Shortly thereafter, Miss Polly Brewster appeared upon the balcony of the American Legation, and performed an illegal act. Upon a day not designated as a Caracunan national holiday, she raised the flag of an alien nation and fixed it, and the gilded youth of Caracuna in the street below cheered, not the flag, which would have been unpatriotic, but the flag-raiser, which was but gallant, until they were hoarse and parched of throat.
After the battle, Miss Brewster reviewed her troops, and took stock of casualties, in the patio. None of the allied forces had come off scatheless. Galpy, whose injuries had at first seemed the most severe, responded to a stiff dose of brandy. A cut across the scientist’s head had been hastily bandaged in a towel, giving him, as he observed, the appearance of a dissipated Hindu. To Von Plaanden’s indignant disgust, his military splendor was seriously impaired by a huge “hickey” over his left eye, the memento of a well-aimed rock. Cluff had broken a finger and sprained his wrist. Mr. Brewster was anxious to know if any one had seen two teeth of his on the pavement or whether he was to look for later digestive indications of their whereabouts. Both of the young cricketers had been battered and bruised, though it was nothing, they gleefully averred, to what they had meted out. And Carroll had a nasty-looking knife-thrust in his shoulder.
All of them were disheveled, dilapidated, and grimy to the last degree, except the Hochwaldian, who still sat his horse, which he had ridden into the patio. But Miss Polly said to herself, with a thrill of pride, that no woman need wish a more gallant and devoted band of defenders. Leaning over them from the inner railing of the balcony, she surveyed them with sparkling eyes.
“It was magnificent!” she cried. “Oh, I’m so proud of you all! I could hug you, every one!”
“Better come down from there, Polly,” said her father anxiously. “Some of those ruffians might come back.”
“Not to-day,” said Sherwen grimly. “They’ve had enough.”
“That is correct,” confirmed Von Plaanden. “Nevertheless, there may be disorder later. Would it not be better that you go to the British Legation, Fraulein?”
“Not I!” she returned. “I stay by my colors. And now I’m going to disband my army.”
Stretching out her hand to a vase near her, she drew out a rose of deepest red and held it above Von Plaanden.
“The color of my country,” said Von Plaanden gravely. “May I take it for a sign that I am forgiven?”
“Fully, freely, and gladly,” said the girl. “You have put a debt upon us all that I—that we can never repay.”
“It is I who pay. You will not think of me too hardly, for my one breach?”
“I shall think of you as a hero,” said the girl impetuously. “And I shall never forget. Catch, O knight.”