HOW CAPTAIN BASIL HAYLE WENT TO THE MOUNTAINS

The corporal never went to Rome, after all, and, as a result, his
message to the Holy Father remained undelivered. True, he talked about
going often during the ten years which elapsed before he himself was
gathered to his mundane fathers, but, somehow, life was very pleasant
in his own little village, where there were no ladrones to worry
you, and plenty of untravelled folk ready to listen to your stories
of ladrones. Moreover, Rome was a long way off, a very long way,
and the journey needed many preparations; so, in the end, the only
journey he did make was when he went on a visit to Don José Ramirez,
who had also come home, rich and very weary.

They talked of Calocan, of San Polycarpio, and of the new gallows,
on which Cinicio Dagujob was hanged, of many familiar spots and old
friends; but most of all they talked of Felizardo and his doings.

“We were both wrong,” the corporal said. “He came back to Calocan,
and we have come back to Spain. Curious, I am seldom wrong; but I was
over those matters. Still, even an old soldier of thirty-five years’
service may make mistakes sometimes…. You say Felizardo is still
in those same mountains?”

Don José nodded.

“He, at least, will never go back to his home to stay,” the
corporal went on. “If there were nothing else, there is the Church,
you know.” He shook his head gravely. “Felizardo killed a priest,
and even though that Father Pablo was a ladrone, the cloth remains,
always. And the Church does not forget. How can she afford to forget,
with all those half-heathen souls to be saved?”

The corporal stayed a week in Don José’s big house, and then he
went home to his own little house, in the village at the foot of the
mountains, and with that both he and Don José Ramirez go out of this
story, leaving only Felizardo and Dolores Lasara, who were still in
the mountains in the distant Philippines, outlaws and, if you will,
ladrones.

The corporal had been dead twenty years when Captain Basil Hayle,
who was then only Serjeant Hayle of the Garrison Artillery, United
States Army, landed in Manila. From the transport, he had seen a
great range of mountains, running right down to the sea, and had
admired them in his silent way, though he made no remark about them,
even to the comrade who was leaning on the rail beside him, for,
as a rule, the more he liked a thing, the less he said about it. It
was only when his aversion was roused that he was moved to speech. If
any one had told him then that those same mountains, and the people
on them, were destined to play the most important part in his life,
he might not have disbelieved the statement–in fact, he had a vein
of superstition, or fatalism, which might have inclined him to believe
it–but he would have gone on just the same until the crisis arrived.

Basil Hayle came of good stock on both sides. His father had been a
Virginian, his mother a Swedish girl, a combination which usually
turns out well, both the breeds being good ones. From his father
he had inherited his sense of chivalry, his inability to know when
he was beaten, and a certain deceptive strength which looked like
laziness; from his mother had come his tall figure, his fair hair,
and his unwillingness to cause unnecessary pain.

When, on the outbreak of the war, Basil Hayle had volunteered for the
front, they had drafted him into the Garrison Artillery on account of
his size and apparent slowness, qualities which are usually considered
more suitable in garrison gunners than in any other branch of the
service; but they quickly discovered that they had misjudged their
man. The superfluous flesh he had recently acquired during a leisurely
trip to Europe was soon got rid of, his education raised him above the
level of the majority of his comrades, and before the transport left
San Francisco he was a full Serjeant. Still, he was in the Garrison
Artillery, and a garrison gunner he had to remain, kicking his heels
in a sweltering fort on the shore of Cavite Bay–with his largest
gun he could almost have thrown a shell on to the lower slopes of
Felizardo’s mountains–whilst the other regiments were having a
splendid time amongst the insurrectos.

As every one knows, the Americans went to the Philippines to
save the Filipinos from the Spanish tyranny; and, as is also well
known, the Filipinos responded in characteristic fashion. For a few
brief weeks, the agitators in the towns believed, and proclaimed,
that the millennium had come, the reign of Liberty, Equality,
and Fraternity–Liberty to do what was good in your own sight,
and evil in the sight of every decent man; Equality, so far as the
goods of a richer man than yourself were concerned; Fraternity in the
Cain-and-Abel sense. The tao repeated the words, taking them to mean
that the Presidentes and Tenientes would be hanged, and that there
would be cock-fights every day of the week; the ladrones took them to
mean the entire abolition of any form of police; but old Felizardo,
who was now sixty years of age and the wisest man in the Islands,
laughed scornfully.

“The Americanos will let them bolo one another for a while,” he said,
“then they will send an army to put those who remain in order. Still,
it is not my quarrel. I claim nothing beyond my mountains.”

None the less, he strengthened the outposts on the lower slopes of the
range, and when the Provisional Government in Manila sent envoys to ask
him to join them, the rather nervous mestizos who brought the message
were sent back, very flustered, with their mission unfulfilled. Then
came other envoys, truculent ones this time, with orders to Felizardo
to make his submission to the Sovereign People, the latter being
represented by a few score of coffee-coloured little men in khaki
uniforms, with huge red sashes, huge red epaulettes, and even more
huge sabres, which they loved to jangle over the cobble-stones of
the towns, greatly to their own glory, and much to the detriment
of their scabbards. Felizardo, hearing of them, laughed again–his
official uniform was a suit of white duck and a broad-brimmed straw
hat–then he said to Dolores, whose girlish prettiness had changed
now to a sweet-faced dignity: “The corporal of the Guardia Civil
at Calocan–you remember, the old one–would alone have put them to
flight, beating them with the flat of his sword. They tell me those
patriots have hewn down the gallows at Calocan. Well, it was old;
and, in any case, the Americanos would doubtless have put up a new
one–for these patriots.”

But when the second deputation, that to demand his instant submission
to the will of the Sovereign People, arrived, and Felizardo heard
that the envoys were generals, wearing that same gorgeous uniform, he
waxed wroth, and ordered that those distinguished soldier-diplomats
should be brought to him. “Bring them, sabres, revolvers, and all,”
he said. “Let them climb the mountains, and climb rather fast, as I
am in a hurry to see the great sight.”

Possibly, his orders were taken too literally. At any rate, two of the
envoys fainted half way up the mountain-side, and had to be revived
with pricks from the point of a bolo; whilst even the third, who
was of a tougher breed, had none of his truculence left when he found
himself face to face with that quiet, wizened little man. Moreover, the
ends of the scabbards were worn and dented beyond all hope of repair,
and when, in obedience to Felizardo’s order, the owners attempted to
draw their sabres in salute, not one of them could get the blade out.

One or two of Felizardo’s men–there were over a hundred clustered
round–laughed; but the chief himself looked grave. “Patriot generals
should do better than that,” he said. “I fear you would be certain to
die for your country if an enemy were to meet you in that state. I
can remember the days when our people were content with a bolo in a
wooden sheath.”

A laugh went round the semicircle of his followers, each of whom
had one of the weapons in question strapped round his waist. But the
envoys did not laugh. Somehow, Felizardo’s courtesy seemed to jar on
their nerves.

“What do you want here, on my mountains? Where is the message you
have to bring me?” The chiefs manner changed suddenly.

The envoys exchanged glances; then the eldest of them, rather
reluctantly, produced an official-looking document, decorated with
a large seal. Felizardo read the paper carefully, then handed it to
a youngster who was standing behind his chair. “Burn that, Enrique,”
he said; and after that he turned to the envoys again. “What are your
names, O Generals of the Sovereign People?” he asked.

They gave him names, and then, after telling the eldest to stand to
one side, he called to his men. “Do you know these two?” he asked.

One they identified as the late door-keeper at the Palace, and the
other as a money-lender in a Manila suburb.

Felizardo nodded; then he beckoned to the third man. “You are the son
of Cinicio Dagujob,” he said. “You were one of the band of ladrones
which burned San Juan two years ago. Do not deny it. I know you.” Then
he nodded to his men. “Hang him,” he said curtly; and they led the
general away, sullen, defiant, unresisting, a ladrone to the end,
and hanged him, with his great sabre still on him.

After that, Felizardo called up the other two. “You shall go back
to Manila, with this message from Felizardo.–Your government talks
of the will of the Sovereign People and the Law of Liberty. I,
Felizardo, say that here, in my mountains, where I am the sovereign
chief, there is only one law, the Law of the Bolo, to which every man
becomes subject the moment he sets foot on my land. Tell them that in
Manila. See that you tell it faithfully, lest I come down to Manila
and tell it them myself. And now, O Generals of the Sovereign People,
you shall be well flogged, so that you may remember Felizardo, and
then you shall go back with the message of the Bolo.”

The Provisional Government passed a resolution, or rather a series of
resolutions, on the subject of Felizardo, declaring him to be a rebel,
an outlaw, a tyrant, and an Enemy of the People, whilst a bishop
whom it had appointed–ratification from Rome was sure to come to
Catholic patriots–solemnly excommunicated the whole band; but when
they called for a volunteer to deliver copies of the resolutions to
Felizardo, none was forthcoming, even though they promised a general’s
commission to any man who undertook the task. But they sent no force
against the chief of the mountains, and, almost before they had got
half-way through their discussions on the subject of dealing with him,
the American Army arrived and, as the soldiers put it, began to clear
up the mess.

A few weeks later, the Provisional Government itself had taken to
the hills; and many a time, when the Americans were hard on their
heels, members of that same government looked longingly at Felizardo’s
mountains, and thought of the shelter to be obtained there, or rather
of the shelter which might have been obtained there, had Felizardo
not been a tyrant and an Enemy of the People. Yet none even set foot
in his territory, for that message of his concerning the Law of the
Bolo had been repeated faithfully in Manila; and all men, at least
all Filipinos, knew that Felizardo was a man of his word.

So the Americans chased the insurrectos–that is, the troops of the
late Provisional Government–and the ladrones, and the head-hunters
who were Felizardo’s northern neighbours, gathered in the stragglers
on both sides, each doing in accordance with his customs; but the
mountains were left alone. Then, as all the world knows, or ought
to know, just as the army had the insurrectos nicely in hand, and
was about to capture, and hang comfortably, the worst offenders,
the exigencies of party politics in the United States led to the
institution of Civil Government throughout the Islands. The army
was withdrawn; the members of the late Provisional Government
were absolved of their murders and their rapes, and their other
abominations, and made governors of provinces, and commissioners,
and even judges; and from these the Civil Government first learned of
Felizardo and his wicked ways, how he had flogged, and even hanged,
pure Filipino patriots; and Mr Commissioner Furber, the head of the
new department of Constabulary and Trade–a rather infelicitous,
or invidious, combination–decided that Felizardo, the Enemy of the
People, must be rooted out and destroyed; for Mr Commissioner Furber,
like Mr Collector Sharler of the Customs, who had a native wife, was a
firm believer in that great and glorious and democratic doctrine, which
declared that the Filipino was the white man’s Little Brown Brother,
whilst, obviously, this same Felizardo, whom the ex-generals declared
to be a common ladrone, had no fraternal feelings at all. So the doom
of Felizardo was signed and sealed, and the only thing remaining to be
done was the carrying out of the sentence–a small matter surely when
the latter had been pronounced by a Commissioner of great power. It is
at this point that Captain Basil Hayle of the Philippines Constabulary,
late Sergeant Hayle of the Garrison Artillery, U.S.A., comes into
the story; for he was the man deputed to carry out the dread fiat of
Mr Commissioner Furber, which led to his going up into the mountains
and learning the Law of the Bolo.

Basil Hayle took his discharge from the Army in Manila at the earliest
possible opportunity. He was a little tired of garrison gunnery as
practised in the Islands, and was anxious to join one of the new corps
of native troops then being formed. The chance came quickly. The
Civil Government, desirous of proving to the Army how beautifully
it could manage without professional assistance, raised a force of
its own, the Philippines Constabulary, the rank and file of which
was composed of any stray natives who felt sufficiently energetic to
enlist, whilst the officers consisted mainly of discharged private
soldiers. The equipping of the Constabulary gave the politicians in
the Government offices the chance of their lives. The rifles were
Springfield carbines, manufactured in the early ‘seventies; most of
the ammunition would not fire; whilst the clothing and boots were of
the very worst quality imaginable, purchased at the very best prices.

It is one thing to raise officers for such a corps, quite another thing
to keep them. Basil Hayle, however, was amongst those who remained,
and, as a result, he quickly found himself promoted captain of a
company of some sixty surly, ragged little men, natives of Manila
and its immediate neighbourhood, who could neither drill nor shoot,
whose objects in life were to smoke cigarettes, play monte, and,
whenever the chance occurred, slip away to a cock-fight, from which
they generally returned penniless and incoherent.

Basil did his best with them. He contrived to be sent to an
out-station, in the hopes of getting them in hand; but the sole
result was that five joined a local band of ladrones, taking their
carbines and their friends’ money with them, whilst five more returned
hurriedly, and without leave, to Manila, to lay their grievances
before a fellow-countryman, an ex-colonel of the Army of Liberty,
who was now chief secretary to Mr Commissioner Furber. Meanwhile,
Captain Hayle’s subaltern, a youth from Boston, had married a native
woman, a proceeding which aroused all Basil’s bitterest Southern
prejudices. The incident moved him to speech, and he spoke with so
much emphasis, and so much effect, that from that time onwards he
was short of an officer. Then, to crown it all, a runner came in with
peremptory orders from the Commissioner for him to bring his company
back to Manila and explain his arbitrary proceedings.

This time, there was no one to whom he could speak emphatically, save
the messenger, who knew no English, whilst, so far, his own knowledge
of Spanish expletives was limited; consequently, he had to keep it all
for the Commissioner, who, having regarded him hitherto as a silent,
docile man, even if he were a Southerner–Furber himself came from
Boston–was distinctly surprised and pained, as Basil had intended
he should be. Still, in the end, they parted, if not good friends,
at least with a temporary understanding. So many useful officers
had resigned recently that the Commissioner dare not let another go;
moreover, he had just been made fully acquainted with the evil deeds
of Felizardo, that enemy of Progress and the Sovereign People; and
Basil Hayle seemed a very suitable man to go and rout out the nest
of brigands in the mountains.

Hayle accepted the commission joyfully, knowing nothing of Felizardo,
of whom he now heard for the first time. He was in the service
purely for the sake of excitement and experience, and this task of
clearing those mountains, which he had so often admired, of a gang of
brigands and murderers seemed to promise him both. That same night,
after dinner, he went to the Orpheum, the music-hall of Manila,
and, meeting Clancy of the Manila Star in the entrance, was taken
into the Press box, whence you can obtain the finest view of those
young ladies who are imported at vast expense, and apparently with
only part of their wardrobes, from Australia and the China Coast to
elevate and amuse the public of Manila.

Clancy had known the Philippines in the Spanish days, and Basil turned
to him for information.

“Ever heard of a ladrone called Felizardo?” he asked,

“No”–Clancy had a passion for correct expressions–“but I have heard
of an old man called Felizardo, who for the last five-and-twenty
years has been recognised by the Spaniards as the chief of that
range of mountains over there. He was an outlaw, certainly, but a
regular ladrone, never. The Spaniards were too wise to worry him,
and he left them alone. Why, what’s the matter with him now? Has he
been hanging any more patriots?”

“No, only I’ve got to go out and catch him, and break up his
band.” There was a note of defiance in Hayle’s voice. He was young,
after all, a bare eight-and-twenty, and he did not like even the
possibility of ridicule.

But Clancy was very grave now. “You are going up there?” he said. “You,
who are new at the game yourself, going up against Felizardo, with that
ragged crowd of yours? Why, man, it’s absurd. Twenty companies like
yours wouldn’t suffice for the job. Your people must be stark raving
mad”–Clancy was an Irishman. “Take my advice and go sick. You’ll be
cut to pieces the moment you set foot on Felizardo’s mountains,”

Basil got up stiffly. “Thanks,” he said, “but I shall not take your
advice. I have been ordered to go, and I shall go–to-morrow, if
possible,” and he went out.

Clancy looked after him, and shrugged his shoulders. “A fool and
his folly,” he muttered; “or, rather, fools and their folly. Still,
it is a pity.”

However, Captain Hayle did not start for the mountains the following
day, nor for many days after. Incautiously, or perhaps fortunately,
he mentioned their destination to his serjeant, who repeated the
news to the men, with the result that there were only three members
of the company, the serjeant and two corporals, old soldiers of the
Spanish times, who answered to the roll-call that evening. The rest
had found urgent business elsewhere, and half of them had forgotten
to leave their carbines behind.

It was a very angry and shamed-faced Captain of Constabulary who
reported the occurrence to the Commissioner on the following morning;
but, greatly to his surprise, that official was almost sympathetic.

“I cannot say I was altogether unprepared for it,” he said. “In fact,
since I saw you, I have heard so many absurd stories concerning this
Felizardo, who seems to be a kind of supernatural person in the eyes
of the common people here, that I can understand your poor, ignorant
soldiers going.”




“They took twenty-eight carbines,” Hayle interjected grimly.

The Commissioner smiled. “My secretary assures me those will be
returned. There is no vice in those Little Brown Brothers of ours. It
is only men like this Felizardo who cause all the trouble…. Well,
Captain Hayle, there is a company in Manila now, one which was raised
in the Island of Samar by Captain Marten, who has just died. You had
better take command of that. You will find those Samar men are not
afraid of Felizardo.”

So Basil Hayle took over the sixty-five little brown men from Samar,
and spent the better part of a fortnight trying to instil some idea of
discipline into their heads; then, with infinite trouble, he managed
to get some tolerably reliable ammunition from the stores, and bought
boots for his men out of his own pocket, though he knew that the money
would be stolen. And after that he went back to the Commissioner,
and reported that he was ready, adding: “It would be as well if one
of these Manila men, who gave you the information about Felizardo,
came along as guide.” But all those same Manila men had, it appeared,
very pressing private business which they could not leave, and, anyway,
as the Commissioner said: “If you search long enough, you are bound to
come on these outlaws;” whereat, Captain Hayle went out, shrugging his
shoulders. He had been making a few enquiries, from Spaniards and other
folk likely to know, and he had come to the conclusion that it was far
more probable that Felizardo would find him. Still, Clancy of the Star
had put him on his mettle, and he was determined to go through with it.

At Igut, where the corporal of the Guardia Civil had landed thirty
years before, there was a garrison consisting of a company of the
Philippine Scouts, a force which held itself to be vastly superior
to the Constabulary, for, though the rank and file of both were drawn
from the same classes, the Scouts were under the Army, and so had food
and clothing and high pay, and other advantages, which, if given to
an Asiatic, tend to make him proud and mutinous and careful of his
own skin. They had rebuilt Igut since the corporal’s day, and there
was now a regular plaza with half a dozen stone-built houses on it,
and a gaol and barracks and many nipa-shacks and a church; in fact,
there was accommodation for all classes of the community, save the
pigs, and fowls, and pariah-dogs, which wandered at large, spreading
disease. Still, even with these drawbacks, it was an important
place. The Presidente was an ex-member of the Provisional Government,
whom the army was just going to hang for torturing a bugler to death,
when the Civil Government saved him; the principal merchant was a
nephew of old Don José Ramirez of Calocan; whilst Captain Bush, the
officer in command of the Scouts, lived with his wife in the large
white-washed house at the top corner of the plaza. Igut had changed
greatly since the day when Felizardo had the heads of the ladrones
stuck on posts along the beach, and insisted on the corporal having
the credit for the victory.

A wheezy little steamer took Captain Hayle and his men across the
bay. At first, the skipper suggested that he should land the party at
Igut; but, greatly to his disgust, Hayle declined. There was another
tiny harbour practically at the foot of the mountains, and there
was no sense in tramping ten miles or so through the jungle when you
could go much more comfortably by water. It was nothing to Basil if
the mestizo skipper happened to be in a hurry to get back in time for
a big cock-fight. So, in the end, they disembarked at the village of
Katubig, which consisted of a score of nipa-shacks along the edge of
the beach, the sort of place which could be burned with the greatest
ease any night, if you were not on good terms with the ladrones–or,
more important still, not under the protection of Felizardo–facts
which struck Captain Hayle at once, and made him very careful and a
little anxious.

Felizardo had received ample warning of the coming of the Constabulary;
in fact, ten of the deserters from Hayle’s old company had arrived,
with their carbines, and begged to be admitted to the band; but,
though the chief had retained the weapons, which would be useful, he
had declined the services of the men, arguing that if they had been
unfaithful to the Americanos, they would possibly be unfaithful to him.

He was perfectly able to hold his own in the mountains, of that he had
no doubt; but still Hayle’s expedition worried him, because it showed
that the Americanos did not mean to continue the sensible Spanish
policy of leaving him alone. For years past he had given up active
ladronism, having no further need to practise anything of the kind,
and he was both annoyed and astonished that the new authorities in
Manila should think of interfering with him. It never occurred to
him that, in addition to having incurred the enmity of the Manila
mestizos, he was also an anachronism–that he represented a condition
of affairs which Mr Commissioner Furber and his colleagues could not
allow to continue, that his personal independence was contrary to all
the accepted theories of law and order, as well as to the Declaration
of Independence, because, as the Commissioners had heard on the very
best authority, he was a tyrant and an Enemy of the People.

If Felizardo had understood these things, he might have acted
differently, and have made his peace with Manila. True, he was growing
old, and a little weary, and old men are less ready for strife than
are the younger ones; but, at the same time, they are less ready to
change their points of view, and the one fixed idea in Felizardo’s
mind was that the mountains belonged to him. Still, he did not want to
bring on a crisis; and so he sent word to his outposts on the lower
slopes, to the villages in the valley, and to the head-hunters on
the northern side, that the Americanos were to be turned back with as
little bloodshed as possible–which was fortunate for Captain Basil
Hayle and his men.

The Constabulary remained one night at Katubig, the Teniente of which
proved to be a most courteous old native, very full of information
concerning Felizardo and his evil ways; in fact, so anxious was he to
see the band broken up, that he even offered to let his own servant
guide Hayle and his men to the brigands’ camp, which, he said, was
some twenty miles away, towards the end of the range. For a moment,
Basil hesitated. It seemed a little too easy. Then he recollected
that his only alternative was to blunder forward without a guide of
any sort, and so he accepted the offer.

Twenty miles may not seem a great distance in a civilised country,
where there are roads, or, at least, paths; but twenty miles along
the lower slopes of Felizardo’s mountains, forcing one’s way through
the dense jungle, with the necessity of being prepared for attack at
any moment, is a very different matter. It took two days to do the
journey, and when the column arrived, weary and hungry, at the spur
of the big volcano, just beyond which Felizardo’s camp was supposed
to be, and camped down for the night, Basil discovered that the guide
had slipped away into the bush.

The situation was not a pleasant one. The whole way they had seen no
trace either of ladrones or of tao. There was no chance of getting
another guide, no chance of obtaining information; whilst for lack of
cargadores, or carriers, they had only been able to take five days’
food supply with them. In the circumstances, most men would have made
their way straight back to Katubig, and then have started afresh;
but the idea was utterly repugnant to Captain Hayle. He felt that,
so far, he had shown himself a helpless amateur, and that to return
meekly would be to make a public confession of failure. He spent half
the night sitting beside the fire, smoking, and trying to think out a
plan. He realised now the extreme difficulty of his task, the absurdity
of it even–they had set a white man who had not the slightest idea
of the geography of the range to track down a native outlaw who had
spent thirty-five years there, and knew every inch of the ground.

Nine Constabulary officers out of ten would have reported the job to
be hopeless. Basil Hayle happened to be the tenth man, and, before he
lay down to sleep, he had decided to do the thing scientifically–to
explore the range from end to end, even if he took months over doing
it, and then to ask for an adequate force with which to round up the
outlaws. It was the only way.

In accordance with this plan, he did the one thing which neither
Felizardo, nor any one else, would have expected him to do–at the
first streak of dawn he started to climb straight up the mountain-side,
beyond the jungle, beyond the scrub which succeeded the jungle,
on to the rocky ground itself, and there he had his first fight.

Afterwards, Felizardo hanged two of the survivors for not keeping a
proper lookout; but, though that prevented similar mishaps for the
future, it did not alter the essential fact that the outlaws were
badly beaten. They had a camp–it was one of their largest outpost
stations–on a great ledge of rock, from which, on a clear day, you
could see Manila itself. Two large caves furnished the main shelter,
but in addition to these there were half a dozen little huts, amongst
which the men were sitting, smoking and playing cards, when Basil
Hayle and his men suddenly appeared. For once, the rifle had its chance
against the bolo, or rather the bolo had no chance at all. Moreover,
the Constabulary were superior numerically. The first volley really
settled the question; and when a dozen bolomen did rally and attempt
a rush, half-heartedly, knowing that the bolo should be used in the
jungle or in the darkness, they were beaten back easily.

Five minutes later, everything was over; and then Basil Hayle made
a discovery which was to alter the whole of his after-life. There
were half a dozen women and children in one of the caves, weeping
and clinging to one another. Basil drew back hurriedly. He did not
like to see things like that, especially as most of them were young,
and one, a mestiza, was extremely nice-looking. The position was
rather awkward, he told himself. He had not the slightest intention
of taking them along with him, and yet, if he left them up there,
on that ledge of rock, with three or four badly wounded outlaws as
their sole guard, no one could tell what might happen. Possibly,
Felizardo’s main camp was twenty miles away, and, from what he had
heard of the old man’s character, it was quite likely that none of
the few members of the outpost who had escaped unhurt would be in a
hurry to return to their leader.

Basil pushed his hat back and scratched his head. What right had
women to be mixed up in an affair like this? Then, suddenly, his
eyes fell on the only unwounded prisoner, a sullen-looking youth,
who had been knocked down with the butt-end of a carbine. “Come here,”
he said. “Do you know Felizardo’s camp?”

The boy looked at him suspiciously; then Basil went on: “Go and
tell him to come and fetch these women and the wounded men. See? Get
along now.”

He needed no second bidding. He had been expecting to be taken down
to the coast and hanged as a ladrone, and he did not feel quite
sure that such was not to be his fate until he was actually out of
sight round the next spur of the mountain; then he doubled back,
and re-passed the Constabulary out of sight, for, like a true outlaw,
he had taken the precaution of starting off in the wrong direction.

Had Basil Hayle been a more experienced, or a less chivalrous man,
he would have waited, on the chance of Felizardo himself coming along
presently, in which case this story would have ended abruptly, so
far as the Constabulary officer was concerned; for the force which
presently arrived, expecting some such trap, had both rifles and
bolos, and crept in cautiously from all sides; but, by that time,
the Constabulary were miles away, scrambling over the rocks in great
good-humour, for had they not won their first fight, and acquired,
not only glory, but loot as well in the form of bolos, and playing
cards, and clothes, and, most important of all, cigarettes?

The Captain, too, was satisfied, feeling he had made a good
start. Moreover, he had secured an additional two days’ provisions,
and so would be able to explore the whole of one side of the range
before returning to Katubig.

The Teniente of Katubig was very apologetic about the guide. It was
all a mistake, he said. The man had taken them to the foot of the
wrong volcano, and then, fearing to be punished, had fled. Still,
every one was glad to hear that the Senor Capitaine had inflicted a
severe blow on that villain, Felizardo, who would doubtless now see
the wisdom of submission to those great-hearted Americanos, who had
saved the Islands from the oppressions of both the Spaniards and the
insurrectos. As for the ladrones—-

Basil cut his eloquence short. “How did you hear about our fight?” he
demanded.

For an instant the Teniente looked troubled, then he laughed. “I
forgot. There is one here, a young tao by his appearance, who has
been waiting for three days past with a letter for you. He it was
who had heard of the fight.”

Hayle frowned. “Send him in to me,” he said. The moment the messenger
entered, the American knew him again; but the Teniente, who was
watching closely, detected no sign of recognition; nor did Basil’s
face give him any clue to the contents of the letter, which ran:–

“Felizardo thanks the American captain for returning to him his
daughter, and the other women, and also the wounded men. That
is how brave men make war; and if at any time Felizardo has the
opportunity of doing a similar service, assuredly it will be
performed. On the other hand, in the mountains, which belong to
Felizardo, there is only one law, the Law of the Bolo, and those
who come as enemies will be met with the bolo. This was the word
Felizardo sent to the insurrectos, and he sends the same message
to the Americanos. Though, perhaps, some day he may be able to
show the captain of the Samar men that he can be an enemy and a
friend at the same time.”

Captain Basil Hayle folded the letter carefully, and thrust it into
an inner pocket. “H’m!” he muttered, “Felizardo’s own daughter–the
well-dressed, pretty mestiza, I suppose. I don’t think I shall mention
this to Furber–or to any one else, for that matter, as they wouldn’t
understand.”