“And Funston’s brigade of regulars is on the way, too!” Danny Grin added, sorrowfully. “Won’t there be some mad soldier-boys?”
Ensign Dave Darrin stood with bowed head for a few moments. To him it seemed hard indeed, if the Mexicans, after almost countless outrages against American citizens, even to the extent of assassination—–and worse—–were to escape their richly deserved punishment through a few tricks of diplomacy.
Then the spirit of the service, so strong in him, came to the surface. To others belonged the right of command, his only the privilege to obey.
He raised his head, smiling. Then his own matter of report leaped back into his mind. Bringing his heels together, straightening up, he saluted:
“Sir, I have the honor to report that, while on the air flight, I noted the location of a solitary adobe house about four miles out. From that house came two men whom I distinctly recognized through my field glass to be Lieutenant Cantor and the bandit, Cosetta. Lieutenant Cantor, after one or two upward looks, bowed his head and kept his eyes to the ground, but I am positive, sir, of my identification of both men.”
“And Cosetta’s bandits?” inquired Trent. “Did you see any signs of them?”
“No, sir, but the adobe house is large enough to hide them all.”
“Any trenches near the house?”
“I am afraid it would do little good to approach the house in broad daylight,” Lieutenant Trent reflected, excitedly, “but it should make an excellent enterprise late in the night. I will report this matter to Commander Dillingham, in command of the advanced line. With his permission, we’ll try to-night for the capture of that much needed pair of rascals.”
“Our signalman is being called from the advanced line, sir,” reported a saluting sailorman.
Wheeling, Trent ordered his own signalman to wig-wag, “Go ahead.” Then the lieutenant stood reading the message.
“You will fall back upon the advanced line,” the signal read.
“Send ‘O.K.,’” called the lieutenant.
“Sir,” cried a sentry, “There’s a party coming in. You can just make ’em out, sir.”
Stepping forward, Trent brought up his fieldglasses, while Dave informed him:
“That was the second matter upon which I intended to report to you, sir. I observed those people from the airship. I believe them to be refugees.”
Immediately Lieutenant Trent signaled the advanced line, reporting the party seen out on the plain.
“Then wait and escort them in,” came Commander Dillingham’s order.
“O.K., sir,” the detachment’s signalman wigwagged back.
In three-quarters of an hour more the painfully moving party reached the detachment. They were truly refugees, released from Mexico City and nearby points.
The sight of these suffering people, some hundred and twenty in number, and mainly Americans, was enough to cause many of the sailormen to shed unaccustomed tears, and not to be ashamed of them, either!