“I’m going right to the Insurrectos with you.”
“With me!” O’Reilly could not conceal his lack of enthusiasm. “I don’t know that the Junta will take me.”
“They will if I ask them.”
Alvarado inquired, “What ever put such a ridiculous idea into your head?”
The girl laughed. “It’s the only kind of ideas I have. But there are ten thousand reasons why I want to go. In the first place, I fairly itch to give pills. You say the rebels have no hospitals, no nurses—”
“We do the best we can, with our equipment.”
“Well, I’ll supply better equipment, and I’ll handle it myself. I’m in earnest. You sha’n’t stop me.”
O’Reilly was uncomfortably aware of the speaker’s determination; protests had no effect upon her; her clear cheeks had flushed, her eyes were dancing. Evidently here was a girl who did very much as she chose.
“You don’t realize what you are saying,” he told her, gravely. “You’d have to go as a filibuster, on some decrepit, unseaworthy freighter loaded to the guards and crowded with men of all sorts. It’s dangerous business, running the Spanish blockade. If captured you would be treated just like the rest of us.”
“Lovely! We’d land in small boats some dark night. Maybe we’d have a fight!”
“And if you got through, what then? Life in a bark hut, with nothing to eat. Bugs! Snakes! Hardships!”
“That decides me. I eat too much—Doctor Alvarado tells me I do. I adore huts, and I don’t seriously object to insects.”
The physician stirred uneasily. “It’s utterly absurd,” he expostulated. “Some women might do it, but you’re not the sort. You are—pardon me—a most attractive young person. You’d be thrown among rough men.”
“Mr. O’Reilly will look out for me. But for that matter I can take care of myself. Oh, it’s of no use trying to discourage me. I always have my own way; I’m completely spoiled.”
“Your family will never consent,” O’Reilly ventured; whereupon Miss Evans laughed.
“I haven’t such a thing. I’m alone and unencumbered. No girl was ever so fortunate. But wait—I’ll settle this whole thing in a minute.” She quitted the table, ran to Alvarado’s telephone, and called a number.
“She’s after Enriquez,” groaned the physician. “He’s weak; he can’t refuse her anything.”
“I don’t want a woman on my hands,” O’Reilly whispered, fiercely. “Suppose she got sick? Good Lord! I’d have to nurse her.” He wiped a sudden moisture from his brow.
“Oh, she won’t get sick. She’ll probably nurse you—and—and all the other men. You’ll like it, too, and you will all fall in love with her—everybody does—and start fighting among yourselves. There! She has Enriquez. Listen.”