded inquiries, that he was ambitiousto become the ruler of Venezuela in fact as wellas in name. The movement to overthrow Guzmanwas, in fact, taking definite form, and I sold a partof my arms to Alcantara’s friends. They wanted tobuy the entire cargo, but I refused to part with it,on the ground that the bulk of it had been contractedfor elsewhere. It was apparent that serious troublewas brewing for Guzman and, instead of proceedingto Costa Rica, I sailed for La Guaira, intending tovisit Caracas and look the situation over at closerange.

At the capital there was the same undercurrent ofrevolt against the dictatorship of Guzman, which wasbeing secretly encouraged by the partisans of the actingPresident. I called at the Yellow House to paymy respects to Alcantara, whom I had known in Guzman’sarmy, and in the course of our conversation[268]he suggested that I remain in Caracas and becomehis friend, as I had been Guzman’s. He did not tellme of his real ambition in so many words, but Ineeded no binoculars to see what was in his mind. Iat once wrote Guzman fully, telling him of Alcantara’streachery and describing the situation as I hadfound it, and then sailed for Costa Rica. Guzmanhad also heard of what was going on through othersources and, as I subsequently learned, he returnedto Venezuela a few months later, before the revoltthat was being hatched had broken its shell. Thegovernment was promptly turned over to him byAlcantara, who at once started to leave the country,evidently fearing that if he remained he would besummarily sent to San Carlos, then as now theunhappy home of political prisoners. He started forLa Guaira by the old post road, along which were anumber of public houses. In one of these he met aparty of politicians and while with them he diedsuddenly. It was charged by Alcantara’s friends thathe was poisoned by order of Guzman, who suspectedthat he was going away to launch a revolution, butthe friends of Guzman claimed that he ate heartilyof rich salads while in a heated condition and diedfrom acute indigestion. The latter version of it hasalways been my view, for Guzman was not the man[269]to have an enemy, nor even a friend who had playedhim false, put out of the way in such fashion. Guzmanwas a dictator to his finger tips, but he wasnothing of a murderer.

The Costa Ricans were, I found, making one oftheir periodical but always futile efforts to deposetheir President, General Tomaso Guardia, and I hadno difficulty in disposing of my arms and ammunition,which I exchanged for a cargo of coffee. Imight have joined the revolution had I not becomeconvinced that it had no more chance of success thanthose which had preceded it. Gen. Guardia, whoruled until he died, was one of the few strong menCentral America has produced. He was the Diazof Costa Rica and as much of a dictator as GuzmanBlanco, whom he greatly resembled in his friendshipfor foreigners and his contempt for the natives.When he heard of a political leader, so called, whowas trying to stir up trouble, Gen. Guardia wouldsend for him and say: “Your health has not beengood for some time. I see that you are failing. Youneed a long trip. Go to Europe and stay a year,” ortwo years or five, according to circ*mstances. Acouple of trusted lieutenants were assigned to staywith the politely condemned exile, “to see that hewanted for nothing,” and he never failed to take the[270]next ship for foreign shores. Another presidentialmethod was to summon some discontented one, whowas planning an insurrection, and make him a memberof the Cabinet. Flattered by this honor the newMinister was easily tempted to come out with exaggeratedexpressions of confidence in Gen. Guardiaand his government. Thereupon the President wouldkick him into the street. “There,” he would say tothe natives, “you see, all that man wanted wasmoney. He is nothing of a patriot.”

Guardia always smiled, whether he was sentencinga man to exile or ejecting him from his shiftingCabinet; he regarded the natives as only children.By such methods as these he made himself master ofthe country, and the little rebellions which sprangup from time to time were quickly suppressed. Oneof the foreigners for whom he developed a greatliking was Dr. W. R. Bross, a New York physicianwho was at Port Limon with a party of engineerswho were building a railroad from the coast into theinterior. While on a visit to Port Limon the Presidentdiscovered that Dr. Bross had much more skillthan any of the physicians at the capital. He wantedhim to go to Europe with him and, when this propositionwas rejected, urged him to accompany him toSan Jose, the capital, and become his private physician,[271]at a salary he was to name himself. This offerwas also turned down. Had Dr. Bross been moreworldly, and less devoted to the men who were in hiscare, he could have secured concessions worth millionsof dollars, for Gen. Guardia was more than generousto his friends.

I suspected that the coffee I received had beenstolen from planters who were loyal to the government,and that the rebels had “levied” on it as a wartax, but as they charged me three cents less a poundthan the market price, while I charged them four orfive times as much for the arms and ammunition asthey cost me, I had no compunctions of conscienceabout taking it. It is a waste of good time and preciousprotoplasm to sympathize with Central or SouthAmericans who are pillaged by rebels, for in thenext uprising the victims of the previous one will, intheir turn, be the plunderers. Thanks to the meddlingof American warships, things have quieted downa great deal within recent years, but in the good olddays, of which I am writing, revolutions were asmuch a part of the daily life of the people in thosecountries as their morning meal, and more so thantheir morning bath. In fact, the most popular morningsalutation was, “Who are we revoluting for [oragainst] to-day?” Few went further and asked why[272]they were in revolt, for that was a minor considerationand there were not many who knew.At least nine-tenths of the steady routine ofrevolutions were due to nothing more than personalambition, which has been the curse of LatinAmerica. Some man of influence or a disgruntledgeneral who had helped to elevate some other generalto the presidency, and then had not been shownthe consideration to which he thought himself entitled,would raise the standard of rebellion. Under aplethora of promises as to what he would do whenhe became president, he would attract other dissatisfiedones to his cause, and it usually was only a questionof time until he overturned the unstable government.Then he would, in turn, be unable orunwilling to make good on all of his promises, realor implied, and those whom he disappointed wouldproceed to throw him out. Every man of importancehad a following of ignorant natives who, eitherbecause they had grown up in his section of thecountry and had been taught to show him homage,or because they expected to lead lazy lives when hebecame all-powerful, would follow him blindly. Arevolution which involved any question of good governmentwas almost unheard of. It is nothing butthe inordinate and, among the upper classes, almost[273]unanimous thirst for power that has retarded thedevelopment of these rich countries for generations.Blessed by nature beyond the understanding of thosewho have not spent years in them, they have beencursed by man. When they have become civilizedand their development once sets in, it will eclipse anythingAmerica has ever seen.

But these observations are not a part of my story.With the cargo of loyalist coffee we headed for NewOrleans. We made bad weather of it all of the way.The faddish ship wouldn’t sail or heave to and wasas cranky as an old man in his dotage. Some dayswe actually went backward, and it was a long timebefore we raised South Pass light and were pickedup by a tug. The moment the hawser tightened theold ship threw herself back on her haunches andrefused to budge. The captain of the towboat, afterstruggling strenuously to get us under way, droppedback and screamed at me, “What in hell is thematter with that damned old hooker?”

“You don’t know how to tow and she knows it,”I retorted.

“One would think you had all the anchors in theUnited States down,” he shouted.

I assured him that we didn’t have even one downand he tried it again and finally got us to going.[274]We were off quarantine soon after sundown and discoveredthat an embargo of forty days against CentralAmerican ports had been raised only an hourbefore. The balkiness of the “Richards” had preventedus from having to ride at anchor for days orweeks and be subjected to casual inspection and gossipwhich might have caused trouble. While the delayhad been of service to us in that respect it provokedsome anxiety on another point. I had an idea thatthe Costa Rican Government might try to have theship seized, and our trip had been such a long onethat no time was to be lost in selling our cargo andgetting away. I took samples of the coffee to NewOrleans on a tug and placed them in the hands ofold Peter Stevens, of the Produce Exchange, whosold the whole cargo in an hour.

While the coffee was coming out stores were goingin, and we were out of the river again and on our wayto Hayti in record time. Though I had good causeto remember Santo Domingo I never had been in the“Black Republic,” and as I had heard there was aprobability of some lively times there I determinedto visit it before I returned to New York. But thecrankiness of the “Richards” interfered with myplans. When we were about one hundred miles westof Key West the old ship committed suicide by burning[275]herself to death. The fire started in the holdamidships, but we could not even imagine what mighthave caused it. It was so unexpected that it had agood start before we discovered it. We fought it,of course, but we might as well have tried to quencha volcano in eruption. The strange craft had madeup her mind to go under, and there was nothing forus to do but take to the whaleboat, which was largeenough for all of us, as I had only a small crew. Afterwe had shoved off we returned at considerable riskto rescue a big black cat which was on the ship whenI bought her. We had christened him “John Croix,”and every man on board undertook to teach him allhe knew about navigation, with the result that theanimal had become so highly educated that he could doeverything about the ship but use the sextant.

Our humanity was well rewarded, for John savedour lives, or at least saved us from a lot of suffering.A stiff norther came up before we sighted land andfor several days we were tossed about without anyclear idea as to the direction in which we were beingblown, for not once did we get a glimpse of sun ormoon by which to take a reckoning. Eventually wedrifted among the islands to the westward of KeyWest, and we headed for the largest one in sight. Inthe heavy sea that was running we made a bad mess[276]of the landing. Our boat was overturned and stovein, the bung came out of the water cask, and all ofour supplies and most of our instruments were lost.We got ashore all right, and John Croix with us, butwe had neither food nor water, and when a searchof the little island failed to reveal so much as asign of a spring of fresh water, we began to givesome thought to what our chances would be in thehereafter. We bivouacked gloomily that night onthe beach. Early in the morning the cat awakenedme by rubbing against my face. At first I thoughthe was only depressed, like the rest of us, and wantedcompany, but he pestered around until I got up andfollowed him. Calling to me over his shoulder heled the way to a clump of mangrove trees, whoseroots overhung the bank three feet above high tide.John trotted under the mass of roots and began topurr loudly. I started to follow him and then backedout, but the cat yowled so loudly that I got downon all fours again and followed him. I crawled alongfor ten or twelve feet until I found John standingover a rivulet of fresh water about as big as my finger.I drank my fill from it and then awakened the othersand told them of John’s discovery. They hailed himas our saviour, and when he came trotting into campa couple of hours later with an oyster in his mouth[277]they were ready to beatify him. Until John hadshown us the way to food, as he had led us to water,we had not thought of looking for oysters, of whichthere were millions around the roots of the mangrovetrees. Strengthened and encouraged we patched upour boat and, when the storm had blown itself out,put to sea again and encountered a little schoonerfrom St. John’s, Florida, which took us to Key West,where we soon got a ship for New York. On theway north we put in at Charleston, where I hadenjoyed much excitement as a blockade runner, andthere I presented John Croix to a Methodist ministerwho promised to give him a good home.

I was still anxious to visit Hayti, that land ofmystery and murder, and, in the guise of an Englishplanter, I went there on a West Indian steamer.Hayti has had more internal troubles and morepresidents than any other of the revolutionary republicsand her domestic disorders will continue untilthey are stopped by some powerful outside influences,for the blacks and mulattoes are eternal enemies. Inthe first three years following the separation fromSanto Domingo there were four presidents. In 1849Soulouque, a negro, proclaimed himself Emperor, asFaustian I. He ruled with despotic power, renewedthe war on Santo Domingo, and played hob generally[278]with the nation’s finances and affairs. In 1858General Geffrard, a mulatto whom Soulouque hadcondemned to death, revolted and proclaimed himselfPresident. He restored the constitution and held onuntil 1867, when he was overthrown by General Salnave,who lasted three years before he was deposedand shot. He had four successors in twice as manyyears, the last one being General Salomon, who wasat the head of affairs when I arrived on the scene.

It did not take me long to make up my mind thatHayti was the warmest hotbed of intrigue I had everrun across and I felt that I was among friends andin a thoroughly congenial atmosphere. The very airseemed to breed revolutions; perhaps because it waspeopled with the spirits of the old buccaneers whohad their headquarters at the western end of theisland in the entrancing early days. There weremany plotters for the presidency, but there were twogreat rival camps, one headed by General F. D. Legitimeand the other by General Florville Hippolyte.Legitime was planning to overturn the governmentat once, but it was the scheme of Hippolyte, who wasmore cunning and willing to wait, to continue Salomonin power until the election of 1886, when heexpected to secure his own election as ConstitutionalPresident. All of the plots and counter-plots were[279]laid in secret, of course, yet all men of influenceknew in a general way what the others were doingand where they stood, with due allowance for thetreachery always found in Latin countries, whichcreates a delightful element of uncertainty.

Hippolyte was one of the ugliest negroes I haveever known—and my estimate of him as here setdown is in no way influenced by the fact that someyears later he arranged to have me carefully murdered.With his bloodshot eyes and white whiskers,which latter reminded one of dirty lace curtains,his cruel face was suggestive of some wild animal.He was abrupt and domineering in his manner andthere was not a forgiving drop of blood in his veins.If the hippopotamus is as savage a brute as has beenpictured, Hippolyte should have taken all of his namefrom that animal. He could laugh, but only like ahyena, and it was impossible for him to smile. Brutaland bloodthirsty, he was at the same time a forcefulold villain and possessed of much native shrewdness.Like all of the blacks he was a devout voodooworshipper, and with the aid of the papalois—thepriesthood of the cannibalistic creed—he played onthe superstitions of the ignorant negroes. We becamewell acquainted during the year or more thatI loafed around Port au Prince, revelling in the oddly[280]warlike surroundings and watching the buddingplots, and at times I found him interesting.

Legitime was the opposite of Hippolyte in all ofhis qualities. He was a bright, intelligent, progressivemulatto; well educated for a Haytien and with agood address and the manners of a gentleman.Intense loyalty was one of his strongest characteristicsand he had visions of his country’s immediatefuture which have not yet, after twenty-five years,been in any degree realized. No one questioned hisbravery, and while he to some extent lacked firmnessand strength of character, I believed he would developthese vital traits with age, for he was then a comparativelyyoung man. He had the elements of afirst-class president, and had he ever become firmlyestablished in that office Hayti would to-day be avery different country and a much more agreeableneighbor.

In the end I allied myself with Legitime, and inso doing incurred the bitter enmity of Hippolyte, whohad told me something of his plans and had evengone so far as to suggest, without going into details,that I coöperate with him when the time for actionarrived. The result was that when I went over to hishated rival he took it as a deadly insult, and thechances are that we would have taken a few shots[281]at each other if my stay in the country had not beencut short. I was negotiating with Legitime to supplyhim with arms and take a commission in hisarmy, and we were getting along famously towarda real revolution when suddenly, in the latter part of1884, President Salomon ordered that he be expelledfrom the country for plotting against him. If Legitimehad been less popular he would have beenunceremoniously shot, but Salomon’s influence wasalready beginning to wane and he did not care toadd largely to his enemies, so he contented himselfwith an order of expulsion. At the same time,through the instrumentality of Hippolyte, the suggestionwas conveyed to me that the climate of Haytiwas not suited to my health. Legitime boarded aship for Jamaica, which was conveniently in the harborwhen his expulsion was announced, and I accompaniedhim. He told me the time was not ripe forhis revolt and that he proposed to wait until the conditionswere more favorable for him. As a matter offact he waited four years, and while he succeeded inoverthrowing Salomon in the end, his rule was short-lived.I remained with him in Kingston for sometime and then, as I saw no prospect of quick action,returned to Australia, by way of London, where Iresumed my British name of George MacFarlane.

[282]I reached Melbourne in 1885, after an absence ofabout four years, and went to Menzies’ Hotel, whichwas not the one I had stopped at before, when I wasJames Stuart Henderson. Of my three companionswho had been sent to prison for stealing the “Ferret,”Leigh, the sailing master, had recently completedhis term, while Nourse, who impersonated me, andJoe Wilson, had still nearly two years to serve. Ilocated Leigh and put him to work for Nevins, a sailmaker, and sent word to the others that I was thereand would wait around until they came out. Then,fearing that I might be recognized by some of theofficers who had suspected, during the trial, thatNourse was playing a part, with the probable resultthat I would be forced to again change places withhim, which I had no wish to do, I went on to Sydney.There I met Montfort & Co., merchants and speculators,through whom I became financially interestedin a group of silver properties known as the SunnyCorner Mines, in the Broken Hills district in NewSouth Wales. We also laid claim to Mount Morgan,deceptively described as “A Mountain of Gold,”which was partly in Queensland. We plunged heavilyon a question of title, which was in litigation, andstood, as we thought, to make many millions. Whenthe decision of the highest court was finally announced[283]the bottom fell out of our scheme, for wewere knocked out at every point, and there was avoid in my bank account which represented considerablymore than one hundred thousand dollars.

From the time of my first visit to Australia thelaboring men had been conducting an anti-Chineseagitation, to perpetuate and strengthen their powerover capital. There were not then, nor are there now,nearly enough workers in the country to supply thedemand. The native blacks are without question thelaziest people under the sun. The notoriously indolentWest Indian negro is an enterprising and ambitiouscitizen by comparison with them, for there isno power on earth by which they can be made towork. The Chinese, always on the lookout for alabor market, soon heard of the rich field and invadedit in droves, whereupon the white workmen ofall grades set up a great hullabaloo; it was there Ifirst heard the cry of the “Yellow Peril.” The employers,fearful of antagonizing their employees,either joined with them or let them have their ownway. They urged England to put a stop to the importationof Chinese and when the mother country,which was extending its “sphere of influence”(meaning thereby the acquisition of territory) furtherand further into the Celestial Empire, declined to act,[284]Victoria and New South Wales took the matter intotheir own hands and passed a Chinese exclusion law.It provided that any ship captain who brought Chineseinto these Provinces should be compelled toreturn them, forfeit his certificate, and pay a fine ofnot more than three hundred pounds for each“Chinkie,” and he might also be sent to jail. Chinesewere further prohibited from entering the restricteddistricts by the overland route, and while it was impossibleto entirely shut them out, it was thoughtthe new law would greatly reduce the number thatentered the country.

It occurred to me that I might recoup my mininglosses by importing Chinamen, without running anyconsiderable risk of arrest, and I went into the business.It promised to be profitable, for the naturaleffect of the exclusion law was to intensify the desireof the “Chinkies” to get into the two Provinces,where the demand for them was the greater onaccount of their restricted number. I bought the oldmission ship “Southern Cross,” which took BishopSelwyn to Australia, a fore and aft schooner of abouttwo hundred tons, and sent her across the bay toBalmain to be overhauled and put in shape for hernew purpose. I had her fitted up as a private yacht,but all of her fittings below decks were so arranged[285]that they could be knocked down and stored away,leaving the hold open. On the first trip to China Ihad tiers and rows of berths built on the same quicklyremovable principle, and with this arrangement therewas enough space to enable us to carry more thantwo hundred passengers without discomfort.

I brought Leigh up from Melbourne and made himsailing master and again began preying on theChinkies, but in a more friendly way than when Iwas plundering their pirate junks in the China Sea.The Chinamen furnished their own food, and QuongTart, a rich Chinese merchant of Sydney, paid meone hundred and fifty dollars for every one I landed inVictoria or New South Wales. He arranged for theirshipment, so, when I arrived at Amoy or Shanghai,where they all came from, I had only to wait for therequisite number to come on board, and he also tookcharge of them when they were put ashore. In aspirit of dare-deviltry I landed the first shipload lessthan five miles north of Newcastle, the second largestcity in New South Wales. The subsequent cargoesI unloaded on the beach north of Newcastle or southof Sydney, without ever feeling that I was in anyserious danger of being discovered. Each time I sentword to Quong Tart where the next load would beput ashore and about the time I was expected he sent[286]spies to the spot to see if any officers were hangingaround and signal to me if there was danger of runninginto a trap. No two cargoes were ever landed atthe same place and only Quong Tart knew where tolook for me on the next trip. When Nourse andWilson were released from prison the former scurriedacross Bass Strait to his old Tasmanian home withthe money I had paid him for so successfully impersonatingme. He considered that he had beenwell compensated for his compulsory retirement fromactive life and expected to invest his capital in somesmall business, to which affluent position, under ordinaryconditions, he never could have aspired with anydegree of confidence. Wilson’s disposition was togo back to the sea with me, so I bought the “NettieH,” a handy little steamer, and put her into the Chinesesmuggling trade. I took command of thesteamer, with Leigh as sailing master, and put Wilsonin charge of the schooner, as I could trust himwith the least anxiety. He had none of Leigh’s lovefor liquor and the result of his carelessness with the“Ferret” had made him as careful as a Scot. Whilethe “Nettie H” was being fitted out, the authoritieswarned me that they knew what I was up to and itwould go hard with me if they secured proof of their[287]suspicions, but, knowing they were only shooting inthe air, I laughed at them.

If this business of carrying Chinese under coverhad been as productive of adventure as it was ofprofits, I would have stuck to it indefinitely, but itwas so absolutely devoid of excitement that it palledon me. After we had made eight or nine trips, whichmore than repaid my financial losses ashore, I withdrewfrom the trade, with the idea of returning to theseductive West Indies, where I imagined there werehigher-class operations to be conducted, and morethrilling times to be found. While I was disposing ofmy ships and finally closing up my Australian affairs,I was in Sydney for several weeks and stopped at theImperial Hotel, where I met and became well acquaintedwith Guy Boothby, the English novelist.Though he dreamed away his inborn love of adventure,while I industriously practised mine and madeit my life, he was a good deal of a kindred spirit, andin the course of our numerous long talks I told himenough about my experience with the BeautifulWhite Devil, without going into any of the detailedand intimate facts which have been told in theseconfessions, so that he subsequently wove a romanceabout her, using her sobriquet as a title for the story.

Accompanied by Leigh and Wilson, who were[288]going only as far as England, I boarded a steamshipfor London, on my way back to New York. It wouldhave been easier and quicker for me to have returnedby way of San Francisco, but I involuntarily selectedthe roundabout way, to soon find that it led meinto a unique and altogether unexpected experience.



WHEN I finally forsook Australia, near the closeof 1889, accompanied by Leigh and Wilson,who had paid a penitentiary penalty for my revengefulambition and their own carelessness, I was in no particularhurry to get anywhere, but had no thought ofstopping off at any point short of London until wereached Alexandria. Immediately on our arrivalthere I was suddenly seized with a freak of fancy, aswe nonchalantly speak of the immutable decrees ofFate when we wish to show an independence of actionwe do not feel, to visit Cairo, and without waste oftime and energy in mental argument I sent my dunnageashore by one of the thousand or more smallboats which viciously assaulted the ship from allsides. My two companions, after their trying timesin Melbourne, were anxious to get back among theirown people, so they went on to London, which decisionwas reached without the slightest effort toconceal their comments on my erratic disposition,while I proceeded to the ancient capital of the Kingsof Egypt—those glorious old marauding monarchs[290]who made despotism a fine art and graft a religion.There I was projected into a most alluringly adventurousundertaking. Though failing utterly of itshigh purpose, it was by no means devoid of compensations,for it initiated me far enough into themysteries of departed days so that I considered myselfat least an entered apprentice, and, furthermore,it carried me into close relationship with an exquisitelybeautiful woman, which, next to plotting againstpeace and fighting out the plan, is always the thingmost to be desired. As a matter of fact it is the rulein the Orient, where man is less virile and moredevious and discreet than in the newer world, thata handsome woman is a part of every properly promotedplot, and this one was no exception.

Under my British name of George MacFarlane Istopped at Shepheard’s Hotel, then the home of allpilgrims, and gave myself up to the enjoyment ofnew scenes while I waited, in no sense impatiently,for the development of the situation through whosecoming I had been summoned. It was at the heightof the tourist season, following the Christmas holidays,and there was an abundance of company, madeup of cultured Europeans and a few Americans ofgentle birth, for that was before Cairo was over-runwith the over-rich. The time was delightfully whiled[291]away for a month before anything happened to indicatethe reason for my being there, but within lessthan half of that time I had renewed acquaintancewith the man who was really the key to the situation,though I did not suspect it at the time. He and Ihad been strangely thrown together some years before,under conditions which provoked rather an intimateknowledge of each other, and when we met on thestreet one day the recognition was instant andmutual. He did not inquire into my business butsimply asked what name I was travelling under, inorder that he might not embarrass me. He stood inclose and confidential relation to Tewfik Pasha, theKhedive, and on that account it is best that thereshould be no hint, even now, as to his name ornationality.

I wished to see the titular ruler of Egypt at closerange, and through my old companion-in-arms Isecured an invitation to the Khedive’s annual ballat the Abdin Palace. This function, which naturallywas the event of the year, was rendered impressiveby all the artistry of the East, and it was a mostbrilliant spectacle. At the ends of every step in thelong stairway leading up to the palace stood immobilefootmen, who suggested past glories despite theircostume, which was decidedly English, save for the[292]ever-present fez. Inside, there was an endless successionof long mirrors set in the walls, which multipliedthe jewels of the women and the gay uniformsof the officers and diplomats into a flashing mass ofcolors; countless palms scattered profusely throughthe large rooms, and gorgeous chandeliers illuminatedwith candles, but there was not so much as a hintof furniture. Had there been any place where theguests could lounge or sit, beyond the floor, thechances are that some of them would have stayedthere until the next day, at least, in the absence ofphysical violence as an aid to their departure. Theonly ladies present were Europeans and some fewfavored Americans, but from wide corridors behindthe musharabiyeh, or fretwork around the friezeof the walls, the Khedivah and her women attendantshad a good view of the proceedings without dangerof being seen. They were equally secure from anypossibility of intrusion, for every avenue that led intheir direction was guarded by offensively haughtyeunuchs.

I was purposely close to the end of the long lineof people who were presented to the Khedive, for Iwanted to study him. He was about five and a halffeet tall, with straight black hair, black moustache,an olive complexion, brown eyes that were more than[293]alert, and a rather Roman nose, giving a Jewish castto his face, which always wore a very bored expressionexcept when he was interested. His handwas small but firm—such a hand as would commitmurder if the owner were sure it would not be foundout. There was nothing of the brave man in hislooks or actions. Polite and insinuating by nature,he was never born to lead. Rather, he suggested thefavorite and tool of the Sultan, who would take somesmall chance of losing his head with a sufficientlylarge reward in the other side of the scale. He worethat night, and always, a single-breasted frock coat,like that of an Episcopal clergyman. He spokeEnglish correctly but with an accent, and aversionas well; French he loved and spoke like a Parisian.I had been given advance information on this point,so when I was introduced, following a string ofEnglishmen and Americans, I addressed him inFrench. Instantly the weary look vanished and hisface lighted up until he became almost handsome.

“Ah,” he exclaimed, as he gripped my hand withmore force than I had previously seen him display,“you are a Frenchman. I am delighted.”

I made some polite reply and he went on, almostexcitedly, “I love the French language, but I do notlike the English. I speak it only because I have to.[294]The Khedivah is more fortunate. She does not speakit at all, and she never will learn it.”

We exchanged commonplaces for a moment andI passed on, wondering to what extent England couldtrust this man, who hated her tongue and made nosecret of it.

Cairo has been described so often and in so manyways by people who had nothing better to writeabout that I have no wish to add to the literature onthat subject, but I cannot refrain from speaking, inpassing, of one unusual scene which, so far as I haveread, has for all of these years escaped the attentionof literary loiterers. With my mind far back in centuriesthat are forgotten, in lands devoid of imperishablemonuments like those around me, I had stayedon the summit of Cheops so long, one afternoon, thatmy dragoman declared I would have trouble in reachingthe bottom before dark. Half-way down I pausedfor a glimpse at Cairo, with every minaret standingout boldly in the strong light. Then, suddenly,almost at my feet, the sinking sun created the shadowof the Great Pyramid, and it began to move. It advancedalmost imperceptibly, at first, but gatheredheadway quickly and in a moment it was rushingacross the twelve-mile plain toward the city with thespeed of an express train, as it seemed to me; I am[295]sure no race horse could have kept pace with it. Whenthe shadow reached the Mokattam Hills it pausedfor an instant and then began, slowly and more slowlyand with apparent difficulty, to climb the high side ofthe Citadel Mosque. When it was half-way up thewall the sun dropped out of sight like a shot and wewere buried in Egyptian darkness, which, be it said,is no simple figure of speech. In a few minutes, however,we were able to complete our descent of thegigantic steps by the light of the brilliant afterglow,which spread its soft radiance over the land.

As I was enjoying my after-dinner cigar one eveningin a quiet corner of the garden in front of thehotel, I was approached by three women pedlers,apparently of the fellah class. They wore thecommon blue kimono-like garment, held togetherseemingly by luck, and their small black veils werethrown over their heads, leaving their faces bare andthus placing them outside the pale of Egyptian respectability.I was about to walk away to avoidtheir pestering, when my eyes met those of the onewho was in the lead, and instantly I was attracted inplace of being repelled. Great, brilliant eyes theywere; not fickle and flirtatious, like those of the thinlyveiled beauties of the harem who were seen in theircoupes on the Shoobra Road every afternoon, nor[296]sullen or sensuous, like those of the class to which hergarb gave her claim; but steady and sincere, wide-openand frank, and in them shone a light that convertedinto specks the lanterns with which thegrounds were illuminated. Such eyes do not come inone generation, not even by chance, nor are theyborn of the soil. Her face was of the pure Egyptiantype, gentle in its contour and refined in every line,with perfectly arched eyebrows and a mass of hairas black as her eyes, and her easy carriage emphasizedthe grace of her tall, lithe figure, the curves ofwhich not even her coarse robe could entirely conceal.

Her sparkling eyes, turned full on me and ignoringall else, told me as plainly as words could have donethat she had some message for me, and, suspectingthat the moment for which I had been waiting forweeks had arrived, I walked slowly toward her, asthough in a mood to barter. As we met, seeminglysomewhat disconcerted by my steady gaze of profoundand unconcealed admiration, she drew heruncouth veil across her face and held out her hands,like one trained to tourist trade, that I might examineher wonderful rings. Those hands could never haveknown work, they were so soft and small, and armsmore perfectly rounded were never modelled in marble[297]by a master. Plainly this woman was not of theservant class, to which her companions as clearlybelonged. One of her hands was half-closed and asshe laid it in mine it opened and a small piece offolded paper fell into my palm. Long accustomed toways out of the ordinary, I gave no sign, beyond aninvoluntary start which she felt but no one elsenoticed, and proceeded with outward calmness, andassuredly with much deliberation, to select a ring,which I purchased as a souvenir of our first meeting.It was set with an uncut ruby in a band of gold sofine that it was removed from her tiny finger, whichit encircled nearly twice, simply by pressing the endsoutward. Not a word passed between us except asto the price of the ring, over which there was nohaggling. The women who were with her made apretence of showing me their wares, but it was onlya show for the benefit of any inquisitive persons whomight be watching, and without urging me to buythey passed on. I strolled after them and was interestedin observing that as they approached otherguests the woman who had slipped me the note remainedin the background, with her face veiled,leaving commerce to her companions. They attemptedto make only a few sales and then disappeared.

[298]Curious to a degree that surprised me, as to thecontents of the communication which had come tome so strangely, but fearful of being watched, by Iknew not whom, it was some time before I went tomy room to read the note by the light of a tallowcandle. The mysterious missive read: “You areCaptain Boynton. Are you willing to undertake adifficult and perhaps dangerous mission? Answerto-morrow night through the channel by which youreceive this.”

Here was a romantic promise of something newand real in the way of excitement, for I could imaginenothing stereotyped growing out of such an unusualbeginning, and I rejoiced. The answer to the inspiringinvitation, which I promptly burned fromdiscretion while sentiment told me to keep it, requiredno thought, and as I am not much given to the exertionof energy in seeking solutions for difficultproblems that will soon supply their own answers, Idid not greatly concern myself as to the purpose ofthe plot in which I was sought as a partner. Inasmuchas the only man in Cairo who knew me asCaptain Boynton, and who was acquainted with myfavorite occupation, was a confidant of the Khedive,it naturally occurred to me that the oily TewfikPasha was mixed up in it in some way, and I suspected[299]that it involved another secret movementagainst British rule in Egypt. The latter suspicionwas soon verified and there never has been any doubtin my own mind that I was equally correct in theconjecture as to the participation, or at least thesilent approval, of Tewfik, but this could not beproved.

Knowing the mystery-loving nature of the Egyptiansand feeling sure that if left wholly to their ownways they would entertain themselves with a longcorrespondence which could do no good and mightarouse suspicion, I determined to bring matters toa head as quickly as possible. It was evident thatthose who sought my services knew much about meand it was quite as important to me that I shouldknow them. The next evening, before going down todinner, I wrote my answer. “Yes,” I replied to theencouraging query, “provided it is something a gentlemancan do, and I am well paid for it. But I willconduct no negotiations in this way. I must see thepeople I am doing business with.”

After dinner I retired to the same out-of-the-waycorner of the garden in which I had been found thenight before, on the side farthest away from the hoteland the music, to await developments. It probablywas not long, but it seemed hours, before the same[300]three women came up the short flight of steps runningdown to the street. The one who was doingduty as a letter carrier, and who bore the imaginativename of Ialla, was the last to appear. On reachingthe level of the garden her eyes roamed quicklyaround until they turned toward where I was sitting.Seeing me, she drew her veil across her face, asthough she resented being classed with the unregeneratefellahin, and wished to show more discriminationin her love affairs than they could boast, andaccompanied her companions in their ostensiblebargaining tour among the guests. To one who paidthem even casual attention they must have appearedas timid traders, so lacking were they in the customaryinsistence, and it was with small profits andno great loss of time that they found their wayaround to me. As on the night before, it was left toIalla to barter with me. I again took both of herhands in mine, to examine her jewelry, of which shewore a wealth that, like her looks, belied her dress,and as I did so I slipped into one of them the tightlyfolded note which I had been gripping for an hour ormore. Her jewels were much richer than those shehad worn the previous evening and as I studied theirbarbaric beauty I softly pressed her childish hands,as the only means of conveying something of the impression[301]she had made on me, for I did not know theextent to which the other women were in our secretor could be trusted. Her only response was onequick glance, which I interpreted as a mixture ofpleasure, surprise, and interrogation; the one distinctlypleasant thing about it was that it containednothing of indignation or hostility. Save for thatelectric flash her wonderful eyes looked modestlydownward and her whole attitude was one of perfectpropriety, which more than ever convinced me thatshe was not what she pretended to be. Finally shedrew her hands away, hurriedly but gently, and withan impatient gesture, as though she had made upher mind that I had no idea of making a purchase,led her companions out of the garden.

There was no sign of either Ialla or her two friendsthe next evening, though I watched for them closely.On the second afternoon I received a call from myold friend, who undoubtedly had recommended meand vouched for me to the people who had openedup the exceedingly interesting correspondence. Itwas apparently a casual visit but its purpose was revealedwhen, in the course of a general conversationregarding the country and its ways, along which hehad cleverly piloted me, he said: “These Egyptiansare a remarkable people. I have lived among them[302]long enough to know them and to admire, particularly,their sublime religious faith and their exaltedsense of honor. With their enemies, and with thetravellers on whom they prey, they are tricky andevasive to the last degree, but in their dealings withpeople whom they know and trust they are the mosthonorable men in the world. I don’t know whetheryou expect to have any dealings with them, but ifyou do, you can trust them absolutely.”

With that opening I was on the point of speakingto him about the note I had received and answered,but before I could say a word he had started off onanother subject, leaving me to understand that heknew all about the matter but did not wish to talk ofit, and that he had taken that method, learned fromthe diplomats, of endorsing the people with whomhe had put me in communication. We gossiped onfor some time, but though each knew what was uppermostin the other’s mind neither of us spoke of it,nor was the subject even indirectly referred to again.

This conversation indicated that the veiled proceedingswere nearing the point of a personal interviewwith some one who knew something about thescheme, and when I took my seat in the gardenthat evening I was impatient for further unfoldings.Not knowing what might happen, and despite the[303]afternoon’s guarantee of good faith from a man Ihad every reason to trust, I took the precaution toarm myself with two Tranter revolvers. I had notbeen waiting long when Ialla and her two companionsappeared and came straight toward me, but withoutany sign of recognition. As she passed close besideme, walking slowly, Ialla whispered, almost in myear: “Follow me at ten o’clock.”

It was then about nine-thirty. The inharmonioustrio moved on into the throng of guests and, as thetime passed, gradually worked their way aroundtoward the stairway leading down to the street. Afew minutes before ten I descended into the street towait for them, so it could not be seen from the hotelthat I was following them. Promptly on the hourIalla and her attendants came down the steps andset off toward Old Cairo, which, however much itmay have been spoiled since, was then just the sameas when Haroun-al-Raschid used to take his midnightrambles. At the corner of the hotel two men dressedas servants stepped out of a shadow and fell in closebehind them, apparently to prevent me from engagingthem in conversation, which, but for thisbarrier, I assuredly would have done. With allamorous advances thus discouraged I remained farenough behind so that it would not appear that I[304]was one of the party. They led me almost the fulllength of the Mooshka, the main street of the oldtown and the only one wide enough to permit thepassing of two carriages; turned into one of the narrowside streets, then into another and another untilthey stopped at last in front of a door at the side ofone of the little shops. When I was within perhapsfifty feet of them Ialla entered the door, after lookingback at me, while her four companions walked rapidlyon down the street. I pushed open the door, whichwas immediately closed by a servant who dropped abar across it, and found Ialla waiting for me in adimly lighted hallway. She led me nearly to theend of the long hall, opened a door and motioned tome to enter and closed the door from the outside.I found myself in a large room, which, after my eyeshad become accustomed to the half light, I saw wasmagnificently furnished. A fine-looking old Arab,with gray hair and beard, was seated on an ottoman,smoking a bubble pipe. His bearing was majesticand for the purpose of easy identification he will beknown here as Regal, though that was not his name.

“I am glad to see you, Pasha Boynton,” was hisgreeting, in a deep, strong voice. He proved himselfa man of action, and advanced himself greatly in myesteem by giving no time to idle chatter. “We[305]know you well,” he said, “through trustworthy information,as a soldier and a sailor, and we believeyou are peculiarly well equipped for the work wewish you to undertake. It is a sea-going expedition,involving danger of disaster on one hand and thecause of liberty and a substantial reward on theother. Are you willing to attempt it?”

“If you are open to reasonable terms and I amgiven full command of the expedition, I will gladlyundertake it,” I replied. “If it furnishes real adventureI will be quite willing to accept that in partpayment for my services.”

“Then we should be able to agree without difficulty,”he answered with a grim smile. “But,” headded, as his keen face took on a stern expression andhis eyes looked through mine into my brain, “whetheror not we do reach an agreement, we can rely on youto keep our secret and to drop no hint or wordthrough which it might be revealed?”

“Absolutely,” I replied, and my gaze was as steadyas his. He studied me intently for a full minute andthen said decisively, in the Arabic fashion: “It isgood.”

Without further ceremony he let me into the wholeplot. At the bottom of it was the old cry of “Egyptfor the Egyptians,” which is not yet dead and probably[306]will not die for centuries, if ever. It was ArabiPasha who made the last desperate fight under thisslogan and it was his release from exile that wassought by the plotters, in order that he might renewthe war for native liberty. As a military geniusArabi ranked almost with the great Ibrahim Pasha,who died a few years after Arabi was born, and hewas fanatical in his love of country. From a Colonelin the army he became Under Secretary of War andthen Minister of War, in which position he was practicallythe Dictator of Egypt. With the aid of asecret society which he organized among the nativeofficers of the army, and the carefully concealed supportof the Sultan, who had protested vainly againstthe assumption of authority by the British andFrench over this part of Turkish territory, he plannedand executed a revolt through which it was hoped torestore native control of Egypt. The French, moresentimental than selfish, and reluctant to take extrememeasures, withdrew at the last moment, leavingit to the British to prosecute the war, which theydid with characteristic vigor. The bombardment ofAlexandria, on July 11 and 12, 1882, and the rout ofhis army at Tel-el-Kebir two months later, dissipatedArabi’s dream and, so far as surface indications wereconcerned, established British rule in Egypt, exclusively[307]and permanently. The movement whichArabi had fostered apparently collapsed with thatbattle, and he was exiled to Ceylon for life.

Briefly and bitterly this bit of history was reviewedby the old Arab. Then he became more animated.He said the loyal Egyptians had been planning anew movement against the British, with great secrecy,for a long time, and that the natives and alarge part of the army were ready to rise in revoltwhenever the signal was given. The butchery of thegallant “Chinese” Gordon at Khartoum—a stainon England’s fame which never can be blotted out—hadchecked the British advance in the Soudan and tosome extent paralyzed the officials who, from thesafe haven of the War Office in London, were drawingup plans of conquest, and the conspirators believedthe time had come for what they were confidentwould prove a successful and final blow forfreedom. But, to make this ardently desired resultmore certain, they needed the inspiring leadership ofArabi Pasha, in whose talent for conflict they stillhad great faith, which doubtless was intensified byhis enforced absence. Furthermore, Regal explained,the superstitious natives would hail his unexpectedreturn from exile as a sign that they could not bedefeated and would fight more desperately and determinedly[308]than before. Through spies it had beenlearned that Arabi was confined at a point near thecoast, only a short distance from Colombo, the capitalof Ceylon. He was allowed considerable freedom,within certain prescribed limits, and was in the custodyof only a small guard. His escape was regardedas impossible and the idea that an attempt might bemade to rescue him seemingly had not entered theminds of those responsible for his safe-keeping.

Yet that was precisely what I was asked to accomplish.After Regal had stated the conditions ofArabi’s captivity he dramatically declared, with flashingeyes: “The fires which the British foolishlythought they had stamped out, were not, and couldnever be, extinguished. They have been smoulderingever since and are now ready to burst into a flamethat will consume everything before it. We needonly the presence of the great Arabi. You can bringhim to us. With a ship, whose true mission is concealedby methods of which we know you to be amaster, you can sail to a point close to his place ofconfinement. As soon as it is dark and quiet fortyor fifty of our brave men, who will accompany you,will be landed. They will steal upon his guards andsilence them and return with the General to yourship. There will be none left to give the alarm and[309]by the time it is discovered that he has been snatchedaway from their cursed hands you will be far out ofsight, and with your knowledge of the ways of thosewho sail the sea it should not be difficult for you toavoid capture. You will land Arabi at some point tobe decided on, from which he can make his way toCairo. With his coming our banners will be unfurledand Egypt will be restored to the Egyptians. It is amission in the cause of freedom and humanity. Areyou willing to undertake it?”

Long before he reached it, I saw his objective point,and ran the whole scheme over in my mind while hewas laying down its principles. It did not strike meas being at all foolhardy. As I have said before, itis the so-called impossibilities which, when they arenot really impossible, as few of them are, can be mosteasily accomplished, for the reason that they are notguarded against. Under the conditions described,the rescue of Arabi would be comparatively a simplematter. The chief danger would come from theBritish warships which would swarm the seas assoon as his disappearance was discovered, for itwould be a natural conclusion that he was on somevessel on his way back to Egypt. This dangerappealed to me, for it augured well for adventure.It would be a game of hide-and-seek, such as I intensely[310]enjoyed, with my wits pitted against those ofthe British Navy, and with my varied experiences indeep-sea deception, I did not consider that the oddsagainst me would be overwhelming. Therefore Ipromptly assured the old patriot, whose anxiety andexcitement were shown in his blazing eyes, that Iwould cheerfully assume responsibility for Arabi’srescue and his safe delivery at almost any point thatmight be designated.

“It is good,” he replied, slowly and impressively.“Egypt will be free.”

Profoundly wishing that the noble little “Leckwith”was at my service instead of at the bottom ofthe sea, I added that I had no ship and it would benecessary to purchase one, as it would be impracticableto charter a vessel for such a purpose. Thismeant that the expedition would require some financing,in addition to the charge for my services. Witha gesture which indicated that everything was settledin his mind and that it was only necessary for meto name my terms to have them agreed to, Regal saidhe anticipated no difficulty on that point and suggestedthat I return the next afternoon or evening tomeet his associates, who comprised the inner circle ofthe revolutionary party. I told him I would be glad to[311]come at any hour but I doubted that I could find myway through the labyrinth of narrow streets.

“How has the person who guided you here conductedherself?” he asked.


“She will signal you to-morrow afternoon or evening.Follow her.”

With that he arose, terminating the interview; wesolemnly shook hands and he escorted me to thedoor. I was wondering how I should find the wayback to my hotel when I descried Ialla and her fourshadows waiting for me a short distance down thestreet. Without a word they showed me the courseuntil I made out the hotel, when they disappeareddown a side street.

I was lounging in the garden early the next afternoon,for there was no telling when the summonsmight come and I would take no chance of missing it.It was about four o’clock, at which hour all Cairowas on parade and the crowd was thickest around thehotel, that Ialla and her faithful female guards enteredthe lively scene. Her face was almost entirelyhidden by her veil but there was no mistaking hereyes. They caught mine and a quick little beckoningmotion, which no one else would have noticed, toldme to follow her. She soon left, walking slowly, and[312]I took up the trail, restraining myself with an effortfrom approaching her more closely than wisdom dictated.Avoiding the crowded Mooshka they led me,by a more circuitous route, back to the house whereI had been so agreeably entertained the night before,and which was entered in the same way. Regal waswaiting for me and with him were five of his countrymen,to whom I was introduced en bloc. They weredignified and reserved but sharp-eyed and vigorousand they looked like fighters of the first water.They were much younger than Regal and evidently,from the deference shown him, he was the chiefconspirator.

“These,” he said, with a courtly wave of his handtoward the others, “are the relatives and companions-in-armsof Arabi Pasha and the men who, with me,are directing our operations. They are perfectlyresponsible, as you will see, and in every way entitledto your confidence, as you are worthy of theirs.”

With this formal assurance we sat down to a detaileddiscussion of the project. They told me of theirplans, as Regal had previously explained them in ageneral way, and professed confidence that withArabi in personal command of their forces, and withthe active coöperation of the Soudanese, which wasassured, they would drive the hated British out of[313]Egypt, and keep them out. Their knowledge of thesurroundings at Arabi’s place of confinement andtheir plan for overpowering his guards and securinghis release, which was complete to the slaughter ofthe last man, showed an intimate acquaintance withconditions that surprised me. From all they toldme on this point I gained the idea that they wereworking in harmony with their brother Mohammedansin India, and that the latter were planning asimilar uprising when the conditions were judgedto be opportune. Developments since then havestrengthened this belief into a conviction. It is neverwise to predict, but when England some day becomesinvolved in a war with a first-class power, like Germanyfor instance, which will tax her fighting forcesto the limit, there need be no surprise if the nativesof Egypt and India rise simultaneously and becometheir own masters.

It was urged by them and agreed that I shouldtake no part in the actual rescue of Arabi but remainon the ship, to guard against any surprise by waterand to be ready to steam westward as soon as theparty returned. I was to stand in close to the shorejust after dark, with all lights doused, and it wasthought that Arabi would be safe on board longenough before sunrise so that we could be well clear[314]of the land by daylight. The point at which Arabiwas to be landed caused considerable discussion. Asthe British were certain to promptly patrol the RedSea, with all of the warships that could be hurriedinto it, and closely guard the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb,it was tentatively decided that the safest andwisest course would be to put him ashore near Jibuti,on friendly French soil, from which point he couldpick a pathway through Abyssinia and down theNile, with little danger of detection and with theadvantage of being able to arouse the enthusiasm ofthe Soudanese and other tribes through which hepassed. I was in favor of running the gantlet of theStrait and landing him two or three hundred milessouth of the Gulf of Suez, which would expedite therevolt and also make things more exciting, butthe others feared this would expose him too much tothe danger of recapture. They were for the surest wayand said that more reckless methods could wait untilhe was at the head of his troops. This conclusionas to the landing place, however, was not final. Itwas understood that I would receive definite instructionswhen I put in at Saukin, on the way out, to takeon the fifty proud and trusted warriors who were toeffect the release of their revered leader.

The fact that consideration of terms was the last[315]question brought up was a delicate compliment to mysupposed fairness which I appreciated. Instead ofasking them for fifty thousand pounds, as I had intendedto, I stipulated only forty thousand, one-halfof which was to be advanced to me for the purchaseof a suitable ship. The ship was, of course, to beturned over to them at the conclusion of the expedition.I was to pay all expenses and collect theremaining twenty thousand pounds after Arabi hadbeen landed. If they had fixed the terms themselvesthey could not have agreed to them more readily, andI was asked to return at ten o’clock the next eveningfor the initial payment.

Our negotiations thus rapidly concluded, I was invitedto remain to dinner, which is the crowninghonor of Egyptian confidence and hospitality. Ineeded no urging and never have I enjoyed a mealmore. The table-talk was general, but running allthrough it was the love of freedom and the planthrough which they hoped to realize their passion.Their interest in American affairs was only thatcalled for by courtesy, but they made me tell manystories of our wars with England, from which theyderived much satisfaction.

“We are as much entitled to our freedom as youare,” declared one of my hosts, whose green turban[316]indicated that he could trace his ancestry back toMahomet, “and we will win ours in the end, just asyour people won theirs. We may be a strangepeople,” he added, reflectively, “but we are not sobad as we have been painted. The howadji [strangers]condemn our religion without understanding itand preach to us another, which, so far as we canobserve from its practices, falls far short of our own.Mohammedanism needs no defence from me, but Iwill tell you just one thing about it. If you werenow to murder my brother I could not lay handson you or harm you, for you have eaten of my salt,but not even Mahomet could make me cease to hateyou in my heart. Does the Christian religion, ofwhich the British are so proud, teach you that?”

I confessed that it didn’t, so far as I had informationor belief, and made my sincere salaams to hisfaith. If I am ever to become afflicted with anyreligious beliefs, I hope they will be those taught byMahomet.

When I finally started back to my hotel Ialla andher attendants were waiting for me in the alley, forit was not wide enough to be called a street. Theystarted on ahead, but we had gone only a few shortblocks when her four companions walked brisklyaway and she waited for me, in a shadow so deep[317]that I at first thought she had entered one of thequeer houses and my spirits fell, to be revivified amoment later when I almost ran into her.

“How did your business turn out?” she inquiredanxiously, as I bowed low before her. Her voice,which I had been longing to hear, was soft and clear,as well became her, and her radiant beauty shoneforth through the darkness.

“Thanks to your cleverness,” I replied, “it hasturned out well.”

“Then you are going to rescue my uncle,” sheexclaimed delightedly. Her sparkling eyes flamedwith excitement and, as if to seal the compact, sheextended her hand, which I first pressed and thenkissed. Then I slipped it through my arm andstarted to walk out of the shadow into the moonlight,and she accompanied me without protest.

She had exchanged her cotton robe for one of silk,which was much more fitting, and as I looked downon her I thought her the most beautiful womanI had ever seen. If I had held the same opinion asto others of her sex I was not reminded of it then,and there was no manner of doubt that I was deeplyin love with her. We walked long and talked much,and some of it was interesting. She told me, thoughit did not need the telling, that she was a lady and[318]that she had risked her reputation and exposed herselfto coarsest insult by appearing in public unveiledand dressed as a servant, out of love for her uncleand devotion to his cause. To prevent suspicion ithad been determined that communication should beopened with me through a woman, and she had volunteeredfor the service. She said she had seen me atthe Khedive’s reception, which she had witnessedthrough the fretwork from the apartments of theKhedivah—from which it appeared that I had beenunder consideration by the revolutionary leaders forseveral weeks before I was approached—and so sheknew the man to whom the introductory note was tobe delivered. The two women servants, who couldnot be trusted with such confidential correspondence,accompanied her for the double purpose of protectingher as much as possible and carrying out thepeddling pretence. This explained why she had keptin the background and covered her face with herscraggly veil most of the time. On her first visit, shesaid, she had fully exposed her face so that I mightsee she was not of the class of her companions andbe the more willing to hold commercial converse withher; in her heart she knew her beauty would attractme, wherein she displayed an abundantly justifiableconfidence in her charms, but she expressed it without[319]the words or style of vanity. Except for thatbrief period when she was altogether unveiled shesaid she really did not have great fear of being discovered,for it was unlikely that any of her friendswould be around the hotel at the hours when shewent there, and, even if they did see her, it was improbablethat they would recognize her in fellahinattire. As a matter of fact, she confessed, as webecame better acquainted, she had entered into theplot not only through love for her distinguisheduncle, to whom she was devoted, but from a likingfor doing things that were out of the ordinary.

It was this same spirit which induced her, on thenight of my first opportunity to tell her of her beautyand my fervid love for her, to bribe her servants todisappear for a time. By the light of the Egyptianmoon, which would inspire even a lout of a lover, Itold her, in words that burned, of the passion she hadimplanted within me by the first glance of her wonderfuleyes, and I was encouraged by the fact thatshe seemed more sympathetic than otherwise. Wewalked for hours through deserted streets that werefar from lonely until at last we came to a corner nearthe hotel where her attendants were waiting for her,patiently, I presumed, from their natures, but whetherpatiently or not was of no concern to me.

[320]The next night I found my way alone to Regal’sabode and received the first payment of twentythousand pounds, in Paris exchange. There was afinal conference, at which all of the details were goneover again as a precaution against any misunderstanding,and I took my departure with many goodwishes. Ialla and her two women attendants werewaiting for me, as had been arranged, and my love-makingwas resumed where I had left off on the precedingnight. Ialla was more responsive than before,but when I urged her to go with me to France ormarry me at once in Cairo she would not listen.Finally she said: “After you have rescued my uncleI will go with you anywhere, but not until then willI think of marriage.”

Nothing could move her from that decision. Iarranged to meet her the next night and the one following,and several others, which she accomplishedby the popular method of bribing her attendants, but,though it was a joy to her to be told of my love therewas no way by which she could be induced to yieldto it until her uncle was free. Finally she regretfullyinsisted that I must leave, for her relatives, she said,were becoming seriously disturbed over the fact thatI had remained so long in Cairo, instead of goingabout the important business at hand. In my infatuation[321]I had forgotten discretion and my promiseto conduct the expedition with all possible speed.Even when this was brought home to me it requiredall of my will power to say au revoir to the beauteousIalla, though I expected to see her soon again andhold her to her promise.

I went to Marseilles and called on a huissierd’marine, or ship broker, named Oliviera, to whomI had been recommended. After looking over severalships that were for sale I bought “L’Hirondelle”(The Swallow), a coasting steamer of eight hundredtons that had been running between Marseilles andCitta Vecchia, the port of Rome. She was old but ingood condition and could do seventeen knots or better.I took command of the ship and my first andsecond officers were Leigh and Wilson, who camedown from London in response to a telegram, bringingwith them half a dozen men whom I knew couldbe trusted. The crew was filled out with Frenchmenand we headed for Suakin, far down on the Egyptianside of the Red Sea. There I was to receive finalinstructions and pick up the Arabs who were to dothe manual labor, and whatever assassination wasnecessary, in connection with Arabi’s restoration tohis countrymen. As soon as we were in the Red SeaI stripped off the ship’s French name, rechristened[322]her the “Adventure,” hoisted the British flag overher, and gave her a forged set of papers in keepingwith her name and nationality.

At Suakin one of the great surprises of my lifeawaited me. We had scarcely tied up when the manfrom whom I was to receive the warriors came aboardwith a letter from Regal directing me to turn theship over to him and discharge the crew. The agentcould not understand the change of plan any morethan I could, and I could not even guess as to thecause, but he was there to obey orders and there wasnothing else for me to do. I could not make any kindof a formal protest without revealing something concerningmy mission, which I would not do, and, besidesthat, the ship did not belong to me. Feelingsure there would be a satisfactory explanation waitingfor me at Cairo I returned there, after paying offthe crew and sending them back to Marseilles andLondon in charge of Leigh and Wilson.

I was still more mystified when, on reaching Cairo,I was unable to find Regal, Ialla, or any one else connectedwith the undertaking, nor could I get theslightest trace of them. I located the house in whichI had been so charmingly admitted into the conspiracy,but the people living there were strangers,so far as I was permitted to observe or could ascertain,[323]and they insisted they knew nothing at allconcerning the previous occupants. If I could havesearched the house I might have found out differently,but that was out of the question. Here wasEgyptian mystery beyond what I had bargained for.It was as though I had been roughly awakened froma delightfully realistic dream. The only theory onwhich I could explain the puzzle was that the governmenthad in some way learned of the plot, in consequenceof which every one identified with it haddisappeared, leaving it to me to take the hint and dolikewise. In the hope of seeing Ialla again and determinedto secure some definite clue as to just what hadhappened in my absence, I waited around for twoweeks or more, until I encountered the old friendwho, I knew, was responsible for my connection withthe conspiracy. I did not dissemble, as I had before,but took him to my room, told him the riddle, andasked him the answer. I did not expect him to admitanything and was not disappointed. What he said,in substance, was this: “Of course I know nothingabout the plot of which you have told me. If whatyou say is true I should say that you have been makingsomething of a fool of yourself over this Iallaand that you have only yourself to blame for theabrupt ending which seems to have been reached.[324]You are very shrewd and far-sighted and I will admitthat ordinarily you are not much moved by sentiment,but this black-eyed beauty seems to havecarried you off your feet. These women are thegreatest flirts in the world. There is nothing theyenjoy so much as clandestine meetings at which theycan listen to passionate protestations of love, andwhen these come from a foreigner their cup of happinessis full. You thought Ialla was in love with you,but she was only having a good time with you, andshe has taken a lot of pride in telling her friends aboutyour meetings at their afternoon gatherings in theold cemetery for the exchange of gossip. She hadno idea of marrying you, an unbeliever, you may besure of that. It may be that she thought she wasstimulating you to deeds of heroism in the rescue ofher uncle, but, if she considered that at all, it was asecondary matter. The men you were dealing withhave the contempt of their race for all women. Theycannot understand how any man can become soenamoured of a woman, no matter how beautiful, asto let it interfere with his business. When a manwho, for the time being, has the leading role in aprospective revolution, so far forgets himself as towaste a week of valuable time in running after aflirtatious female they are quite likely to conclude[325]that he is too foolish and reckless to be trusted withsuch an important matter. They would argue thatno man who could be relied on to carry out theirplan would display such lack of judgment. It is possiblethat there may be some other reason for thesituation in which you find yourself, but I doubt it.The wisest course for you is to tell me how you canbe reached, and leave Cairo, for you can gain nothingby staying here. It is known to many persons that Iknow you and if any one should want to get in communicationwith you, I will be able to tell him how todo it.”

Possessing all the pride of a full-blooded man, Iresented the calm assertion that I had been ensnaredby a flirt, and a somewhat acrimonious argument followed,but, in looking back at it now, I am willingto admit that probably my friend was right about it.Perhaps Ialla was not, after all, the perfect womanthat, under the magic spell of her marvellous beauty,I imagined her to be, and possibly if I had not surrenderedso suddenly to her charms Arabi Pashamight have been freed and Egypt might now be anEmpire. Whether or not that is true, I have noregrets on the subject, except that I never saw Iallaagain. My moonlight meetings with her were, at[326]least, a diversion, and they gave me great enjoymentwhile they lasted.

Though it went against the grain I was compelledto admit that my friend’s advice was the best I couldget, and I reluctantly followed it. Feeling that foronce my destiny had played it a bit low down on meI crossed the Mediterranean and took a French linerfor New York. I had spent four months and muchmoney in studying the Sphinx, but I did not countthem as lost. Ialla’s loveliness was in my mind fora long time and while it remained I cherished thehope that I would be recalled to carry out the planfor the rescue of her uncle, but the summons nevercame. Eleven years later Arabi was pardoned andreturned to Egypt, but his influence among his ownpeople was gone; the fact that he had accepted apardon implied, to their astute minds, a secret agreementwith their enemies and caused him to be regardedas a tool of the British. But, as very recentevents have demonstrated, the fires of freedom arestill burning, and now and again signal smoke isseen rising over India.



THE friendliness of Fate, in throwing me in theway of adventures which were beyond my discernment,was never more plainly evidenced than onmy return to New York from Australia and Egyptin 1890. On the trip across the Atlantic my mindhad wandered away from the West Indies and I experiencedan increasing desire to return to SouthAmerica, but one of the first things I heard on myarrival was that my old friend Guzman Blanco hadfinally been shorn of his supreme power in Venezuelaonly a few months before. He had been betrayedby his friends, after the established fashion of thatcaptivating country, and Dr. Anduesa Palacio, oneof his enemies of years, had been made President withthe approval and assistance of Dr. Rojas Paul, thedummy whom Guzman had left as titular head of thegovernment while he was revelling in Paris, his foreigncapital. This discouraged me for a time in myhalf-formed plan to return to my Southern stampingground, and as I had plenty of money and was notaverse to a rest, I concluded to wait around, Micawber[328]like, for something to turn up. But it was notlong until a silent voice began calling me to SouthAmerica; softly, at first, and then so loudly that itcame as a command. I had heard the same sort ofan order before, and only very recently, and was notdisposed to disregard it. I felt sure it would not leadme into disappointment twice in succession.

Without knowing where or how the cruise wouldend, but confident it would lead to trouble—thoughI did not imagine how much of it there really wouldbe or how unpleasant it would prove—I bought the“Alice Ada,” a brigantine of three hundred tons, laidher on with Thos. Norton & Sons, and got a generalcargo for Rosario, Brazil, on the River Parava.From Rosario I went one hundred miles up the riverto St. Stephens and took on a cargo of wheat for RioJaniero. As soon as I had looked around a little inRio, while the cargo was being unloaded, I understoodwhy I had gone there, for my expectant eyedistinguished signs of a nice little revolution whichwas just being shaped up. These indications, thoughsomewhat vague to even an experienced new arrival,were so encouraging in their promise of excitingevents that I sold my ship and took quarters at theHotel Freitas to watch developments. I had not longto wait before the young republic celebrated its first[329]revolution, but it was accomplished in such a disgracefullyquiet way, and in such marked contrastwith that sort of proceeding in Venezuela, and inCentral America and the West Indies, that I wasthoroughly disgusted with the country and wastempted to move on again into new fields. A land inwhich the government is changed by the force ofpublic sentiment alone, and without the booming ofcannon and the bursting of bombs, has no charm forme.

When the last Emperor of Brazil, Dom Pedro II,was dragged out of bed at night and deported withoutthe firing of a shot, in the “Peaceful Revolution”of November 15, 1889, Deodoro da Fonseca wasmade President by the lovers of liberty and equality,which purely imaginary conditions of life never willbe found in any country. Before his weakness hadbecome apparent he was made Constitutional Presidentand Floriano Peixotto was elected Vice-President.Deodoro had neither the firmness nor theinitiative that the situation demanded. His policywas weak and vacillating and his popularity wanedrapidly. The revolution which was in the processof formation when I arrived on the scene was, I discovered,being quietly fomented by Floriano, theVice-President. He soon had the army at his back[330]and, as the people were beginning to clamor for him,it was an easy matter to gain the support of AdmiralMello, the ranking officer of the Brazilian Navy, andAdmiral Soldanha da Gama, commandant of the navalacademy. They brought matters to a head on themorning of November 23, 1891. Mello took up aposition at the foot of the main street of Rio in thecruiser “Riachuelo,” the finest ship in the navy,trained his guns on the palace of Itumary, and sentword to Deodoro that he would open fire on him intwo hours if he did not abdicate in favor of Floriano.Deodoro abdicated in two minutes, and dropped deadsoon afterward from heart disease, and Floriano wasproclaimed President.

Before he had time to get his new chair wellwarmed he had a row with Mello, and as soon as Iheard of it I foresaw another revolution, which pleasingprospect prompted me to remain in Brazil, forI did not believe it could possibly prove as uninterestingas those that had preceded it. Mello regardedhimself as the President-maker and considered thathe was rightfully entitled to be the power behindthe throne. However, Floriano was not at all constitutedfor the role of a mere figurehead and he madeit plain to Mello that while he might make courteoussuggestions and even give friendly advice, he could[331]not go an inch beyond that. Floriano was really aremarkable man. He was perhaps one-half Indianand the rest corrupted Portuguese; sixty years old,with clear, brown eyes and iron gray hair and whiskers.A strong, fine character he was; perfectly fearless,absolutely honest and devoted to his country,whose interests he greatly advanced. He was proudof his Indian blood, which he made a synonyme forcourage and fairness, and often referred to it. Hewas the best President I have ever known, not exceptingeven the great Guzman.

Mello was a younger man and more of a Spaniardin his blood and his characteristics. He had considerablebravery, of the kind that is best displayedin the presence of a large audience, but he was impetuousand at times foolish. He was abnormallyambitious and believed in a rule or ruin policy. Atthat, he was more a man after my own heart, for hestood for revolt and anarchy, while Floriano stood forlaw and order. Soldanha da Gama, the third figure inthe drama, was a strange mixture of naval ability,cowardice, and theatrical bravery.

When Floriano refused to be dictated to or eveninfluenced in his views as to what was best for Brazil,Mello proceeded to plot against him with even moreearnestness than he had displayed in the plans to[332]overthrow Deodoro. He worked chiefly among thenaval officers, the aristocrats, the adherents of DomPedro, and the Catholic clergy, and in the end they allbecame his allies. He was unable to shake the army,though he tried repeatedly to create dissatisfactionamong the troops, and the influence of the priestswas minimized by the fact that the people generallywere blindly in love with the new scheme ofself-government, which sounded well and appealedstrongly to their sentimental natures, and were loyalto Floriano.

As Mello’s plot shaped up I began to suspect thathis real purpose was to restore Dom Pedro to thethrone and make himself the power behind it. Mellocared nothing for titles; it was his ambition to bethe dictator of Brazil, with power as absolute as thatwhich Guzman Blanco had exercised for many yearsin Venezuela. It was natural for him to suppose thatif he reëstablished the Empire under its old ruler,Dom Pedro would be so grateful to him, and to himalone, that he would be thoroughly subservient to hisinfluence. Later events confirmed me not only in thebelief that this was what was in Mello’s mind, butthat he had an understanding with Dom Pedro and,through him, with several European rulers, who werekeenly anxious to see the “divine right of kings”[333]perpetuated in South America. Mello consideredthat the dictator to an Emperor would have morepower than the dictator to a President, and he mayhave even dreamed that he would some day take thethrone himself and establish a new dynasty. DomPedro had issued a protest against his deposition assoon as he reached Europe, in which all the princesof Coburg joined, and was conducting an active campaignfor his restoration. It is interesting to note,in passing, that there is still a pretender to the throneof Brazil. When Dom Pedro died he left his lostcrown to Donna Isabella, wife of Count D’Eu, aBourbon prince. She passed it over to her eldest son,Peter, when he became of age, and only recently hetransferred all of his shadowy rights and prerogativesto his younger brother, Louis, who now considershimself the rightful ruler of Brazil. The OldWorld has a way of keeping up pretenderships thatis almost as ridiculous as some of the revolutions ofthe New World.

It was amusing to watch the development ofMello’s rebellion, which continued through all of1892 and the greater part of the following year. Onewould have thought that two friendly leaders wereplanning rival surprise parties, in which there wasto be nothing more serious than the throwing of confetti.[334]Floriano, surrounded by spies and assassinsbut also by many loyal and devoted friends, knew perfectlywell, from his own spies, what Mello wasdoing, but, relying on his own strength and the publicsentiment behind him, he made no move to checkhim. On the other hand, Mello was well aware thatFloriano knew all that was going on, yet neither onegave any outward sign of this knowledge, and whenthey were together they appeared to be friends.

It was along in July or August, 1893, that I wasdelightedly dragged into the mysterious muss, aftera period of waiting that was long, anxious, and expensive.Mello sent for me first and expressed awish that I go down to Santa Catharina Island, off thesouthern coast of Brazil, and blow up the “Republica,”the one Brazilian warship whose officers hadremained loyal to Floriano, though finally, just beforethe revolution was declared, they went over to Mello.With the exception of Soldanha da Gama, who wasneutral but whom he regarded as more of a friendthan an enemy, Mello had converted the rest of thenavy to his cause, but the “Republica” held outagainst him and he wanted her put out of the wayof doing him harm. He offered a cash payment and acommission in the navy in return for her destruction,but I could never get him down to definite terms or[335]to a contract that I would accept. We had severalconferences, and, while we were still negotiating, Ireceived a call from one of Floriano’s aides, whoasked me to accompany him to the palace. He tookme in the rear entrance and up a back stairway toFloriano’s private sala where, after presenting me,he left me, as I supposed, alone with the President.

“I understand,” said Floriano, getting right downto business, “that you were in Venezuela with PresidentGuzman and that you have had military trainingand experience.”

“That is correct, sir.”

“I am told, too, that you have made a study ofhigh explosives and have invented a remarkabletorpedo.”

“That also is true.”

“Would you be willing to undertake a mission thatwould involve considerable danger, but for which youwould be well paid?”

“I am open to anything except vulgar assassination.That is my business.”

“What do you charge for your services?”

“That depends entirely on the nature of the work.”

“Then we can leave that question open until thenature of the work has been decided on, provided it[336]is understood that your compensation will be such asyou are ordinarily accustomed to.”

“Very good, sir.”

“Brazil may need your services, Colonel Boynton,”with an accent on the “Colonel.”

“I beg your pardon,” I interrupted, “CaptainBoynton.”

“I repeat, Colonel Boynton,” he replied, with asmile and the suggestion of a bow. “Brazil mayneed your services, but I cannot tell how soon norin what capacity.”

“If I enter your service it will be a loyal serviceto the end,” I told him.

“Consider yourself then in the service of Brazil.”As he said this he raised his hand and from behinda curtain appeared Captain Cochrane, a descendant ofthe English Admiral Cochrane who had fought forBrazil seventy years before. He had heard all thatwe had said.

“As we were strangers I took this precaution,” explainedFloriano. “It will not be necessary again.”

“It was a perfectly justifiable precaution,” I replied.

Captain Cochrane then repeated in English my conversationwith the President, to be sure I understoodit, after which I was escorted back to my hotel. Immediately[337]on my arrival there I sent word to Mellothat our negotiations were off and that I would considerno further proposition from him.

A few days after this meeting with the Presidentthe revolution was declared, under conditions suchas one would look for on the light opera stage butnever in real life, not even in South America. Onthe evening of September fifth, Floriano went to theopera, accompanied by Mello, Soldanha and severalother officers of the army and navy, and they all sattogether in the presidential box. Mello and Soldanhaexcused themselves after the second act. They lefttheir cloaks in the box and said they would be backin a few minutes. Knowing full well the reason fortheir departure and that they had no thought of returning,Floriano bowed them out with an ironicalexcess of politeness. Soldanha, who had not yettaken sides, though his sympathies were with the“rebellion” and he subsequently allied himself withit, retired to the naval school, on an island near thecity, and Mello went on board his flagship, the“Aquidaban.” During the night he assembled hiscaptains and impressively gave them their finalorders, with the dramatic announcement that thestandard of revolt would be hoisted at sunrise. Hisfleet, in addition to the flagship, consisted of the[338]“Guanabara,” “Trajano,” and “Almirante Tamandate,”protected cruisers; the “Sete de Setembro,” awooden barbette ship; the gunboat “Centaur,” andtwo river monitors. The protected cruiser “Republica,”whose officers had just decided to join the restof the navy in the effort to compel the retirement ofFloriano, was coming up from down the coast, andthe “Riachuelo,” with which Mello had forced theabdication of Deodoro, was cruising in the Mediterranean.It was not an imposing fighting force butit was sufficient to give Mello command of the sea,while Floriano was in control of the forts and theland forces.

At daybreak Mello seized all of the governmentshipping in the bay and announced a blockade ofRio harbor. He then sent word to Floriano that ifhe did not abdicate, without naming his successor,by four o’clock that afternoon, the city would be bombarded.This threat was also communicated to theforeign ministers, evidently in the hope that theywould try to persuade Floriano to step out, in theinterests of peace, but they promptly protested toMello against bombardment. Under any circ*mstances,they told him, unless he proposed to violatethe international rules of warfare, he could not bombard[339]until after formal notice of forty-eight hours, toallow the removal of neutrals and non-combatants.

Floriano’s reply was an emphatic refusal to abdicate,and, precisely at four o’clock, Mello answeredit with one shell from a three-inch gun, whichexploded near the American consulate and killed aforeigner. During the next week Mello fired fortyor fifty shots into the city every day but they didlittle damage; the fact that they apparently were notaimed at any particular spot probably made no differencein the execution. Frequently he would sendboats ashore for supplies, to which nobody paid anyattention, and at four o’clock every afternoon the“Aquidaban” would steam solemnly over and engagein a comic opera duel with Fort Santa Cruz, whichwas located at the point of the harbor entrance oppositeSugar Loaf Hill. Mello’s shots invariably wentclear over the fort or buried themselves in its walls,while the gunners at the fort could not have hit himif he had stood still for an hour, so no damage wasdone to either side. After about twenty shots the“Aquidaban” would return to her anchorage, slowlyand with great dignity, and hostilities would be overuntil the next day at the same hour. This daily duel,which was the star act in the serio-comic programme,always drew a crowd to the water front. Business[340]went on as usual throughout the “revolution,” whichwas regarded with amused interest rather than withfear.

Very soon after the firing of the first shot, Italian,English, German, Austrian, and Portuguese warshipsappeared at Rio, ostensibly to protect the rights oftheir citizens, but their prompt arrival, made possibleonly by the fact that they were cruising close athand, which was in itself significant, and the attitudethey assumed, made it plain to me that theywere there under secret orders to aid in the restorationof Dom Pedro. Mello was not a rebel but apirate, yet the commanders of these foreign ships,all representing monarchies, gave him their moralsupport, and I have always believed that only thebelated arrival of an American naval force preventedthem from giving him their active support as well.Their influence was so strong that when RearAdmiral Oscar F. Stanton, of the United StatesNavy, finally reached Rio, he made the inexcusablemistake of saluting Mello. For this he was speedilyrecalled, Rear Admiral Gherardi being sent down tosucceed him. Stanton’s excuse was that he wishedto maintain a neutral position, but no question ofneutrality was involved. I know that several of theAmerican naval officers who arrived later shared my[341]view that Mello was a pirate and should have beenblown out of the water by the combined fleets. Itwas evident, from the prompt recall of Stanton, thatthe Navy Department at Washington held the sameopinion but had not sufficient courage in its convictionsto order the suppression of Mello. The rankingofficer of the combined fleets was the ItalianVice Admiral, Magnani. The senior British officerpresent was Captain Lang, of the “Sirius.” Untilthe arrival of an officer of flag rank Captain HenryF. Picking, of the “Charleston,” was the senior officerpresent of the American Navy, and next to him wasCaptain (now Rear Admiral, retired) Silas W. Terry,on the “Newark.”

About a week after the firing of the first shot Iwas on my way to the water front to witness theregular afternoon duel between the “Aquidaban”and Fort Santa Cruz, when I was overtaken by a governmentcarriage, and Col. Pimental, whom I knewwell, asked me to get in with him as he had orders forme from Floriano. He drove along the shore of thebay to a new galvanized building, at a point some distancebeyond the island of the naval school and nearthe railway machine shops. On the way he explainedthat this building had been erected for my use andin it I was to construct, as rapidly as possible, a[342]large torpedo with which to destroy the “Aquidaban.”I was to have whatever I called for, but, fromthe time work was begun on the torpedo until it wasfinished, I was to allow no one to enter or leave thebuilding, for fear that word of what was being doneshould get to Mello’s spies. The structure was ofample size and had comfortable living accommodationsfor ten men, which was as many as I could use.I took up my quarters in the building at once andafter drawing on the master mechanic of the railroadfor a lot of copper plates and such other suppliesas I would need, got right to work.

Late that evening I heard the rumble of a carriageoutside and a moment later in walked Floriano,with an old gray shawl around his shoulders,the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary ofMarine, and a Senator. Floriano inquired first as tomy comfort and I assured him that I was entirelysatisfied. Then he said: “I am relying on you, ColonelBoynton, to save Brazil from further trouble bydestroying the ‘Aquidaban.’ You will have to makeand use your torpedo, with such help as we can giveyou. Now that you know what you are to do, whatis your price?”

I told him I would expect to be paid the appraisedvalue of the ship if I sank her or put her out of commission.[343]After consulting with the others Florianoagreed to my terms; but to prevent future argumentwe fixed the value of the ship at six hundred thousanddollars gold and a contract along these lines wasdrawn up and signed the next day.

The torpedo which I built for this business wasthe largest I had ever made. It was twelve feetlong and four feet in diameter in the middle, andcarried more than five hundred pounds of dynamite,for I wanted to be certain that the ship would be atleast disabled by her contact with it. I paid the mostcareful attention to the mechanism and, to preventthe possibility of a miss-fire, arranged a doubledetonating apparatus which would explode the maincharge when either one of the projecting arms wasforced backward by pressing against the hull of theship. With the completion of the torpedo, which ittook us ten days to build, I tested it with five hundredand fifty pounds of iron and found that I had calculatedthe air chamber support to precisely the properpoint, for it floated just below the surface of thewater. Floriano came down to witness the final test,after a few leaks, developed by the first one, had beenclosed, and handed me a commission as Colonel inthe Brazilian Army. He approved the plan of campaign[344]which I had mapped out and said the necessaryorders would be issued at once.

“I believe you will succeed,” were his partingwords. “I hope you will come back as GeneralBoynton.”

To the south of Rio Bay, which is the main harbor,and within the city itself, lies the little Bay of Botafogo,round like an apple and with a narrow entrance.On the north side of the harbor and cut off from itby a long, low peninsula which ends in a high promontory,is Nictheroy Bay. This peninsula, whichis so low for a considerable distance back of its terminatingeminence that it is covered by water at hightide, when it is crossed by a bridge, lies west of theFort of Santa Cruz. Mello’s fleet was anchored offthe peninsula, on the opposite side of the harbor fromthe city. While Mello had seized all of the governmentvessels in the harbor there were a few tugs left,which, to prevent his interference, were flying theBritish flag, on the pretence that they were owned byEnglishmen. I was to be given one of these tugsand my plan was to steal around into NictheroyBay at night and anchor close under the hill at theend of the peninsula, where I would be hidden fromthe rebel fleet. In the morning I would load the torpedoand wait for the daily exchange of cannon courtesies[345]between the “Aquidaban” and the fort. Anofficer at Santa Cruz was to signal me when Melloleft his anchorage and then, towing the submergedtorpedo by a wire rope too small to be detected, Iwould steam out from behind the sheltering promontoryand head for Botafogo Bay. This would carryme directly across the course of the “Aquidaban,”which would pick up the towing line on her bow,drag the torpedo alongside of her, and, as I expectedand hoped, be destroyed by the explosion whichwould ensue when one of its long arms came in contactwith her hull.

The line by which the torpedo was to be towed wastwo thousand feet long and was supported at intervalsby little floats that were painted the color ofthe water. This gave me room to keep well clear ofthe “Aquidaban,” and I did not think Mello wouldsee anything suspicious in an insignificant little towboat,under the British flag, running diagonallyacross his bow at a distance of a quarter of a mile.This was the only plan which gave promise of success,for it was impossible for an unknown craft ofany kind to get close to the “Aquidaban” whileshe was at anchor, and there never has been anydoubt in my mind that it would have worked perfectlybut for the fact that Mello had full knowledge[346]of our movements and our plans. Our operations hadbeen conducted with such extreme secrecy that wehad no suspicion that they were known to any one butFloriano and his most trusted advisers but, as amatter of fact, Mello’s spies in high places had kepthim constantly advised as to what we were doing andwhen we intended to strike. To show his highregard for the foreign fleet of royalty he reported usto the British naval commander and we were capturedin humiliating fashion, while the “Aquidaban”remained safely at her anchorage. Melloexpected that I would be turned over to him and thathe would have the satisfaction of ordering my execution,but in that he was disappointed.

My tug, in charge of a French engineer and fourBrazilians, was sent down to me on the afternoon ofSeptember 25, and as soon as it was dark, with thetorpedo covered with canvas on deck and twelve fifty-poundboxes of dynamite in the pilot house, westeamed around in Nictheroy Bay, hugging theshore all of the way. To have loaded the torpedobefore we started on the necessarily hazardous tripwould have been extremely dangerous, for any accidentalpressure on one of its arms would have blownall of us to pieces. We anchored in the lee of thepeninsular promontory, well out of sight of the rebel[347]fleet, and as soon as it was daylight I unscrewed themanhole of the torpedo and proceeded to pack it fullof dynamite. All of the men were either helping meor intently watching the novel proceeding, for wewere not expecting visitors. I was just putting inthe last box of the explosive when there was a shrillwhistle and a launch from the “Sirius” swungalongside. The lieutenant in charge of our unbiddenand most unwelcome guest jumped aboard ofus and came aft before I could brush the dynamitefrom my arms.

“Who commands this craft?” he demanded.

“I do,” I replied.

“What are you doing with that flag up there?”pointing to the British ensign.

“That flag was there when I came aboard and tookcommand,” which was true. Then, seeing that hethought I was trying to evade the question, I added:“I am flying it for protection from a pirate fleet, justas others are displaying it in Rio Bay and in thecity. Your commanding officer has sanctioned thatcustom by his silence. I am an officer of the establishedBrazilian Government, obeying the orders ofmy superiors in Brazilian waters, and I claim theright to take advantage of that custom, if I care todo so, just as others have done and are doing.”

[348]“I think the other cases are different from yours,”replied the lieutenant. “What is that?” pointingto the dynamite.

“Examine it for yourself.”

“It looks like dynamite.”


“Well, sir, I am ordered by Captain Lang to takeyou on board Her Majesty’s ship ‘Sirius.’”

It was of no use to make a fight so I accompaniedhim, with excessive and sarcastic politeness. Hetook all of my crew with him, leaving a guard on thetug. Captain Lang was on deck waiting for me andwas quite agitated when I was brought before him,but he was much more heated before we parted company,and it was a warm day to begin with.

“Captain Boynton, what does this mean?” heroared at me.

“What does what mean?” I innocently inquired.

“Your lying over there in a vessel loaded withmunitions of war and flying the British flag?”

“It means simply that I am an officer in the BrazilianArmy, on duty under the guns of a rebel fleet, andthat I am flying the British flag for whatever virtueit might have in protecting me from that pirate,Admiral Mello. That flag has been used as a protection[349]by many others and you have silently acquiescedin such use of it.”

“But, sir, are you not aware that this is piracy?”

“I am not aware, sir, that it is any such thing.”

“But I tell you that it is piracy to fly the Britishflag over the ship of another nation and carryingmunitions of war.”

“It might be just as well, Captain Lang, for youto remember that you are not now on the high seas.An act of the British Parliament is of no effect withinanother country, and if you will consult your chartyou will find that we are in the enclosed waters ofBrazil. Under such conditions no mandate of yourswhich affects my rights can be enforced, unless youhave the nerve to take the chances that go with youract.”

“You may soon find to the contrary,” shouted thecaptain, who was letting his temper get the best ofhim. “I have a mind to send you to Admiral Melloas a prisoner. You know what he would do to you.”

“Oh, Captain Lang,” I said jeeringly, “you knowyou wouldn’t do that.”

“And pray why not, sir?”

“Because you dare not do it, and that’s why,” Itold him, as I pointed at the “Charleston” which,with her decks cleared for action, was anchored only[350]a few hundred yards off to port. “I dare you to do it.I defy you to do it. Send me aboard the ‘Aquidaban’if you dare.” I was making a strong bluff and I gotaway with it. The outraged Britisher swelled upwith anger and turned almost purple, but he did notreply to my taunt. Instead, he summoned the masterat arms and placed me in his charge, ordered hislaunch, and dashed off to the “Charleston.” Hereturned in half an hour and, without another wordto me, ordered a lieutenant to take me aboard the“Charleston.”

I will not deny that I was a bit easier in my mindwhen I saw my own flag flying over me, yet had Iknown the treatment I was to receive under it, Iwould have felt quite differently.

It was easy to see, from the reception which CaptainPicking gave me, that he had been influencedby the attitude of Captain Lang, for he took aboutthe same view of my action. I told him that I wasan American citizen, temporarily in the employmentof the Brazilian Government, as were several otherAmericans who loved fighting and excitement; thatI had violated no law of the United States or ofBrazil, and I demanded that I be set ashore. Hecoldly informed me that I would be confined to theship, at least until he had consulted with the American[351]Minister and communicated with Washington.Not only did Picking regard Mello as a rebel ratherthan a pirate but he went even farther and recognizedhim as a belligerent, which meant that he wasentitled to all the rights of war. This opinion wasshaped, undoubtedly, by the royalist commanders inthe harbor, whose superior rank seemed to have ahypnotic effect on Picking, and their influence overhim was so strong that soon after I arrived on the“Charleston” I was confined to my room, as a dangerouscharacter and a man who threatened thepeace of nations. With this decidedly unpleasantrecollection, however, it is a pleasure to know thatthe other American naval officers, who arrived later,took exactly my view of the whole situation andbecame champions of my cause. They told Pickingthat Mello was a pirate and should be treated assuch, and that I was being deprived of my libertywithout the slightest warrant of law, but they werepowerless to accomplish my release, as Picking wasin command, as the senior officer present, and allof the correspondence with Washington was conductedthrough him. Captain Terry, though he neverhad met me and could not be charged with havinghis opinion biassed by any personal relation, wasespecially vigorous in urging that I be released and[352]that Mello’s farcical revolution be suppressed withoutfurther ceremony. He denounced my detentionas a disgrace to the American Navy and though heand Picking had been bosom friends up to that time,a coolness developed between them, on account ofthe manner in which I was treated, that continueduntil Picking’s death, years later.

The manner in which that old fighter, RearAdmiral Benham, put an end to the “revolution” inthe following January, soon after his arrival at Rio,should be well remembered, for it was a noble deedand an example of the good judgment generally displayedby American naval officers when they are nothampered by foolish orders from Washington. Inthe vain hope of arousing enthusiasm in his lostcause, Mello had gone down the coast, where he figurativelyand literally took to the woods when hesaw the folly of his mission, leaving Da Gama in commandof the blockading fleet. The captains of severalAmerican merchant ships, who had been preventedfor weeks from landing their cargoes for Rio, appealedto Admiral Benham who took prompt action.To show his contempt for the rebels, whom he properlyregarded as pirates, making no secret of the fact,Admiral Benham assigned the smallest ship in hissquadron, the little “Detroit,” commanded by that[353]great little man, Commander (now Rear Admiral, retired)W. H. Brownson, to escort the merchantmenup to the docks. At the same time he warned DaGama not to carry out his threat to fire on them whenthey crossed his line. With his ship cleared for action,as were the “San Francisco,” “New York,”“Charleston,” and “Newark,” which stood guard overthe rebel fleet, at a considerable distance, Brownsonstood in alongside one of the merchantmen. Hesteamed over close to the “Trajano,” on which DaGama’s flag was flying, and which, with the “Guanabara,”was guarding the shore.

“I will recognize no accidental shots,” shoutedBrownson to the rebel admiral, “so don’t fire any.If you open fire I will respond, and if you reply tothat I will sink you.”

As the merchant ship came in line the “Trajano”fired a shot across her bow. Brownson repliedinstantly with a six-pound shell which exploded soclose to the “Trajano” that it threw water on herforward deck. A musket shot was fired from the“Guanabara,” and it was answered and silenced witha bullet from the “Detroit.”

After seeing his charge safely tied up to the dockBrownson circled contemptuously around the “Trajano”and ordered a marine to send a rifle shot into[354]her sternpost, as an evidence of his esteem for hercommander. The discomfited Da Gama, who waslooking for some excuse to end his hopeless revolt,fell over himself getting into his launch, raced overto the “Detroit” and tendered his sword to Brownson.Brownson told him he had not demanded hissurrender, as he seemed to think, and could notaccept it, but that he must keep his hands off Americanshipping if he wished to continue his mortal existence.The “revolution” ended right there, butunfortunately I was not present to witness its collapse.The august naval authorities were scandalizedwhen this display of good sense was reported tothem and they carefully prepared a message of censureto Benham for permitting such conduct, butbefore it was despatched the New York morningnewspapers reached Washington—and after a perusalof their enthusiastic editorials on the subject amessage of commendation was sent to him instead.

During my confinement on the “Charleston” Iwas occasionally allowed on deck for exercise, but Ihad no other diversion, which really was an aggravation,than to watch the intermittent bombardment ofthe city and the regularly scheduled exchange ofshots between the rebel fleet and the forts. In hopeof meeting with greater success Mello would sometimes[355]engage the forts with several of his ships and,as time wore on, there was some improvement inthe marksmanship on both sides, though nothing likereasonable accuracy was ever attained. The onlyincident which was at all exciting was the sinking ofthe “Javary,” one of Mello’s monitors. A shell fromFort Sao Joao dropped between her turrets and asshe heeled over from the explosion an accidentalshot from Fort Santa Cruz struck her below thewater line. She went down by the stern with a rush.The guns in her forward turret were pointed towardthe town and they were fired, in a spirit of sheerbravado, just as she disappeared. Mello threw a fewshells into the city every day, as evidence that hewas still in rebellion, but I was told that less thanhalf a dozen of them did any damage and they certainlyproduced little excitement. Soldanha da Gamacame out in the open and joined forces with Mellowhile I was on the “Charleston.”

I was not allowed to communicate with any one onshore, and, except from hearsay, Floriano had nomeans of knowing whether I was alive or dead. CaptainPicking claimed to have been told by a churchdignitary, who, of course, was a friend of Mello, thatit would be unsafe to set me ashore as I was certainto be assassinated by Mello sympathizers, but that[356]doubtless was a subterfuge by which he sought tojustify his position. After I had been subjected tothis outrageous treatment for two months—fromSeptember 26 to November 26—I was suddenlyand without any explanation transferred to the“Detroit,” which immediately put to sea. Off CapeFrio we met another “Sirius,” a Lamport & Holtliner bound for New York, and, in charge of EnsignJas. F. Carter, I was transferred to her. We reachedNew York on December 19, 1893, and I was takento the Brooklyn Navy Yard. An hour after my arrivala message was received from Washington orderingmy release. The Navy Department had me onits hands, did not know what to do with me, andfinally, in line with the vacillating policy then invogue, took that cowardly method of getting meaway from the danger zone. Adhering to my rule ofnever talking about myself or my troubles I made nocomplaint, but I have always considered that mytreatment was a disgrace, and most of the navalofficers who were in Rio at the same time will bearme out in that statement. It was the sort of treatmentone might expect in an absolute monarchy butnot in a republic, with all of its false boasts about thefreedom of the citizen and protection of his rights.



NOTWITHSTANDING the discouragement Ihad met with in Brazil, and the manner inwhich I had been deprived of a fresh fortune andmuch excitement by the discovery of my plan to sendAdmiral Mello and his rebel flagship skyward witha beautiful torpedo of my own invention and construction,the passion for adventure was still strongwithin me, but I was unable to gratify it withthe resources then at my command. My finances,already considerably crimped by my extravagant wayof living and several unprofitable years, had beenstill further depleted by my long and idle stay atRio Janeiro, while waiting for the Mello insurrectionto become an actuality, and I felt it the part ofwisdom to assure myself of an income until somethingopened up that would be more exciting thanworking for a living.

Therefore, soon after my prompt release from theBrooklyn Navy Yard, just before Christmas in 1893,after my outrageous treatment at the hands of CaptainPicking and the Navy Department, I engaged[358]with the Maxim Powder & Torpedo Company totravel through Central and South America and theWest Indies and sell munitions of war to governments,or to any one who had the necessary cash orcould furnish reasonable security. But before settingforth I organized, with several of my friends,the International Export & Trading Company.Through this concern it was proposed to arm andfinance any promising revolution I might encounterwhose leaders would guarantee, in the event of success,to pay us anywhere from three to ten times theamount of money we had actually invested in theenterprise, and give us valuable concessions besides.No get-rich-quick scheme that was ever devisedequals the financing of a revolution, when it succeedsand is honestly managed. The experience tables ofthe turbid tropics prove that the chances are somewhatagainst the success of these outbursts of predatorypatriotism, but the prospects of failure areamply discounted by the exorbitant terms of the contract;the great trouble is that they generally are incharge of men who have no more respect for a writtenagreement than for a moral obligation. The manwho bets at random on the honesty of revolutionaryleaders in Latin America, no matter how sincere theirpromises nor what odds they offer, stands a much[359]better chance of winning from a faro game operatedwith a two-card box, but as I had a personal acquaintancewith or knowledge of most of the disturbingelements in those days, and knew how far they couldordinarily be trusted, I thought I might run acrossone or two with whom it would be safe to do business.In case any such ambitious ones were found Iintended to become an active participant in the proceedings,as a sort of guarantee of good faith and toincrease my interest in them.

Determined to tackle the hardest proposition first,I boarded an Atlas liner for Hayti, where old FlorvilleHippolyte was at the zenith of his power. Iknew that while I had been smuggling Chinamen intoAustralia, General Legitime, whom I had accompaniedinto exile at Jamaica when President Salomondeported him for plotting against the government, atthe same time that he conveyed to me a broad hintto leave the country without a delay of more thana few hours, had returned to the island in 1888, afteran absence of more than three years, and had led atemporarily successful revolt through which he hadhimself elected President of the provisional government,in succession to the man who had exiled him.Gen. Seide Thelemaque promptly organized an opposinggovernment at Cape Haitien, with Gen. Hippolyte[360]at the head of it. Thelemaque was soon afterwardkilled in battle but Hippolyte continued the revolution.Through its navy the United States gave himits “moral support,” which is a powerful thing whenintelligently directed, and within a year from thetime he landed in Hayti to lead his little rebellion,Legitime was compelled to again return ingloriouslyto his haven in Jamaica. Two months later, in October,1889, Hippolyte was formally elected Presidentand he continued in power until he died on horseback,at the head of his army, near Port au Prince, in theSpring of 1896.

Because of my affiliation with Legitime, whom Ihad mistakenly picked out as the coming man inHayti, Hippolyte and I had quarrelled just beforeLegitime and I were ordered from the country; butthat had been years before, and I deluded myself withthe belief that, if he had not forgotten the affair, ithad been forgiven, for there is supposed to be somesort of honor even among soldiers of fortune and themen with whom, at different times and under varyingconditions, they ally themselves. The lovers ofliberty, and lucre, who command insurrections areout chiefly for what there is in it for themselves,while the simple soldiers of fortune, like myself, arein the game mainly for the excitement and amusem*nt[361]of conflict. It is against the ethics of theprofession of promoting trouble for the members ofone faction to cherish grudges against the other,except perhaps under conditions involving personalhonor, and that is not often at stake. However,I soon learned that Hippolyte, who was essentiallya savage with a lot of uncultured cunning, was nobeliever in the unwritten revolutionary rules.

The steamer reached Port au Prince in the morningand I went to the Hotel Bellevue, which facedthe park, directly opposite the presidential palace.I had just finished breakfast when an American quadroonnamed Belford, who boasted the proud title ofAdmiral of the Haytian Navy and with whom I hadbecome well acquainted during my previous visit,entered the hotel. He recognized me instantly andafter an exchange of greetings and some randomremarks about the old days, he wanted to know whatI was doing there. I handed him my card, showingthat I was the representative of the Maxim Powder& Torpedo Co.

“But what is your real business?” he inquiredwith a smile.

“The card states it correctly.”

“How long are you going to stay?”

[362]“At least long enough to sell old Hippolyte a goodbill of goods, I hope.”

“You are not going to see the old man himself?”he incredulously inquired.

“Surely. I hope to see him to-day.”

“You’d better be careful, Boynton. He remembersyou in a way that is likely to make trouble foryou.”

“He ought to have forgotten all about our littledifference by this time, or at least he should not harborhatred of me.”

“The old man has a long memory. He never forgetsand I never have known him to forgive.”

I laughed at his friendly anxiety but he continuedin the same strain. While we were talking we sawa young officer coming up the path to the hotel.“Here comes one of the old man’s aides,” said Belford.“He’s after you already.”

I told him it was impossible, for I had been in townonly a few hours, but he insisted he was right andquickly left me so we should not be found together.I stepped into a side room where the young officercame up to see me in a few minutes, guided by thehotel proprietor.

“This is Captain Boynton?” he said, with more ofdeclaration than inquiry.

[363]“At your service, sir.”

“President Hippolyte requests you to call on himat three o’clock this afternoon.”

“Present my compliments to the President andtell him I will be at the palace at that hour,” I replied.

Belford rejoined me when the aide was out ofsight. He said he did not like the looks of thingsand advised me to go back on board the steamer,which was still in the harbor. I told him I thoughthe was unnecessarily alarmed, but that anyway Ihad come to Hayti as an American citizen on legitimatebusiness, and I proposed to stay until it hadbeen transacted.

In the middle of the afternoon I donned full eveningdress, according to the court requirement, andpresented myself at the palace, where I was at onceushered into Hippolyte’s private reception room.

“What brings you here, Captain Boynton?” wasthe sharp salutation of the old black butcher.

“I am selling munitions of war,” I replied, andhanded him my card.

“Is that all?” he asked, with a look as keen as arazor and in a voice almost as cutting.

“That is all.”

With this assurance, which seemed to carry conviction,[364]Hippolyte relaxed considerably and shookhands with me.

“I want to sell you some smokeless powder,” I toldhim. “It is the latest thing and is a great aid toannihilation.”

“Don’t want it,” was his brusque response.

“It is almost noiseless, as well,” I urged. “Withits use an enemy would find it difficult to locateyour troops.”

“That is worse yet,” he said, with as much of asmile as his ugly face was acquainted with. “Wewant powder that will make much smoke and lots ofnoise.”

I told him I had that kind too, and other thingswhich he ought to have.

“Well,” he said, with a suggestion of impatience,“go to the Minister of War and get your order, andthen get out. Where are you going from here?”

“To Santo Domingo.”

“Good. I’ll help you. The ‘Toussaint l’Ouverture’[a little gunboat named for the negro Napoleonof Hayti] will take you there when you are ready.You must be prepared to sail within a week.”

“Why all this hurry?” I inquired in great surprise.“It has been years since I was in Port auPrince and I want to revisit old familiar places and[365]renew acquaintance with old friends, if there areany left.” I might have added that I disputed hisright to prescribe the length of my stay, but I didnot wish to provoke a row with the old fellow, atthat time.

He almost beamed on me as he replied, “I likeyou, Captain, but I don’t want you in Hayti. Youcan stay just one week.”

I told him I earnestly hoped he would extend thetime limit and left him, backing out, if you please.I went direct to the Minister of War, who made outa memorandum covering a large consignment offighting materials and said he would send the officialorder to my hotel, which he did. Soon after myreturn to the hotel I was introduced to Freeman Halstead,the correspondent of a great New York newspaper,who had been in Hayti for some time. I hadnoticed him talking with the proprietor that morning,when Hippolyte’s aide came to the hotel in searchof me. In the interval he had cabled his paper thatI was in Hayti and had received reply, he said, to“stick to Boynton until further orders.” I told himI had no news and did not expect to make any, buthe declared that he would stand by to see what happened.He said he was on an intimate footing with[366]Hippolyte and suggested that he might be able tohelp me.

During the evening I received a call from an oldGerman acquaintance, named Hefferman, and at hisinvitation I accompanied him to his home. His wifenecessarily was a native negress for, on account ofthe stringent anti-foreign law, all of his propertystood in her name. He confided to me the fact thathe was the agent for Gen. Mannigat, another would-berevolutionary leader who was in exile at Jamaica,and that with the aid of a French woman, known asNatalie, of whom Hippolyte was greatly enamoured,he had just formulated a plan to kidnap the President.His scheme was to have Natalie give Hippolytesome drugged wine and, while he was unconscious,put him in a box and bundle him off to awaiting sailing ship which would proceed to Jamaica,where the deposed and dopey President would beturned over to Mannigat, who could make such termswith him as he desired. To the mind of my Germanfriend this would establish a new standard in revolutionsand he wanted me to share in his glory, inreturn for my assistance. I complimented him onhis idea of stealing a President, which, under suchconditions as he described, might be accomplished,but pointed out that to make his coup successful he[367]must have Mannigat on the ground with a force sufficientlylarge to seize and hold the government whenHippolyte was removed; that unless this was doneboth of them would be frozen out by some co*ckadedcriminal who was waiting for just such an opportunity.I told him if the conditions which I hadstipulated could be complied with I would be glad tofinance and equip the revolt, subject to satisfactoryguarantees, but that as it stood I could have nothingto do with it.

It was late when we finished our talk and I madethe mistake of spending the night with Heffermanwho, as it turned out, was vaguely suspected ofbeing disloyal to Hippolyte, or at least out of sympathywith him, though there was no notion that hewas Mannigat’s confidential agent. As a result ofmy long visit to the German, the mistaken suspicionwas created that I had come to Hayti to plot againstthe President and was trying to draw Heffermaninto my plans. This suspicion soon became apparent.Halstead and Belford told me there was nodoubt, from what they had heard at the palace andelsewhere, that Hippolyte thought I had lied to himand believed I was there to make trouble for him.On the sixth day after my arrival Belford told mehe was to take me on the “Toussaint” the next day,[368]ostensibly to convey me to Santo Domingo, but thathe had secret orders, from Hippolyte himself, to seeto it that I “fell overboard” well out at sea and wasnot rescued. He begged me to get out of the countrythat day, as he would have to obey orders or“walk the plank” himself. Halstead brought meword that I was to be arrested the next day and hewas positive that I was to be “shot while attemptingto escape” or put out of the way in some such fashion.That made it look as though the old scoundrelmeant business and I concluded to give him the slip.Halstead declared he was going with me and as Iknew I could rely on him I let him arrange thedetails of our departure. Pretending that he wasgoing to Jacmel he sent his trunk and mine, bothmarked as his own, on board a Dutch steamshipwhich had come into port that morning and was toleave the next day.

Against the protests of both Halstead and BelfordI paid Hippolyte a parting call that afternoon. Ithanked him for his courtesy and the order for armsand told him I would be ready to sail the next morningon the “Toussaint,” which I expected would bewaiting for me. The old villain was in his happiestmood and even joked with me about latter day conditionsin Hayti as compared with those which had[369]existed when I was there before. If I had not knownwhat was in his mind I might have thought he wassimply glad I was going away without having stirredup any trouble for him, but, knowing his murderousplans, I appreciated that he was gloating over me.The strange situation amused me so that I laughedimmoderately at his jokes and, as all of his gloatingwas to be in anticipation, I let him enjoy himself tohis fill.

“Good-bye, my friend,” he said as I was leaving.“I wish you a quiet and peaceful trip to-morrow.”

He chuckled over his irony and I smiled back athim, with my thanks. That evening, after Halsteadhad loudly announced in the hotel office that he expecteda visitor at eleven o’clock and wished himsent directly to his room, he and I slipped out by aback way, went to a lonely spot on the beach wherehe had a boat in waiting, and rowed out to the Dutchship. On account of his newspaper connection Halsteadhad much influence with the captain and whenthe ship was searched for me the next morning, onthe pretence that I was a political prisoner who wasattempting to escape, I was not found.

We went to Jamaica, where Halstead formerly hadlived, and there I got in touch with General Mannigat,and went over his plans against Hippolyte. He[370]impressed me as a fighter and reasonably honest andhe convinced me that he had a considerable followingin Hayti. He was positive that if he had enougharms he could capture the country, so I arrangedwith him that the International Export & TradingCo., my concern for promoting revolutions, wouldship him twenty-five thousand dollars’ worth ofmunitions of war on the receipt of three thousanddollars in cash and in the further consideration on hispart of a pledge that thirty-three per cent of the customsreceipts at Port au Prince would be turned overto us, until we had been paid two hundred and twentythousand dollars, which was at the rate of tendollars for every one dollar that we risked. I drewup a contract to this effect, which he signed, andsent the order for the arms to New York, withinstructions to fill it when Mannigat sent the threethousand dollars. The money never was sent, but Istill hold the contract, as a souvenir.

Mannigat was in doubt as to how soon the requisiteamount of cash could be raised, so it was arrangedthat I should be advised when it was forwarded toNew York, in order that I might return and take anactive part in his operations, and I went on to theIsthmus of Panama, then a part of Colombia. Istopped at the International Hotel, probably so[371]named because it was the worst in the world, atColon, and made no secret of my business there, oranywhere else; in fact I rather boasted of it, becauseof the novelty of being engaged in legitimate commerce,even though I was filibustering on the sidewhen the inducements were attractive. Within a fewdays I was approached by a young Colombian whohad been educated in New Jersey and was a gooddeal of an American in his ideas. Without tellingme what they were for, but giving me grounds fordrawing my own conclusions, he ordered three thousandWinchester rifles and the same number of revolvers,with a large quantity of ammunition. He saidhe would give me New York exchange in part paymentof the bill the following day, and that the balancewould be paid when they were delivered, at apoint to be designated later.

During the night that came on the heels of thisconversation I heard a few pistol shots but paid noattention to them, as there seemed to be no resultantexcitement. In the morning I discovered that twohundred alleged revolutionary plotters, of whom myyoung customer of the day before was one of thechiefs, had been arrested between darkness and dawnand rounded up in a big yard, surrounded by a highfence, directly back of the hotel. At breakfast I was[372]looked at curiously and I soon heard talk that I wasalso to be taken into custody. A fat and officiousEnglish butcher, who was employed by the Governorof Panama to spy on all English-speaking visitors,had reported my meeting with the supposed rebelleader and had advised that I be arrested on theground that I was fomenting internal disorder. Iknew, of course, that I could establish my innocence,but the administration of the law in Latin Americais such a fearful and wonderful thing that it mighttake me weeks or months to do it, and, besides that,I had no desire for a clash with the Colombian Governmentand the notoriety which would result fromit. Therefore, when trouble appeared certain I tookrefuge with the British consul, who was just thenthe acting American consul. I explained the situationto him and, while maintaining that my businesswas perfectly legitimate, denied that I had sold theyoung patriot any arms, which was technically trueas the deal had not been closed, or that I knew hewas involved in any proposed revolution. The consulsympathized with me, in compliance with themost important of the unwritten rules of the consularservice, but, after satisfying himself that theGovernor had been prejudiced against me, he advisedthat the easiest and quickest way out of the difficulty[373]was the best. The steamship “Ferdinand de Lesseps”was leaving the next day for the Spanish Main,which was where I wanted to go, and I went onboard of her, under escort of the consul. I was runninginto more trouble on this trip than I had everbefore encountered in ten times the same length oftime and it began to look as though I had brought ahoodoo on myself by forsaking the intricate paths ofadventure for the broad, not the straight and narrow,way of ordinary trade.

Not wishing to take any further chances withColombia I did not even go ashore at Savanilla orCartagena but went on to Venezuela, where Gen.Joachim Crespo was now in command. The rule ofPresident Palacio, whose supporters had betrayedmy old friend Guzman Blanco, had lasted but twoyears and was followed in rapid succession by a seriesof revolutions. The betrayal of Guzman seemed tohave put a curse on the country, for there was disorderall through the Palacio regime and immediatelyfollowing it there were three dictatorships inone year. Finally, in October, 1892, General Crespoentered Caracas and restored peace so completelythat shortly before my arrival he was electedConstitutional President. I recalled that whenCrespo was a young staff officer I had recommended[374]him to Guzman for his loyalty and intelligence, and,if he knew of this incident, I thought it might nowprove of advantage to me in my new occupation.

As we were warping into the dock at La Guairathe chief of police, who was a new man to me, cameaboard and looked over the baggage of all of thepassengers who were to land there. When we haddisembarked he slipped his arm through mine andquietly told me I was under arrest and to go withhim. Three officers stepped up behind us to enforcehis orders and they all looked me over as thoughthey suspected that I might be full of dynamite.Instead, I was full of questions and protests, but nota word could I get out of them as to the reason forthe surprising proceeding. They escorted me to thepolice station at the end of the long wharf and afterI had been carefully searched and relieved of everythingbut my money I was taken to the fort on thehill and placed in a strong room, if not a comfortableone. The next day I was removed to the Casa Publica,or public prison, at Caracas, where I was notsurprised to find several old acquaintances. Gen.Tosta Garcia, whom I had known intimately in theold days, was Governor of the Federal District andhad authority over the prison, but, unfortunately,[375]he was out of the city and the Intendiente, or Vice-Governor,who was a stranger to me, was in charge.

Soon after my arrival I was haled to his office,apparently to be put through an examination, butbefore he could ask me a question I burst out on himwith a bitter denunciation of my arrest. I told himwho I was and what I was doing and that if thesearch of my baggage, which undoubtedly had beenmade, had failed to establish my identity there weremany prominent men in Caracas who would vouchfor me, including his own immediate superior. Iurged him to explain the reason for my detention; buthe would say nothing, beyond a veiled suggestionthat it had been ordered by the President.

“Present my compliments to General Crespo,” Isaid, in reply to this amazing intimation, “andremind him, if you please, that I was his friend whenmy friendship was worth having. Tell him, too, thatif this is the way he treats his friends he is a contemptiblesnake,” or words to that effect.

The Intendiente was plainly surprised at both mywords and my manner and without asking a questionhe sent me back to the prison. The next morning hedirected my release in person. “There is no reasonfor you to be angry with General Crespo,” he said,by way of explanation, “for he has ordered your[376]unconditional release. You are free to go where youplease and stay as long as you please.”

“Which,” I replied, “is no compliment to me andin no way lessens the outrage to which I have beensubjected.”

From the Casa Publica I went to the Grand Hoteland when my traps arrived there I found that theyhad been, as I supposed, thoroughly ransacked, butnothing was missing. In the following days Iencountered many men whom I had known well orintimately fifteen years before, when Caracas wasmy home for a longer period than any other city inthe world had ever been, and I was soon enjoyingmyself renewing acquaintance with old friends,among whom were members of some of the oldestfamilies in Venezuela. To all of them who asked ifI had seen the President, I said I had not and thatI did not propose to call on him, as I had been shamefullymistreated by his order. Two or three weeksafter my arrival the Minister of War sent for me andsaid he understood I was the agent of a house thatsold munitions of war. I said that was true, andwhen he expressed surprise that I had not called onhim I told him I had been subjected to a great injusticethrough him and through General Crespo, andthat while I did not expect an apology from either[377]one I could at least show them how I felt about itby staying away from them, even though I punishedmyself and my firm by so doing. However, if hewas interested, I said I would be glad to show himmy samples and quote prices. He said he was interested,and proved it by giving me a large order.Beyond a shrug of the shoulders, which might havemeant any one of a dozen things, he made no commenton my complaint of ill treatment. Not longafter this I went one evening, by invitation, to thehome of a doctor friend of mine and was astonishedto be ushered into the presence of President Crespo.It developed that the doctor was one of Crespo’s intimateassociates, though I had not known it up to thattime. The President greeted me with a smile andsaid, as he extended his hand, “As Mahomet wouldnot come to the mountain, the mountain had to cometo Mahomet.”

“I never expected that I would have to apologizeto the man who, I thought, owed me an apology, eventhough I did not look for it, but that is the situationI find myself in now,” I said to him. “Courtesy compelsme to apologize for not having called on you topay my respects. But,” I added, “I am a good dealof a red Indian, which means that I am slow to forgive[378]an injury, and I felt that you had done me agreat injustice.”

“That was a most unfortunate incident,” he said,with evident sincerity. “I am going to explain thereason for my action and let you be the judge as tothe justification for it.” He then told me that fiveor six weeks previously a circular had been sent outby an American agent of a Central American country,in which it was stated that a man named Boynton,of whom a description was given, was leavingNew York ostensibly to sell munitions of war, butthat his real purpose was to assassinate PresidentHippolyte, of Hayti, and President Crespo, of Venezuela.He said, of course, he had not connected mewith the alleged anarchist, for that was what theman was stated to be, or he would never have issuedthe order for my arrest.

“What would you have done if you had been inmy place?” asked Crespo when he had completed hisexplanation.

“Precisely what you did.”

“Then, with that explanation, I apologize for thetrouble I caused you.”

“That removes the last sting,” I told him, and wesettled down for a long talk. He recalled the fact thatI had commended him to General Guzman and expressed[379]what seemed to be genuine sorrow over thedownfall of that great chieftain. Crespo was verydifferent in appearance from the slender young aide Ihad known in the old days and was now a big, tall,and well-developed man. He had been President before,from 1884 to 1886, as a dummy for Guzman, sohe knew something of both the responsibilities and thedangers of the office. His manner impressed me andI took a pronounced liking to him. He said he haddirected the Minister of War to buy a bill of goodsfrom me and to purchase all future war suppliesthrough me, and I told him I had already receivedthe first order.

“I want you to be as good a friend to me as youwere to General Guzman,” he said in parting. I toldhim I expected to be in Venezuela for some time andwould gladly be of service to him in any way that Icould.

A few nights later I was summoned to an adjoininghouse where I again met Crespo and had a longtalk with him alone. He asked me how much Iexpected to make in my new business. Withoutgoing into any of the details of my plans and givingmyself the benefit of every doubt, I told him I oughtto make fifty thousand dollars a year. He said he didnot know whether he could pay me that much in[380]salary but in one way and another he would see thatI lost nothing if I would consent to stay with him.Through a visit to the United States shortly beforehe took the field for the presidency he had learnedof the work of our Pinkertons, and had become impressedwith the need of a secret detective force ofhis own. It was the same idea that Guzman hadwhen I became his confidential agent, but Crespowanted it worked out on a broader scale so that hecould be kept advised as to the movements and plansof his most important enemies, and truthfully told ofthe fluctuations in public sentiment. He asked me toundertake the organization of a force of secret serviceagents, whom I was to employ and pay in my owndiscretion and for such time as I needed them, andI consented. A means of communication was establishedthrough an unused rear door to his privateapartments at Santa Inez Palace, to which I wasgiven a key, and I was to have access to him at anyhour of the day or night. I told him, however, thatour intimate relationship had best not be known, sothat I could keep on friendly terms with all classes,and that I would openly criticise him, and evendenounce him, whenever it served my purpose andhis welfare.

In the two years that followed the relations[381]between Crespo and myself became as cordial as theywere confidential. Though of humble origin, and fullyhalf Indian, there must have been blue blood somewhereamong his ancestors, for he was a polished gentlemanin his manners and extremely magnetic. Hewas tremendously powerful and while he weighed allof two hundred and fifty pounds he was so well builtand so tall that he did not look heavy. He put me inmind of a square-rigged ship of graceful lines, withall of her canvas set. He could hardly read and writebut he had an insatiable thirst for information, andhis close friends used to read to him at night untilhe fell asleep. He never drank to excess; was a goodhusband and an indulgent father, and the most continentVenezuelano I ever knew. He thought he washonest and he certainly was loyal to his friends andstubborn in his opinions. He was so strong in hisfriendship, in fact, that he was sometimes imposed on,for with a man whom he liked and trusted he was ascredulous as a child. The advice and warnings ofDonna Crespo and myself caused him to turn a deafear to many of his evil-minded followers but we couldnot silence all of them, and their influence preventedhim from being a really great President. In theface of a danger that could be seen, no matter howgreat, he was entirely without fear, but he was in constant[382]dread of assassination. He was skilful in theuse of revolver and rifle and was passionately fond offirearms, perhaps because of his besetting fear.When the first shipment of Maxim guns was receivedhe had me set one of them up in the yard back ofSanta Inez Palace. He examined it carefully, withall the pleasure of a child with a new toy, tested itsflexibility and radius of action, and then cut “J.Crespo” with a stream of bullets in a brick wall sixtyfeet away, and gleefully surveyed his handiwork.

Not long after entering his employ I was instrumentalin saving his life. He had gone for an outingto an atto, or ranch, twenty miles from Guacara,which was near Valencia, where Gen. IgnacioAndrade was then stationed. The night after he leftCaracas I learned through one of my agents that twohundred men were to start out at midnight ostensiblyfor Saint Lucia, but when part way there they wereto proceed diagonally across the plains to the ranchat which Crespo was stopping, where they plannedto capture and shoot him. I employed a dare-devilnephew of Guzman, whom I knew I could trust, togallop at top speed to Andrade with a letter in whichI told him of the plot. He immediately sent a messengerto the President to warn him of his danger,and followed him quickly with five hundred troops.[383]Crespo was found two or three miles out on theranch, and by his order the soldiers were hidden inand around the farm buildings. When the rebelscame up they were surrounded before they knewwhat had happened. Their leader was shot on thespot and his lieutenants were imprisoned. Andradedid just what any other good soldier would have done,yet it was this act more than anything else, I havealways believed, that caused Crespo to select him ashis successor, with tragic results. Though deeplygrateful to me he considered that he owed his lifeto Andrade.

Several other plots against Crespo’s life were discoveredand frustrated by the effective secret serviceI had created, and most of those who were implicatedin them were properly punished. One of thesemurder schemes, which proved to be more seriousthan I at first supposed, involved the telephone inCrespo’s private room. The plan was to substitutefor the regular receiver one which looked exactly likeit but was not insulated, and then, when the Presidenthad answered a call and was holding the receiveragainst his ear, switch into the telephone the fullcurrent from an electric light dynamo, in the hopethat the shock would be strong enough to kill him.My first inkling of this came from an American[384]electrical engineer and while I satisfied myself thatsuch a plot had been laid I never was able to get tothe bottom of it, though I had an intelligent suspicionas to who was responsible for it.

Crespo was keenly appreciative of my services andwas anxious to put me in the way of making a fortune,to take the place of the ones I had lost inspeculation and in trying to outdo the King of the Belgiansin riotous living, to which I have ever beenprone. There were then two lines of horse cars inCaracas. It seemed to me there was a good openingfor an electric system, and through Crespo’s influenceI secured a blanket franchise that was most sweepingin its terms. It gave me the right to parallel theexisting lines and build new ones on any streets thatI selected, all over the city, or, as it was unfortunatelyworded “all around the city.” The only literal Spanishequivalent for this, as far as I knew, was circumvalorate,and that word was used to describe myrights. I was also given the right to condemn waterfallsfor thirty miles around to generate electricity.The most desirable of these natural power plants wasover toward Macuto, and was owned by one of theGuzman family. I arranged to sell my franchise toa Brooklyn street railway man for three hundredthousand dollars, but when he came to investigate it[385]he found that circumvalorate meant exactly whatit said, “all around the city,” and that outside of thelines parallel to the existing street railways, whichwere specifically provided for, he could do nothingmore than build a belt line along the outside edge ofthe city. Crespo tried to have the franchise amendedso that it would give me, in plain terms, just what Iwanted and what I thought I had, but the amendmentfailed of passage by one vote, that of the Guzmandescendant, who feared that my next movewould be the condemnation of his waterfall. Naturally,the deal fell through. That one miserableword cost me just three hundred thousand dollars. Inever have used it since then until now; it is tooexpensive for ordinary conversation.

In the latter part of 1895 Crespo was asked torevive the concession which Guzman Blanco hadgranted to the old Manoa Company, and which hadsubsequently been annulled. This concession, whichhad passed through several hands and was then heldby the Orinoco Company, Limited, took in the entiredelta of the Orinoco and covered eight million acresof land, an empire that was wonderfully rich in avariety of resources. Crespo, believing that here wasan unusual opportunity for me to rebuild my fortunesand for him to prove his gratitude, notified the[386]Orinoco Co. that he would restore the concession providedI was made manager of it. They were quitewilling to employ me in this capacity for, withoutany regard to what ability I might have as a manager,they were assured of having the governmentwith them, which is a consideration of first importancethroughout South and Central America. I wasby no means anxious to go with them but I finallyyielded to Crespo’s advice and accepted the appointment,though without binding myself to stay morethan six months. Crespo gave me, in effect, thepower of life and death over every one on the concession,and put me above the law. He instructed theGovernor of the Delta Territorio that whatever I didwas well done, and that I was not to be held toaccount for it. I left for Santa Catalina, the headquartersof the concession, on December 17, 1895,the day that President Cleveland sent to Congresshis message on the Venezuelan boundary question.



IT was in vexed Venezuela that I was destined toend my days of deviltry, but not until after a protractedwarfare, none the less bitter because it wasconducted at long range, with Castro the Contemptible,who came into power two years after I hadfinally settled down at Santa Catalina as manager forthe Orinoco Company. Cipriano Castro had been inCongress as Diputado, or Member of the House, fromone of the Andean districts while I was in Caracaswith President Crespo, and though he was regardedas a good fighter and a disturbing element he wasnever considered as a presidential possibility. Hadthat unhappy prospect ever been suggested it couldeasily have been imagined that he would, as he abundantlydid, prove himself the “Vulture of Venezuela,”the most despotic and dishonest ruler with which thatunfortunate country has ever been cursed, and themost cunning.

With all of my hatred for Castro and everythingpertaining to him it must be admitted that he wasan exceedingly shrewd scoundrel; had he been half[388]as honest he could have made himself the greatestman in South America. He supported Anduesa Palacio,the deposed President who had betrayed GuzmanBlanco, in his final campaign against Crespo,before the latter was recognized as Dictator, anddefeated General Morales in the battle of Tariba onMay 15, 1892. For some time after that he was infull control of that section of the country, but withthe firm establishment of the new regime he gave upthe fight. In recognition of the military ability hehad displayed, Crespo offered to make him Collectorof Customs at Puerto Cabello. He declined theposition but, egotistically exaggerating the purposeof the proffer, he pompously promised Crespo that hewould not attempt to overthrow his government. Hethen came to Congress, where he would have beenalmost unnoticed but for the amusem*nt he createdby solemnly removing his shoes and putting onblack kid gloves every time he sat down to the, tohim, herculean task of drafting a bill. He was asrough and uncouth as the rest of the mountaineers;short of stature, secretive of mind, and suspicious ofevery one, excepting only a few of his brother brigandsfrom the Andes. At the expiration of his termhe returned to the hills and bought a farm just acrossthe Colombian border. He posed as a cattle-raiser,[389]but all of the reports that reached Caracas said he wasmuch more of a cattle-rustler, or stealer. He wasa persistent tax-dodger and his herd, which was saidto show fifty different brands that represented asmany thefts, was driven back and forth across theborder to avoid the Venezuelan and Colombian collectors.He was engaged in this profitable pastimewhen I left Caracas, and had disappeared from allpolitical and revolutionary calculations.

I first arrived at Santa Catalina, whither I hadgone on the urgent advice of Crespo, early in 1896.It was a straggling little town, with the company’sheadquarters, a large wooden building containingforty rooms, which was used for both residential andadministrative purposes, standing close to the bankof the Piacoa River, a branch of the Orinoco, oppositethe lower end of the Island of Tortola—theIwana of Sir Walter Raleigh. The building containeda store, with a large supply of goods adaptedto the needs of colonists in a new and tropical country,and around it were carpenter, blacksmith, andmachine shops. The company also owned three smallsteamers, which were used to bring supplies fromTrinidad and run back and forth to Barrancas, thirtymiles upstream at the head of the Macareo River, themain estuary of the Orinoco, through which all of the[390]commerce passes. The Atlantic Ocean was one hundredand fifty miles below us and Ciudad Bolivar, theprincipal city on the Orinoco and the head of all-the-yearnavigation, was one hundred and eighty milesabove.

Tradition says that Santa Catalina was named byRaleigh who, according to the native story, campedthere when he was pushing his way up the Orinocoin search of the fabled El Dorado, with its goldencity of Manoa. Just above Barrancas are the ruinsof a strong fort that he built as a safe abiding placefor a part of his force while he went farther on upthe river. It is, perhaps, the irony of an unkind fatewhich pursued the great adventurer, that near thisfort, from which searching parties were sent out, isthe rich mine of El Callao, whose gold probably gaverise to the stories that started Raleigh on his heroichunt for the shining city that was the objective pointof all of the Argonauts who followed Columbus andOjeda. If Raleigh had been looking for gold by thepound instead of by the ton and had searched morecarefully he probably would have found enough tosatisfy him.

Stretching away to unmeasured lengths from thepin prick which the headquarters village made in it,was the virgin forest, with its wealth of gold and iron,[391]rubber and asphalt, and its square miles of mahogany,Spanish cedar, rosewood, carapo, greenheart, andmora wood, all within the confines of our concession.Far off to the southwest, in a region which I nevercould find time to explore, was the mythical dwellingplace of the people whom Raleigh described,though only on the word of the natives, as having noheads but with eyes in their shoulders and mouths intheir chests, with a long mane trailing out from theirspines. Down the Orinoco, half-way to the coast,was Imitaca Mountain, a great hill of iron ore, whichis said to be one of the largest and richest deposits inthe world.

The letters which Crespo had given me to the TerritorialGovernor and to the “Jefe Civile,” who hadimmediate jurisdiction over the headquarters of ourconcession, gave me a high standing and I proceededto conciliate the people, who had become disaffectedtoward the old management, and lay plans for thedevelopment of the property. The real boss of thepeople of Venezuela is the “Jefe Civile.” He hascomplete jurisdiction over the people of his district,which generally embraces a county, and is consultedon all matters of argument, whether domestic, political,or religious. His decision is usually final,although an appeal may be taken to the Court of First[392]Instance in which his district is situated. His authorityclosely resembles that of a French prefect, andadmits of an intimate knowledge of the private lifeof the people. Practically, there are no secrets inVenezuela. If two people stop in the street and talkfor a moment they are surrounded by an inquisitivecrowd. If a woman complains to the Jefe Civile ofher husband’s ill treatment, it is done with the windowsand doors open, in a room more or less filledwith idle spectators.

The Jefe Civile at Catalina assisted me in my effortto open up the country and active operations weresoon under way. The natives, who were living justas when Columbus discovered them, and wearing nomore clothes than could be noticed, were attracted bythe prosperity which it was presumed would followour development work, and little pueblos sprangup along the river on both sides of us. These people,working directly for the company or under a licenseon a royalty basis, were employed chiefly in cuttingtimber and collecting balata gum, which has manyof the qualities of rubber without its elasticity and iscaught by tapping the trees. The native labor wasnot very satisfactory at the best, as judged byAmerican standards, and we imported some negroesfrom Trinidad, who were little better.

[393]Our concession covered a territory larger than theState of Massachusetts, nearly all of which was terraincognita. It was out of the question to think oftrying to go all over it, but, to gain an intelligentidea as to the nature of the inland country and itsresources, I made one trip into the interior, towardthe disputed border of British Guiana, which was oureastern limit. But for the boundary dispute betweenVenezuela and England the Orinoco Company neverwould have secured its concession, for the shrewdGuzman granted it with the idea that the Americanswould colonize the territory and effectively resistthe British invasion, which he was powerless to do.In their progressive search for gold—the continuedpursuit of Raleigh’s will-o’-the-wisp—the Englishmenin Guiana were advancing farther and fartherinto Venezuela and carrying the boundary with them,or claiming that it was always just ahead of them,which, so far as Venezuela’s protests went, amountedto the same thing. It was, in fact, the sweet sirensong of gold that caused the establishment of thethree Guianas, so that the British, French, and Dutchmight prosecute the search under the most favorableconditions.

My expedition Guianaward was the hardest trip Ihave ever undertaken and yet one of the most interesting.[394]We had to make our own trail and thoughI had a dozen men with me it was a tremendous taskto cut our way through the thick underbrush, neverbefore disturbed, which often barred our progress.We could carry few supplies, but it was easy to liveoff the country, for there was enough game to feedan army. Not knowing what to make of us, thejaguar, puma, tapir, and ocelot came so close that theywere easily shot, while overhead were millions ofmonkeys, parrots, and macaws, to say nothing ofgreat snakes that would have made the fortune of amenagerie manager. At long intervals, living on thebanks of rivers, we encountered a few wild Indians,who were terrified until they found we were not taxcollectors sent out by the government to take theminto slavery on account of their inability to payextortionate taxes, which are levied for no other purposethan to compel them to work for years withoutpay. When they became convinced that we meantthem no harm they were very friendly and generouslyoffered us things to eat, which I was afraid to touch.They never had seen a white man before, and Iregretted that some of my friends were not hidden inthe bushes to witness the reverence they showed me.They were armed with bows and arrows, which theyused with wonderful accuracy, and crudely fashioned[395]spears, and wore nothing much but feathers in theirhair. They lived on fish and game, with yams andplantains, and sometimes corn, as side dishes, andnative fruits for dessert, and they were the healthiestlooking people I have ever seen. I pushed into thisveritable paradise for all of a hundred miles, whichcarried me close to the border, and discovered oneoutcropping of gold which will some day be developedinto a rich property. Our progress was so slowthat it was two months before we were back inCatalina.

After getting the development work well started Ileft it in charge of the superintendent and returnedto Caracas. I was not yet ready to bury myself onthe concession, for that, I thought, was what it wouldmean to become a fixture there, and, besides, I wascurious to know how things were going at the capital.I stopped at Trinidad on the way to attend to somebusiness for the company and enjoy a taste of realcivilization, so it was early in 1897 before I resumedmy old confidential position with President Crespo.The restoration was to be only temporary, he declared,for he insisted that a fortune awaited me inthe Orinoco delta and wished me to become establishedthere. His term expired the following Februaryand I found that he had already decided on[396]General Ignacio Andrade as his successor. He hadplanned to continue as Dictator of the country, à laGuzman, and spend much of his idle time, and money,abroad, and he wanted a man who could be relied onto keep his organization intact and turn the officeback to him at the end of his term, for the Venezuelanconstitution prohibits a President from succeedinghimself.

Donna Crespo, who besides being the greatestsmuggler in the country was a shrewd judge of men,had taken a pronounced dislike to Andrade and advisedstrongly against his selection. Without knowinghow truly she spoke she predicted that if Andradewere made President, Crespo would be dead withinsix months. I added my advice to the Donna’s, forI knew Andrade was a weak man and one who couldnot be trusted to hold the country with the tight reinwhich his agreement required. Powerful friends ofCrespo in Trinidad also urged him to select a strongerman, but he could not be moved. He credited Andradewith having saved his life, on the occasion whenI sent a galloping warning of the plot to murder him,and, as a monument to him and an evidence of hisfriendship, he planned that he should be made Presidentby the first “popular election” in the history ofVenezuela. The peons idolized Crespo because they[397]felt that he was more nearly one of their own class,as compared with aristocrats of the Guzman Blancotype. He was so well liked by the common peopleand had such a strong grip on the country that he wasable to carry out the idea which his loyal friendshipinspired, but with disastrous results in the end, tohimself, to Andrade, and to Venezuela.

On election day the soldiers at Guatira, Guarenas,and Petare, surrounding towns which I visited fromCaracas to get a close view of the unique proceeding,doffed their uniforms and donned blouses, with theirrevolvers strapped on underneath, marched to thepolls and voted as often as was required. Othertowns throughout the country witnessed the sameperformance. The peons also voted for Andrade,either because they knew Crespo wanted them to orbecause the soldiers so instructed them, and theykept at it until the designated number of votes hadbeen deposited. For a popular election it was theweirdest thing that could be imagined, yet it was soproclaimed. As though to disprove this boast it wasimmediately followed by mutterings of discontentfrom the better class of citizens, and on the night ofAndrade’s inauguration General Hernandez, thefamed “El Mocho,” who was Minister of Public Improvementsin Crespo’s Cabinet but an opponent[398]of the new President, took to the hills at the head ofthree thousand troops and raised the standard ofrevolt. Crespo really was responsible for the curseof Castro, for had he selected a strong man as his successorthe mountain brigand never could have commandeda force sufficiently powerful to overthrowhim.

Within a month Andrade went through the formof appointing Crespo Commander-in-Chief of theArmy, in order that he might clinch his dictatorship.For a while Crespo contented himself with enjoyinghis new title and directing operations from the capital,but the Hernandez revolution finally assumedsuch proportions that he took the field in person tostamp it out. The two armies met in the mountainsnear Victoria on June 12, 1898. Hernandez wasled into a trap, given a drubbing, and captured. Afterthe battle Crespo walked across the field and wasleaning over a wounded man when he was shot frombehind and instantly killed. It was claimed that theshot was fired from the bush by one of the escapedrebels, and it was so reported, but no one who was atall on the inside accepted this explanation. The bulletthat killed Crespo was of a peculiar pattern andexactly fitted the pistol of one of his own officers,who was not a Venezuelano. I doubt if there was[399]another weapon exactly like it in the whole country.The responsibility for the murder, for such it undoubtedlywas, could easily have been fixed, but thecowardly Andrade refused to order a real investigationand, of course, there was no prosecution.Crespo’s body was packed in a barrel of rum andbrought to Caracas for burial.

The capture of “El Mocho” checked the spirit ofrevolt, but not for long. Andrade had nothing tocommend him but his honesty, which quality was solittle understood in Venezuela that it counted fornothing, and he became more and more unpopular.He was surrounded by plotters, even within his officialfamily, and only their inability to agree on hissuccessor prevented his speedy overthrow. Somefew months after Crespo’s death, Castro, who hadmade himself Governor of the State of Los Andes,visited Caracas and called on Andrade with the demandthat he be appointed to an important positionin the new administration as the price of peace.Andrade, to his credit be it said, not only refused toappoint him to any office but flouted him, and Castroleft the Yellow House in a rage. He sought the councilsof Andrade’s enemies and, after many conferences,it was arranged that there should be a generalinsurrection early in the following Summer. The[400]question of filling the presidency was left open, withthe understanding that it should go to the leaderwho developed the greatest strength during the campaign.

Castro went back to his mountain home, to discoverthat his cattle had been seized and a warrantissued for his arrest, at the instance of Andrade’sfriends, for cattle stealing. He resorted to his oldtrick of dodging across the border, but a similar warrantwas secured from the Colombian Government,which had no more love for the Indian upstart thanhad the one at Caracas. In fact, Castro at one timeseriously had considered starting a revolt in Colombiain the hope of gaining the presidency. With officersof both countries searching for him he went into hidingand remained under cover until May 23, 1899,when he invaded Venezuela with a force of sixty peinilleros,so called from the fact that they were armedwith the peinilla, a sword shaped like a scimitar.They were of the lowest type of Indian, but braveand hard fighters. His old cattle-rustling neighborshailed him with joy, for until then they never haddreamed that any man from the mountains could becomea really important factor in Venezuelan affairs,and more than a thousand of them flocked to hisstandard.

[401]Supposing that the other parties to the revolutionaryagreement would carry out their part of theprogramme, and that he would join forces with themas he neared the capital, Castro set out on his marchtoward Caracas. Andrade had become so unpopularby this time that he encountered little opposition, andas he captured successive towns he opened the prisonsand the freed convicts fell in behind him. When hereached Valencia, less than one hundred miles fromCaracas, he had an undisciplined but effective forceof three thousand bloodthirsty brigands. GeneralFerrer was stationed there with six thousand well-equippedregulars, and though he was by no meansenthusiastic in his loyalty to Andrade he did his dutyas a soldier, according to the quaint standards of thecountry. He marched his men out and surroundedCastro, with the exception of a conspicuous holethrough which the latter could escape, and then wentinto camp for the night. This proceeding was in strictaccord with the ethics of that strange land. Exceptin extreme cases it is the unwritten law that when arebel leader is encountered by a superior governmentforce, the regulars must surround him with a greatshow, but be careful to leave a wide hole in their linethrough which he can run away during the night.Invariably he takes advantage of his opportunity and[402]it is officially announced that he “escaped.” Ofcourse, after a rebel chieftain has made several escapesof this kind and still continues in revolt he issurrounded in earnest, but harsh measures are notresorted to until he has had ample opportunity toescape or come into camp and be good.

Castro violated all the precedents of his plunderingprofession by failing to run through the hole thathad been left for him. When Ferrer saw him the nextmorning, in the middle of the ring calmly waiting forthe fight to begin, he was nonplussed. He could notunderstand that method of warfare and, concludingthat Castro must be a real hero and perhaps, as heeven then claimed to be, a genuine “man of destiny,”he solved the problem by joining forces with him,for which he was subsequently rewarded by beingmade Minister of War. Castro learned from Ferrerthat he was alone in the revolution, his promised partnershaving failed to take the field on account ofbickerings and jealousies among themselves. Thisdiscovery and the addition of Ferrer’s forces gave himhis first really serious notion that he might becomePresident, and he marched forward in a frenzy ofbombastic joy. He picked out a star as his own andceremoniously worshipped it. Clearly his star was inthe ascendant, figuratively at least, for at Victoria,[403]only thirty-five miles outside of the capital, he madeterms with General Mendoza, who was disgruntledwith Andrade, and picked up another army. Whenthe tottering President heard of this final evidence ofdisloyalty he boarded a gunboat at La Guaira, takingwith him a well-filled treasure chest, and went toTrinidad. The alleged warship leaked badly andAndrade, who had a sense of humor, sent word backto Castro by her commander to have her repaired atonce so that she might be in better shape for a hurrieddeparture when it should come his turn to bedeposed.

By this time the people of Venezuela, ripe for achange of administration and believing that no onecould be worse than Andrade, had begun to find out,as had Castro himself, what a powerful person hereally was, and they accepted him as their master.He entered Caracas without opposition on October21, 1900, and, rejecting the modest title of ProvisionalPresident, which his predecessors had used,proclaimed himself “Jefe Supremo” or “SupremeMilitary Leader.” He filled all important posts withmen from the mountains, on whose loyalty he couldrely, and as they were able to secure plenty of graft,not one penny of which was overlooked, he very soonhad a tight hold on the country. One of his first acts[404]was to release Gen. Hernandez. He soon found thatthe old warrior was too patriotic and too dangerousto be at large, so he slapped him back into San Carlos,on the pretence that he was planning an insurrection,and kept him there for years. On March 30, 1901,Castro was elected by Congress to fill out the unexpiredpart of Andrade’s term and in the followingFebruary he was elected Constitutional President.Then began in earnest his reign of robbery, throughthe establishment of monopolies whose profits wentto his private purse, and his vicious anti-foreignpolicy which, through the murders and injustices thatwere committed in its name, made the Boxer uprisingin China look like a soft-spoken protest.

I was not in Caracas to witness the advent ofCastro, as I had returned to Catalina more than twoyears before, immediately after Crespo’s funeral.During my stay at the capital I had come into possessionof a block of stock in the Orinoco Companywhich made it better worth my while to stay with it,and I had become infected with the idea that if wewere let alone the concession could be developed intoa very valuable property. It was soon apparent, however,that we were not to remain undisturbed. Solong as Crespo was alive I was all-powerful at Catalina,but with his death my influence began to wane[405]and the rights of the company to be trespassed upon.The natives could not see how our concession, anintegral part of Venezuela, could ever be anythingbut their own property; they could not, or would not,understand that the government had given away territoryfrom which they could be debarred. It wasonly the influence of the Jefe Civile that had keptthem in bounds before and with the death of myfriend Crespo, that official suddenly became at leastlukewarm in his loyalty to the law and to me. It naturallyfollowed that the natives overran the concessionand did more and more as they pleased. Theyrefused to pay royalty on the balata gum, whichthey carried off in enormous quantities, and stoleeverything except the headquarters building and theiron ore, which was too heavy and not worth while.The Jefe Civile himself violated the terms of ourconcession and extortions of all sorts were winkedat or openly approved. As Andrade’s unpopularityincreased my troubles grew, for the natives took sidesand began to spy on each other, with the result thatfalse and malicious reports were sent to Caracas asto the company’s attitude.

When the threatened revolution became a fact andCastro took the field, Andrade assumed a much morefriendly air, but it was too late to be of any value.[406]He sent General Marina up the Orinoco to try toarouse enthusiasm for his cause in the east, whichsection furnishes the only soldiers that can cope withthe hardy mountaineers of the west. Marina cameto Catalina and asked me to do my best to hold mydistrict in line for Andrade, and gave me his wordthat if I did so the President would grant me anythingI asked for as soon as the revolt was suppressed.At just about the moment this request was madeAndrade was fleeing from La Guaira and Castro wasassuming full control at Caracas.

Almost the first thing he did was to annul our concession,on the ground that its terms had not beencomplied with, along with a dozen others, as the beginningof his war on all foreigners. I denied hisright to cancel our grant, especially as it containeda clause which stipulated that any disagreement betweenthe government and the concessionaire shouldbe referred to the Alta Carte Federale, or SupremeCourt, for adjustment. As the case had not beenbrought before that court I held there could be nolegal annulment, even if that power did rest in theexecutive, which I denied. This contention was subsequentlyupheld by the International Court of Arbitration,following the blockade and bombardment of[407]the allied powers, which decided that our concessionwas still in full force.

When Castro saw that we did not propose to submitto his arbitrary annulment he undertook to driveme out of the country. He realized that so long as Iremained on the concession we could claim to be infull possession of it, and he proceeded to harass mein every conceivable way in the hope of making it toohot for me. Under our contract we were to nominateand pay all of the officers within our territory andthe government was to appoint them. My old chiefof police, Abreu, was arrested and taken away onsome false charge, and a new man, Tinoco, in whoseselection I had no voice, was sent to take his place.He was, I learned, a spy and had orders to send inreports which would make it appear that the companywas stirring up revolts and otherwise violatingthe terms of its concession. This I discovered in timeto induce Tinoco, with the aid of a pistol, to sign astatement in which he denied all of his dishonest reportsand gave the company a clean bill of health.He died soon afterward.

Castro created a military district known as theTerritorio Delta-Amacuro, which took in all of ourproperty, and made Catalina the capital, so that theGovernor and the other officials could keep me under[408]their eyes. They all had instructions to make theplace so uncomfortable for me that I would leave.Fortunately, when it received its concession the companyhad bought the land on which its buildings wereerected. Only the fact that I was an American citizenand held the deeds to the property restrained themfrom expelling me by main force. However, I couldsee trouble coming, so I dug rifle pits under theporches on the two sides of the house from which wecould be attacked. I had plenty of arms and ammunitionand about twenty men of whose bravery andloyalty I was sure.

I was prohibited from buying anything at thepulperia, or commissary, and we were hard put toit at times for enough to eat. We caught fish in theriver and my men stole out into the woods to huntat every favorable opportunity, but the moment theyleft our property they exposed themselves to arreston some trumped-up charge. Sometimes we wereable to surreptitiously buy supplies from the natives,and we managed to get along. I filed protests atCaracas, with the Governor and with my company,but they accomplished nothing. I was told by theofficials of the company that they were doing the bestthey could, with representations to the State Departmentat Washington, and that I would have to do[409]the best I could, and I did it. The troops were continuallyspying on us and annoying us with fictitiouscharges, but it was a year or more before the government,angered by its failure to get rid of me, resortedto extreme measures. A new Governor was sentdown with strict orders to remove me, by force ifnecessary. He advanced toward the house with aboutseventy-five soldiers. I ordered my men into the riflepits and met the General at the gate.

“What do you want?” I demanded fiercely.

“I beg your pardon,” replied the commander, withall the treacherous suavity of his race, “but I haveorders to take you under my care and escort you toTrinidad in order that no injury may come to you.Our country is troubled and the government isanxious as to your safety.”

“My compliments to President Castro,” I told him,“and assure him that I feel perfectly secure here, andquite comfortable. You can also tell him that I proposeto stay here.”

“That is much to be regretted,” responded the stilloverly polite general, “for in that case I have to informyou that my orders are to arrest you and takeyou to Trinidad.”

“In that case,” I said, imitatively, “I have to inform[410]you that you will find it impossible to carry outyour orders, and I advise you not to attempt it.”

“You mean that you will resist arrest?” he exclaimedin surprise.

“Most assuredly,” I replied. “This is my property.You have no right to invade it, for I haveviolated no law of Venezuela. If you enter on it Iwill fire on you.”

“But,” he almost shouted, as he waved his armsexcitedly toward his enervated patriots, “my men arehere to enforce my orders. You would be insane toresist. You do not know the Venezuelan Army, sir.”

“You are mistaken,” I told him. “I do know theVenezuelan Army. It is you who is ignorant. Youdo not know my army. It is because I know boththat I have no fear. You have not a shadow of rightfor seeking to arrest me and your blood will be onyour own head if you advance.”

With this declaration which, in keeping with thecomic opera custom of the country, was deliveredwith all of the dramatic effect I could throw into it,in order that it might carry greater weight, I retiredto the house.

The General could see my rifle pits, but he did notknow how many men they held nor how well thosem*n could shoot. After a short consultation with his[411]staff he gave the order to advance, while he bravelydirected operations from the rear. As his men crossedthe line we fired, and eight of them fell. They continuedto advance and we fired again, dropping ninemore of them, while several others were hit. Thatwas too much for them and they broke and ran, leavingseven dead and ten badly wounded. They didnot fire a shot, perhaps because our men were so wellconcealed that Venezuelan marksmanship would haveaccomplished nothing against them. The Generaland his staff returned in an hour and asked permissionto remove the fallen warriors. After buryingtheir dead they returned to their steamer and wenton up the river. In three or four days they cameback, with their force slightly increased, and the Generalagain called on me to surrender, under penaltyof being arrested as a disturbing factor. I gave himthe same reply as before and after thinking it overfor a while he marched his troops away again.

That little encounter produced pronounced respectfor the Americans among Castro’s soldiers and theydid not give us much trouble afterward, though theycontinued to annoy us for a time. With the establishmentof the blockade of Venezuelan ports by theallies—England, Germany, and Italy—in the latterpart of 1902, and the signing of the peace protocols[412]at Washington early in the following year, therecame a cessation of hostilities against us. So far asdriving us off the concession was concerned, Castroseemed to have given up the fight, but on account ofthe disturbed condition of the country and the factthat the government was known to be inimical to us,it was impossible to do anything of consequencetoward the development of the property. This enforcedidleness eventually became intolerable andearly in 1906, the company in the meantime havingsent one of its officers to Caracas to protect its interests,I returned to New York, after having heldthe fort for ten years. I came back much poorer inpocket, but with a fund of information regardingVenezuela and its people.

I have been in every country in South America andhave studied all of them and there is no possibilityof doubt that Venezuela is beyond comparison therichest in its natural resources. With the setting upof a firm and civilized government, which must comein the end, under an American protectorate if by noother means, all of the fairy stories that were toldof it centuries ago will come true, and its developmentwill eclipse all of the dreams that have beenrealized in our own country. It is a strange fact thatCumana in Venezuela (their respective names then[413]being New Toledo and New Grenada), which was thefirst European settlement in South America of whichthere is authentic record, was founded one hundredyears, less one, before the Pilgrims landed at PlymouthRock. In each case there was a fervent prayerfor divine aid in establishing a Christian colony andbuilding up a great country. Why one prayer wasanswered and the other was not is a matter I will notattempt to explain.

Like her West Indian neighbors, of which beautifulisles Americans now know so little, but of which theywill know much more when their flag flies over all ofthem, as it must within the life of the present generation,Venezuela has been treated most bountifullyby nature and most brutally by man. Cursed theyall may have been by the seas of innocent blood inwhich they were barbarously bathed during their extendedinfancy and their prolonged childhood, fromwhich they have not yet emerged. It seems that allthe powers of darkness have conspired to retard theirgrowth and hold them slaves to savagery. Accustomedfrom the days of the Spanish conquistadores,and the pirates who followed them, to being plunderedand persecuted in every way that the mercenarymind of man could devise, the Venezuelanoshave grown so hardened to turmoil and torture that it[414]has become second nature to them to live in an atmospherewhich generates riot and robbery. Their bloodis an unholy mixture of Indian, Carib, and Spanish,with other and more recent strains of all sorts. Theyare the most inconsequential, emotional, ungrateful,and treacherous people on the face of the earth—andyet I love them. The ambition of their leaders runsonly to graft, while the underlings yearn for war asa child cries for a plaything. At the behest of someself-constituted chieftain, who has strutted in frontof a mirror until he imagines himself a second SimonBolivar, they rise in rebellion, because it gives thema chance to prey on the country, and, if their revoltis successful, to continue and extend their preying.But some day a real man will rise up among them andlead them out of their blackness and butchery intopeace and prosperity, and Venezuela, with her wildwastes of wealth, will become great beyond theimaginings of her discoverers.

This is not the full story of my life but it tells ofsome of the incidents which I have enjoyed the most.My best fight was with old Moy Sen, the pirate king,in the China Sea, and my closest call was when I wassentenced to be shot at sunrise in Santo Domingo.These events supplied the most delightful feasts ofthe excitement which my nature has ever craved, yet[415]I have lived well, in that respect, all along. I haveno disappointments and no regrets, except that thisexistence is too short. If I had my life to live overagain it would be lived in the same way, though, Iwould hope, with a still greater share of excitement,because it was for just such a life that I was created.What the purpose of it was I neither know nor care,nor am I in the least concerned as to what my destinynext holds in store for me. I hope, however, that insome land with opportunity for wide activity, I willbe reincarnated as a filibuster and a buccaneer, andthat I will so continue until my identity is merged intoa composite mass of kindred souls.



Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

Inconsistencies in hyphenation have been standardized.

Archaic or variant spelling has been retained.

New original cover art included with this eBook is granted to the public domain.


The war maker | Project Gutenberg (2024)


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