|Rights||No Copyright - United States (NoC-US)|
|Publisher||Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah|
|Article Title||A Game of Miracles|
Ii , j A. Game of Miracles. ' 1 fl 1 1 By Bernard Barry. it a I i When Captain Adams, U. S. V., assumed mil- $! itary control of San Enrique, the aristocracy, I' 91 ' consisting of a few Spaniards and many mestizos, I I received him with open arms. The captain was Trplf ! pleased with the prospect. His regiment had been $,! ordered from the more arduous campaign in Lu- i'jjli I zon to recuperate, and, at the same time, to re- if; a, strain the inhabitants of Negros Island from ' h ' emulating their more pugnacious brethren. The (':' i regiment needed a rest badly, and as the cap- H ; I tain strolled through the town of San Enrique, w1 I 1 J" he felt certain that his company's task would II ' not be irksome. Cheerful brown faces grinned f : l at him from the doorways of the yellow nipa ' I I i 1 ' huts, and now and then he caught a glimpse of l I a fairer countenance at the window of one of j iff ' the larger houses. 1 III f In the evening he visited the mestizo presl- , II I j dente, and paid compliments in rather unique & 1 ! Spanish to the official's very stout wife and rath- I II L er pretty daughters. Presently he was set be- ijS fore an excellent dinner and genuine champagne. i II 5 1 There were other guests, and when the dishes i' sffl ! were cleared away, cards wre produced. and the $ II 1 1 gathering, male and female, sat down to play I p 51 1 monte, the chief amusement of the Filipino aris- fcllljl tocracy. It Is never played entirely for amuse- ' upkl '' ment, however, and in the course of an hour B Mfliji Captain Adams had before him pesos and notes to yii ! I the extent of several hundred. Then came Padre fflfl'J' Patricio, the Jesuit, who was spiritual guardian icrii'4: oi San Enrique. I ;9 ;, i The assemblage rose respectfully when he I m 11 ' I ' entered, but he graciously motioned them to be I'll HI1' ! seated. He was excessively cordial to the caps' cap-s' f Bli jj tain. "Too damned good-natured" thought the Biff If i captain, sulkily. He was annoyed because the Bli !I 1 padre looked very well-fed, while he was many B'ljfflul pounds underweight from work and semi-starva-B tfl 1 tion. B l,Hi I Tue captain's irritation increased when his B;f ff I, I Pile of pesos began to dimnish, and a pile rapidly B Mill jl I accumulated before the representative of the B1 ' $ 1 church. Wherefore the officer began to watch B rliiti him Intcntly- B ; fI "Pardon, padre," said Captain Adams, quietly; Hi ff-hi "! believe that some of the cards have fallen B tUBl into your lap'" B' nil 00c an surprise came over the B !n."i, smooth, round face. "Mira!" he said in soft B t I astonishment; "it is so," and he drew four cards B Hill 1 1 from his lap and restored them to the pack. Two Ht filll 1 more dropped out of the loose sleeve of his black B lllrfi f robe. "How careless I am," lie said. H iffjill Some iof the girls smiled; the padre was so B iffl absent-minded. H fI ' "In some parts of America they shoot peo- H ' $f Ple f oi carelessness at cards," observed the cap- Bibrl taIn J-A" murmur of astonished interest rose. BI'NhI "That is very foolish, Is it not?" inquired the Briri 1 padre, gently. "I think that it is best to play all H Ptf 1 games quietly." B ''81 J I i ' "0ur dear Padre" began the presldente, "is B Iff I ' S0 flbsorbe,i In holy thoughts that he often" H isjj I Padre Patricio shot a glance toward the civil B r Mil '1 I head whIch caused tnat Power to check himself B ill I J1 abruptly. The miltary head noted the little pan- B 1111 tomime with mingled Indignation and amusement, H A J but turned to answer a number of questions from H "f a feminine' neighbor. H" Back in his quarters that evening, the captain I It ill I" ' Pondered over the situation. "I wish that I had j!5 ' la lot Father Pat alone," he thought. "This Is a m r?!) I nice, quiet, comic opera town, and I have my Hi T 1 1 chance to get the reputation of an Al adminis- H ' Jillfli trator. Of course, the boys could hold them If H" ijlil they broke, but as the colonel said, 'We're hero Bi ill! pacIfy them' not t0 wallP them.' It's the nii devil to have both lieutenants in the hospital when a fellow needs some one to chat with. Well, I'll see Jimmie in the morning and hold a council coun-cil of war. I see trouble, Father Pat." "Jimmie" Bates, the first sergeant, strode into the captain's room early the next morning, and, saluting with a flourish, reported, "Comp'ny all present, except two drunk." ''Very well, sit down, Jimmie," said the officer. The sergeant sat on a trunk, waiting attentively. "Do you think Wolcott is trustworthy?" "Wolcott" was a bullet-headed little Filipino, so-called because he bore some resemblance to a negro pugilist of that name. He had been employed em-ployed as kitchen help by the company before the capture of Manila, and had come to be regarded as indispensable. "Wolcott is the only square 'gu gu' in the Philippines," Phil-ippines," replied the sergeant. "Well, I want him to do a little secret service work. I want him to hang o round the church whenever there is anything going on there. And tell him to pretend to all the Filipnos he meets that he don't care a rap about us. Don't tell any of the men that I expect any mix-up, but see that not more than a squad is out of hail of the barracks at a time. See that Pop (the bugler) goes to bed sober every night till further notice, understand?" "Yes, sir," replied the sergeant, saluting. Captain Adams put his men through a half-hour half-hour of snappy skirmish drill that morning, on the plaza outside the barracks. To wind it up he charged them for two hundred yards against an imaginary, foe. As the day was burning hot, the men grumbled, wondering why their commander com-mander "made fools out of thorn." But the captain cap-tain noted with great satisfaction that a crowd of curious natives were decidedly impressed by the charge, which was as he intended. When the three powers military, civil, and ecclesiastical met accidentally at the little cafe near the presidente's house, they elevated glasses of brandy and soda in unison to the "Salute." Never were there three powers on such harmonious harmo-nious terms. But three nights later the first sergeant dragged a breathless Wolcott into the captain's room, and attempted to restore him to a state of coherence with kicks, vigorously applied. "Give him a chance, sergeant," ordered the captain, and the "non-com" desisted. Wolcott sprawled for a while on the floor, trembling violently. "Well, well, Porque? Speak, damn it!" The Filipino lifted a face that was a mask of terror. "Espera captain!" he gasped. "Wolcott "Wol-cott mucho cold feet picture in church speak me see me hear say Americano ladrones mucho malo tell Filipinos kill Americanos meo h, mucho cold fet." He clasped the sergeant's knees, whereupon the soldier promptly administered adminis-tered another kick. "Were there many Filipinos there?" demanded demand-ed the captain. "Si," replied Wolcott. "Picture say kill Americanos Am-ericanos me see me hear. Many Filipinos say: 'SI, Americanos malo kill." Padre say; 'Si In the night when they sleep!'" "Where is the picture, Wolcott?" inquired the officer. "Top of altar," replied the Filipino. "Big picture pic-ture San Jose and Angeles. San Jose he talk-he talk-he see mo hear." The captain detached his sword and scabbard scab-bard from his belt. He drew the army revolver from the holster, and making sure that it was loaded, replaced' it. "Lock Wolcott in here, Jimmie," he ordered, sharply. "Tell the men to have their rifles and belts within reach of their arms. See that the sergeant of the guard has all his men where they belong. I don't think that there will be any trouble, but I want everything ready. Now, I'm going to the church. If you hear a shot, get the company there as quickly as the Lord will let you." The captain strode through the door and hurried hur-ried out into the street. He darted swiftly acrosB into the shadow of the market-nlace. Skirting the silent nipa huts, he made his way through a little lit-tle banana grove to the rear of the church. He stole up to the sacristy door, and tried it. It was open and he was about to hurst in, but he paused and, dropping on one knee, began to unlace un-lace his boot. It is best to play every game quietly, as Father Fa-ther Pat said," he muttered, grimly. The sacristy was deserted. A. confused heap of rich vestments was scattered on the table, and the one oil lamp glittered on the heavy gold embroidery. No voice came through the half-opened half-opened door that led out to the ultar, but the un- . intelligible murmur of a voice somewhere above the ceiling brought a triumphant light to the captain's eyes. He noted with joy a flight of stairs that led upward, up-ward, and in an instant he was creeping in th& direction of the voice. A door barred his way, but it was unlocked. Slowly and carefully the officer moved it backward. back-ward. He could now hear the voice distinctly saying, in Spanish: "The Americans are heretics and children of the devil. All those who are friendly to them will meet their fate, eternal damnation." Captain Adams saw a Filpino with his face pressed c'osely to the opposite wall of the room. Tiptoeing across he grasped the speaker firmly by the throat, and hrusting hi knee against the fellow's back brought him to the ground. The American realized that there was little time to be wasted. Holding the prisoner by the throat with one hand, he whirled his right list down behind the man's ear, quieting him effectively. The captain sprang to his feet and glanced through the crevice into the well-lighted church. Three or four hundred excited faces were gazing at that spot. Padre Patricio was standing close to the altar rail, and he also was gazing upward. The cartain laughed a short, reckless laugh. He was a Western man, one of the sort who feel the sense of humor strongest in the time of danger. dan-ger. Gathering in a deep breath he put his mouth to the aperture, and cried: "Vamos, Padro Particlo. The devil is coming." Then he added -gleefully in English: "The house is pinched!" There was a chorus of wild yells, and a thunder thun-der of bare feet on the floor below. The captain cap-tain looked and saw the tangled mob of frightened fright-ened Filipinos swarming madly through the doors. In the thickest of the confuredmass, fighting his way like a maniac, was the stout and gorgeous gorge-ous figure of Padre Patricio. The captain sank back to the floor, convulsed with laughter. In a few momevts the church was silent and deserted. "To think, that history gives the Jesuit order or-der credit for diabolical ingenuity!" chuckled the captain. "Well, the drinks are on Father Pat. And " the idea seemed an inspiration "by Jove, I'll make him buy them." The Mirror.