By Ralph D. Paine
Illustrations by Hawthorne Howland
THEY were seven men of the marine corps, blown to sea in an open boat while crossing a bay of the green coast of Haiti to relieve an outpost that guarded the American line against a rebel surprise. The tail of a hurricane had whisked them away in a smother of foam, and they managed to survive because the lee of the island checked the swing of the breaking swell. The yawl was almost submerged, but the derelict marines, unterrified, clung to the thwarts and baled with their hats while the dusk came, sad and misty, and the quick fury of the wind diminished. With a flicker of hope the betting odds shifted, and Corporal Dennis O'Kane, in charge as an acting sergeant, offered a month's pay at one to three that they would fetch up somewhere in the morning.
Benumbed with fatigue, intolerably thirsty, and almost hungry enough to eat their leather belts, they sprawled against each other while the boat drifted to the westward, and the ocean, its turbulence gone by midnight, heaved quietly beneath a sky ablaze with stars. After ever so long a time, the low bank of cloud revealed by dawn became, in reality, a range of Haitien mountains many miles distant. In turn, the seven marines slogged at the oars, and the battered yawl crept painfully toward the coast. These were no soft-fibred recruits, but strong men hardened by active service and splendidly youthful. They had learned to do and to endure.
" 'Tis grand scenery yonder," said Dennis O'Kane, wiping his face with his sleeve; "but if they'd move the mountains a bit nearer it would be more convenient for us. Do they look at all familiar to you, Jonesy?"
The other corporal, thus addressed, was gazing landward with haggard eyes as he morosely answered:
"I don't know where we are, but if it's back to Haiti again, I wish we had blown to hell-and-gone."
This amused a sprightly, boyish private whose love of adventure nothing could dim. His voice quivered with weakness, but he smiled as he said:
"This outfit has cut loose from its base and we're an independent command. We may pull off some kind of a stunt. You can't tell."
Before noon a light breeze tempered the sun, and khaki blouses spread on the oar-blades served as sails to give the boat a little more than steerageway. A narrow pocket of a harbor disclosed itself, and a glimpse of a white beach with a village beyond. While in the offing, the seven marines, who were prudent as well as brave, carefully cleaned their rifles and held a council of war. It was their paternal duty to uphold the administration of President Tudre Dartiguenave and to chastise all such as interfered with it. Here and there, where the embers of insurrection still smouldered in the barbarous republic, the American force was regarded as an hostile invasion.
The yawl was halted at the entrance of the unknown harbor, and the castaways scanned the huddled settlement of shabby dwellings and unkempt streets which marred the lovely setting of valley, hill, and waterfall. Above the ruins of an ancient fort floated a flag which the keen vision of Dennis O'Kane presently made out to be the colors of the authorized government.
"I would shoot up a whole army that stood betwixt me and a drink of water, but we won't have to, boys!" he cheerfully exclaimed. "The metropolis is in the hands of our friends."
With a final flurry of effort the oars splashed, and they steered for a rickety wharf, but the boat slid upon an unseen reef, and they abandoned her forthwith, floundering weakly to the beach, where they dropped like dead men, and swore because there was no more strength in their legs. The black populace, having nothing else to do, surrounded them with voluble sympathy, and no interpreter was required to send the women scurrying to the market for fried fish, flour cakes, jugs of water and native rum. Hailed as heroes, the seven marines magically revived and displayed some interest in their whereabouts.
To them appeared in perspiring haste a man, fat and yellow, also barefooted, who was upholstered with tarnished epaulets and braid and who tripped over a rusty sword. Waving a plumed cocked hat, he bellowed greetings in what he assumed to be the English tongue. It was comprehended that he was the governor of the arrondissement and city of Soulouque, also a general of the army. His palace, himself, his fortune were at the disposal of the peerless soldiers of the superb Uncle Sam. A salute would be fired as soon as the artillery, an old brass cannon, could be dragged out of the ditch into which she had kicked herself a few months previously. To the earnest questions of Corporal O'Kane he replied that they were sixty miles from their own camp and battalion. By land there was only a jungle trail, now impassable because of freshets and landslides. Once a month the mail-boat called, but otherwise the city was isolated. Possibly a fishing-sloop—but Dennis O'Kane here signified that slumber was more desirable.
The "palace" was of wood, two stories, and therefore pretentious, with a roof of corrugated iron. In beds and hammocks lay the oblivious marines until another day was well advanced, while slipshod sentries, under immense straw hats, enforced silence in the streets near by. When Dennis sauntered from breakfast to investigate the landscape, his mood was light-hearted and curious. Pigs and pickaninnies swarmed in filthy gutters, and the smells were those of a Haitien town, amazing, unforgettable. The leisurely black folk loitered in laughing groups with incessant chatter. The prize of contentment was theirs, and the corporal surveyed them rather with tolerance than disgust.
Soon he saw approaching a man so unlike the natives that he might have been an alien, although his skin was of a mulatto shade. He was elderly, but with the straight, trim figure of youth, head erect, shoulders squared, and the gait of one who walked instead of shuffled. He wore khaki, which fitted him like a uniform, and his aspect suggested disciplined efficiency. Interested at the first glance, Dennis O'Kane could not mistake him for one of the burlesque officers of the Haitien army. He was too much of a man, and he wore no military trappings.
The stranger crossed the street, doffing his hat as he exclaimed:
"Yo' misfortune is mah enjoyment, suh. I jes' come back this mornin', or I'd been on hand to make you-all comfortable when you landed yestiddy."
" 'Tis the sound of God's country and old Virginia," cried the corporal as they shook hands. He scrutinized the kindly yet resolute features and the grizzled head as he added: "Don't tell me you came back with a chance to get away—a bird as old and wise as you are?"
"Haiti has been mah residence fo' goin' on twelve years, Mistah O'Kane, but I is due to pull up stakes. Yes, suh, this is th' farewell appearance of Cassius Shoemaker Logan in th' land of the black an' th' free."
Curious to know more, O'Kane invited him to a seat on the governor's piazza, where he was informed, with an air of pride:
"I was suttinly in a hurry to set eyes on you an' yo' men. It made mah heart go a-bumpin' an' a-thumpin'. We is kin in th' service, tho' they mustered me out a long spell ago. I done five enlistments in the ol' Tenth Cavalry, U. S. A., an' was top sergeant of B troop when I quit. Hum-m! Santiago an' the Philippines—hard days an' plenty of 'em—a bullet in th' shoulder an' a bolo in th' ribs. The marines was gittin' theirs, same as us, but, goodness, man, you was in yo' cradle."
"The Tenth Cavalry—an honor to the army and a credit to your own people," cried Dennis O'Kane as ceremoniously as though offering a toast. "The pleasure is mine, Sergeant Logan! And may I ask what breeze it was that wafted you to this sunny but benighted clime where every prospect pleases and only man is in the discard?"
The veteran trooper rubbed his wool, and the chuckle was rich and deep as he answered:
"A yaller gal. She come from Port-au-Prince to Savannah as a charity child, an' cooked an' washed for white ladies when she growed up. After I done married her she was forever ding-dongin' in mah ears how th' United States wa'n't no fit place fo' self-respectin' colored folks. They was looked down at an' Jim-Crowed an' teetotally put on the wrong side of th' fence. Haiti was the paradise for we-all, where a nigger stepped high an' hadn't no inferiors. Bimeby I says mebbe so. I had saved mah pay in th' army, an' I sort o' liked the notion of bein' able to mix mahself with major-ginerals an' dukes an' aristocrats."
"And have you enjoyed transplanting yourself?" politely inquired the marine.
Sergeant Cassius Logan gazed absently at the mountains behind the town, and the lines of his face deepened, but his sense of humor was uppermost as he imparted:
"Nothin' to it, suh. Nothin' a-tall. Mah wife she stayed with me 'til a year ago, an' then she run off with the minister of foreign affairs. Yes, suh. She flew high. I had done pretty well with a grocery store an' a patch of ground in th' valley back yonder. Las' week I sold out to a man in Port-au-Prince—two thousan' dollars gold."
" 'Tis your intention to beat it with the loot?" said Dennis.
"Jes' watch me. I done arranged fo' a gasoline-boat to carry me away to-morrow so I kin hop th' next steamer to New York. Why can't I leave you an' yo' men where you want to go to?"
This was an offer of salvation so unexpected that Dennis hastened to shout the tidings. His comrades drew no color-line in the case of Sergeant Logan. It was enough that he had served his country long and well. He was a veteran of the old army, before the Spanish War, whose traditions are still dear to the heart of the regular. Their host, the affable governor, found himself neglected while the seven marines fraternized with the fighting man from their own land.
They were at a table in a café when the discordant blare of bugles and the furious roll of drums spread a sudden alarm. Squads of Haitien soldiers trotted past, while others scampered singly in the direction of some rallying-place. It was no routine manœuvre. Panic was in the air. The street crowds eddied to and fro, aimless, tremendously excited. Sergeant Logan halted an officer of sorts, who was digging spurs into a bony steed, and extorted an incoherent explanation.
An army of rebels under the terrible General LeComte had crossed the barrier of the mountains and was marching to assault the city of Soulouque, which had been unmolested until now. The governor was taken by surprise. He had no more than two hundred soldiers, who would be instantly overwhelmed. To surrender meant destruction and slaughter, for this beast of a LeComte showed no mercy. To this tremulous outburst the marines listened gravely, understanding scarcely a word of the bastard lingo, but surmising that big trouble was in the wind. Reconvening at the table, they received the report of Cassius Shoemaker Logan, and already there seemed to be among them some kind of tacit agreement. As spokesman, Dennis O'Kane declaimed, with a frown and a twinkle:
"That gasoline-boat looks like the one best bet for us, but——"
This last word was weighty, singularly eloquent, and the other marines nodded approval. Dennis looked at them, one by one, and found in their faces what he wished to read. The colored trooper leaned forward, his back as flat as a board, and no one longer thought of him as elderly. He sighed, but not for sadness, and his eyes conveyed a feeling of intimate affection.
"But the duty of the battalion of United States marines now on expeditionary service in Haiti," sonorously resumed Dennis, as if he were quoting from general orders—"their duty is to prevent the blackguards of rebels from enterin' the towns and cities held and occupied by the government of this president with the divil of a name to pronounce. 'Tis only a corporal I am, acting as sergeant for this detail by favor of Captain 'Buck' McGrath, but, communication with headquarters being interrupted, I'm a commandin' officer on my own hook. What about it, boys? Will I put it to a vote?"
"Carried unanimously," declared Corporal Jones, pounding the table with a clinched fist. "No discretion is allowed us, Dennis. We've got to try to keep this rebel guy from jumpin' the town."
The boyish private appeared rather amazed. He had yearned for adventure, and too much of it was imminent, but he sturdily rapped out:
"What would the rest of D Company say to us if we skedaddled from a bunch of these dog-robbers, no matter how fast they came?"
" 'Tis more what we think of ourselves," slowly replied Dennis. "I mistrust that D Company is liable to hear mighty little from us when the smoke clears, if we sit in on this proposition."
"Seven white men," growled the rugged Jones—"excuse me, Sergeant Logan, we hereby make it eight—all there is of us in this slum of iniquity to show these coons the real stuff. You bet we stand pat."
The cavalry veteran accepted the apology, with a suave gesture of salute while the others awaited his verdict during tense moments of silence. There was no logical reason why he should join their forlorn cause, but they were sublimely illogical. Sentiment was their ruling motive. The call of the service constrained them, and it seemed to them that this old sergeant of the Tenth Cavalry must also hear the summons. They were soldiers all. Cassius Logan deliberated, and the glow faded from his eyes. There was a note of appeal in his voice as he said:
"Don't jedge me too harsh, gen'lemen, if my mind ain't made up right now. You don't ask me in so many words, but I reckon I understands what's in yo' thoughts. I was aimin' to pull mah freight to-morrow, same as I told you-all, an' it seems like I was deservin' of a little peace an' comfort in mah old age."
"Right you are, sergeant," heartily concurred Dennis O'Kane, hiding his vague disappointment. "We lads are elected, and 'tis none of your funeral whatever. It's you for the open sea, and good luck go with you."
"I ain't said good-by yit," was the gently stubborn response. "You sort o' got the jump on me, an' a man as old as I is don't go surgin' into trouble, blim, blam, like he used to."
The trooper rose to his feet and bowed a courtly adieu. His demeanor was disturbed, expressing the desire that the reckless young marines suspend judgment. They watched him swing into the turbulent street, and the boyish private remarked, with a shrug:
"Who said he was white? Nigger through and through! What else did you expect?"
"None of that cheap stuff," thundered O'Kane. "The man has been a better soldier than you could live to be in seven hundred years. 'Tis his own business and none of yours. We were foolish to dream of his mixin' in a job which was wished onto us."
Dismissing the topic, they put their heads together, and every man spoke his mind with ready deference to the opinions of Dennis O'Kane. They would first make a reconnaissance of the town and suburbs and study the strategic positions and possible defenses. A vainglorious arithmetic buoyed their courage, for one marine was presumed to stand off a score of Haitien ragamuffins, and therefore one hundred and fifty of the enemy were already accounted for. It was discovered that the invaders would probably debouch from a valley whose rocky walls were too steep to scale. If surprised and driven back they must make a long and difficult détour in order to advance along the beach.
"There have been worse places for a frolic and many a better one," was the careless comment of Dennis. "Now, let us interview the smoked ham of a governor and see if he has mobilized the forces."
At the palace there was picturesque riot and confusion. Soldiers were straggling in from the banana clearings and flourishing machetes. One could not have swung a cat by the tail without hitting at least three generals and colonels, wonderfully agitated. As commander-in-chief, the governor bawled conflicting orders which exploded without effect. Into this bedlam strolled the seven marines, jocular, unruffled, asking no odds of destiny. They regarded the situation as theirs to control. The corpulent governor subsided when Dennis O'Kane slapped him on the back and smoothly exclaimed:
"At your service, my dear man; and will you kindly inform the army that I am to be chief of staff, likewise the main works, when the rumpus begins? Put them wise, if you please."
The governor beamed ineffable gratitude, for his martial spirit burned dim. He was like an immense tallow candle with a precious small wick. Yes, by the blood and bones of ten thousand saints, his soldiers would follow the seven Yankee marines to death and beyond. He, the governor, would proclaim it at once.
Dennis O'Kane inspected the Haitien heroes and concealed his doubts. They carried rifles and there was ammunition in abundance. Otherwise he had been given command of so many sable scarecrows who could neither drill nor shoot. Without delay they were herded toward the chosen fine of defense and set to digging trenches while Corporal Jones and a provost guard swept the town for civilians and shovels. It was early afternoon when the word came that the ferocious LeComte with a long column of men had crossed the last ridge which barred him from the valley and was moving rapidly to enter Soulouque by night.
"I wonder what has become of Sergeant Cassius Logan, of Santiago and the Philippines?" said Dennis O'Kane. "He that had the scars of battle on him and five enlistments in a regiment that has always stood the gaff. My hunch was wrong. I thought we would see him again."
"He might have stayed to help us handle these chocolate drops," grumbled Jones. "They would listen to him. They roll their eyes and make funny noises at me. A wise old-timer, that Logan, and maybe he was a counterfeit trooper at that, but he sure had the marks."
That the two hundred native soldiers should display obedience and fidelity in this crisis flattered the vanity of the bold marines. It was a tribute to the well-known quality of Anglo-Saxon leadership, to the example set by the dominant race. It became apparent, however, as the afternoon wore on, that they were losing enthusiasm for the task in hand. They dropped the shovels, and argued among themselves, paying no heed to the curses of Dennis and his comrades. The governor harangued them, but the result was unfortunate. His beloved infantry yelled derisively and bombarded him with ripe bananas. Mutiny was rampant.
"There's seven of us, but we cannot whip the rebels and subdue our own army at one and the same time," sighed Corporal O'Kane. " 'Tis entirely too much to expect. What touched 'em off, I wonder? Perhaps they have no taste for this trench warfare somewhere in Haiti. They are more used to scrimmagin' in the jungle."
It was futile to threaten. The marines were unhappy spectators while the negroes wrangled and, at length, came to some sort of common agreement. Grasping their rifles, they began to scramble from the trenches. Instead of returning to the town, they flitted along the paths which led into the lush valley, straight in the direction of the approaching enemy. For a few minutes their dingy linen breeches and straw hats flickered among the trees, and then the army of General Dennis O'Kane had vanished to a man. Meanwhile, the governor had retreated to the palace, as if the episode were too painful for him to contemplate.
It was also too much for the dauntless seven. They sat in a row upon a mound of freshly excavated sand and passed the canteen of rum and water, staring mournfully into space. Quite obviously the wretched two hundred had deserted to join the rebels.
Dennis O'Kane was never one to brood over misfortune. The shift of circumstances had dazed him, but it could not alter the decision. A burly private named Kenerson slid from the mound and methodically counted his cartridge-clips before he said, thinking aloud:
"Well, by God, this is a comical mess for me to be in—a sign-painter that enlisted because he was out of a job."
There was not much comment as they took position at regular intervals in a trench and watched the wide clearing in front of them while the shadows darkened the green valley. From the town came a curiously sustained sound of many voices pitched shrill with fear as the population streamed in flight toward the coastwise trails. The performance was to lack even an audience. The rebels had no need of caution now that the city had been betrayed by its own troops. The final advance was to be no more than a promenade. The seven marines were an inconsequential detail. Doubtless, they had already fled by sea.
With the dogged patience which discipline imparts, Corporal O'Kane and his men waited until twilight purpled the heights. Then, from the obscurity of the tangled growth, the black brigands of the infamous LeComte came sifting through in careless disorder, racing to find the women and the w4ne-shops of Soulouque. They descried the long mound of sand which stretched like a yellow snake across their path, and the headlong sprint was checked. While they wavered in dumb uncertainty, the seven rifles raked them with bullets which were not sent at random. The dead lay sprawled where they fell, and the others, taking cover, wildly returned the fire. It was the last stand of a few trained men against a mob.
When a gorgeous moon flooded the dusk with silver, the rebel fusillades still echoed from the lofty walls of the valley. Six rifles answered them. Private Kenerson, the sign-painter out of a job, had finished his enlistment, and a hole in the forehead was his certificate of honorable discharge. Pausing to reload. Corporal O'Kane exclaimed, with a weary smile:
"To think of our holding them off like this! 'Tis snappy work, boys, and marksmanship that 'Buck' McGrath himself could not grumble at. Will they try to rush us, Jonesy?"
"I guess so—as soon as we go shy of ammunition. Suicide don't seem to appeal to 'em just at present."
"I've noticed a decent regard for their own skins amongst these heathen," said Dennis, "but they expect to get us. You will see them divide before long and flank us by way of the beach. 'Tis a long, stiff climb for them, and the finish will be due about daylight."
The prediction was shrewdly reasoned. A little later the attack dwindled to an occasional pot-shot, and camp-fires twinkled in the dense leafage. The marines rolled cigarettes and bandaged a grazed scalp, a flesh wound in the neck, a smashed finger. The line of retreat to the harbor and possibly a small boat of some kind was still open, but no one mentioned it. For men who were to be wiped out at dawn, their behavior was matter-of-fact.
Through the interminable night they stood guard or slept by snatches. When the eastern sky brightened, instead of the concerted assault, impossible to stem, there came to their ears a sudden, terrific clamor of fighting in the valley. Astonished, they gazed and listened. It was the noise of a bloody mêlée, hand-to-hand, with the pistol, the butt, the machete. Something disastrous had happened to the rebel army. Whatever it was so interested the six marines that they concluded to take part. Forsaking the trench, they were traversing the cleared field when fugitives came bolting out of the jungle, shedding weapons and yelling for mercy. Corporal Jones winged one of them, but Dennis ordered his squad to cease firing.
"Easy, boys, for we will gather in the prisoners and bag the whole outfit. The beggars are scared out of their wits. 'Tis a rout and a slaughter."
Soon a dandified little man in white uniform popped into this extraordinary picture. He was astride a mule which he madly whacked with a sabre. The boyish private who had pined for excitement made for him with a whoop of joy as a prize of war. Yanking him from the saddle, they went to the ground together, and it presently appeared that the jubilant marine was seated upon the stomach of none other than the terrible General LeComte himself, who displayed profound gratitude for this safe deliverance.
On the heels of the runaway army swept the vanguard of the victors, whom Dennis recognized as members of the government force which had so shamelessly deserted him. They were hacking and shooting like so many devils. The mystified marines moved aside until the savage whirlwind had passed with a wreckage of slain in its wake. Fortune had vouchsafed that they should not have to play the game to the bitter end, and it was sweet to be alive in the cool of the morning.
Advancing warily, they came to the rebel camp, where a litter of dead and wounded among the embers was evidence of an onslaught unforeseen.
"As a daffy conundrum, I pass it up," observed Dennis O'Kane. "It gets by me entirely. Who ever saw niggers wade in like that, and who put the tabasco into 'em? They quit us to hook up with these outlaws, and then, holy Moses, they turned and cleaned up the lot."
Corporal Jones was rummaging in the undergrowth when he stumbled over a rumpled body which reclined against a log. It was clad in khaki splotched with fresh stains. With a loud ejaculation the marine gazed down at the lean, dark features of Sergeant Cassius Logan. He was breathing and tried to murmur something when the others surrounded him, their faces reflecting blank incredulity. They could not understand, but the instant task was to bathe and bind his hurts and carry him into Soulouque on a litter of boughs.
When they laboriously drew near the governor's palace the returning populace was dancing to the music of a military band. From the piazza the benevolent ruler sonorously congratulated his troops, whose love for him and the republic had impelled them to repent of their desertion and display an allegiance magnificent, immortal. They had saved a city and crushed a rebellion. The unspeakable General LeComte would be sentenced and shot immediately.
The celebration somehow overlooked the six marines who had held the trench. They found a room for Cassius Logan, and the verdict of the Haitien army surgeon was slightly hopeful. Several hours later he seemed anxious to talk with Dennis O'Kane, who leaned over the cot to catch the plaintive whispering.
"We sure lit on 'em all spraddled out, suh, an' there was nothin' to it a-tall. Jes' pranced through them wuthless rebels like a cake-walk. They wa'n't lookin' for no such surprise-party."
"You laid low and let us think you had a yellow streak?" eagerly queried the corporal of marines. "But what changed the minds of the two hundred tarriers that jumped the job, and was it you that switched them again?"
Sergeant Logan closed his eyes, uttered the ghost of a chuckle, and evasively replied:
"Maybe I kind o' persuaded an' coaxed 'em. You see, it was this-a-way. These yere government soldiers was ordered to march 'round in th' rear an' smear you-all plumb off the map. I met 'em after they started out an' sort o' converted 'em. Right about an' go to it, says I, an' we'll make them rebels mighty hard to find. Believe me, suh, I never led men in th' old regiment that fought so desperate as them two hundred Haitien niggers."
Dennis was silent for some time. The exertion of speech tired the sorely battered trooper, but he was anxious to prolong the interview. His explanation failed to enlighten. It left matters very much in a fog of conjecture. Some other motive than wordy persuasion must have swayed the two hundred to follow this elderly American negro in a reckless charge against a much larger force. By way of a cheering diversion, the corporal suggested:
" 'Tis our wish to be on our way, but we will not leave you on your back, sergeant. You belong to us, and the best is none too 'good. I will see to it that you get to the United States as soon as the doctor man lets me pry you loose."
This pledge of devotion failed to comfort Cassius Logan. The intonations were unaccountably sad as he muttered:
"I dunno but what I'll give up th' notion of goin' back home."
"Nonsense," cried Dennis, "You with two thousand dollars gold in the toe of a sock?"
"A powerful sight of money, yes, suh—plenty to keep me shet o' the poor-house, bu-but I lost it las' night."
"Robbed, do you mean?"
"Well, I wa'n't really robbed, but I jes' ain't got it."
Just then Corporal Jones tiptoed in for news of the patient and casually informed Dennis:
"There must have been a juicy war chest in that rebel camp. They beat us to the plunder. These darky soldiers were flat broke and begging for grub yesterday. Now they're squanderin' coin all over the place. They are some spenders, take it from me."
Dennis O'Kane glanced at the wounded man on the cot and his quick perception fathomed the secret. Without a word he gripped the hand of Sergeant Logan, who comprehended, and exclaimed no more than audibly:
"I 'lowed to keep it to mahself . Airin' troubles never did make no hit with me. The governor's soldiers hadn't had no pay in months, nary a cent, an' so they quit you-all to jine th' rebels. I figgered it out, an' I couldn't see no other way to save yo' bacon."
"Ten dollars a head. Two hundred of the murderin' sculpins," meditated Dennis. "They certainly did earn the money. But look where it leaves you! Crippled up and busted, your pockets empty, and nowhere to go. I'm damn sorry you didn't let us pay for our own foolishness."
"That was what worried me when we was discussin' things in the restaurant yestiddy," was the troubled response. "I knowed I'd have to do it, but I reckon I got cold feet—studyin' over mah two thousand dollars an' what it meant to an old man bound back home. Of cou'se I wa'n't hesitatin' about bein' shot up."
"But you came through with bells on," was the fervent eulogy of Corporal Jones. "Wow! Were there any more like you in the old Tenth Cavalry?"
Three days after this a gunboat flying the Stars and Stripes wandered into the harbor of Soulouque in search of seven marines who had been blown to sea by the tail of a hurricane. Six of them met the commander on the beach and escorted him toward the shabby frame building which the governor called his palace. With lively interest he took note of their bandages and listened to the curtly formal report of Corporal Dennis O'Kane, in charge of the detail.
"Injured in the line of duty, sir. Private Kenerson killed in action while defendin' a town held and occupied by the Haitien Government. We were understudies, if you please. The job was done by Sergeant Cassius Shoemaker Logan, of the regular army, recalled to active service."
"And who the deuce is he and where can I find him?" demanded the naval officer.
"He died last night, sir, and we buried him an hour ago with the honors of war."