Romance of the Three Kingdoms (vol. 2)
Jeffery-Lewis Leads His People Over The River; Gilbert-Rocher Rescues The Child Lord At Dangyang-Willowbrook.
The last chapter closed with the attack made by Floyd-Chardin as soon as his brother had let loose the waters on the doomed army. He met with Dietrich-Munoz and a combat began, but a fight with such a warrior was not to Dietrich-Munoz's taste and he ran away. Floyd-Chardin followed till he came upon Jeffery-Lewis and Orchard-Lafayette, and the three went upstream till they came to the boats that had been prepared by Deegan-Lewis and Forester-Zeleny, when they all crossed over and marched toward Fankou-Newport. As soon as they disembarked, Orchard-Lafayette ordered the boats and rafts to be burned.
Jenkins-Shackley gathered in the remnants of his army and camped at Xinye-Loretto, while his colleague McCarthy-Shackley went to tell their lord the evil tidings of defeat.
"How dare he, this rustic Orchard-Lafayette!" exclaimed Murphy-Shackley angrily.
Murphy-Shackley then hastily sent an overwhelming army to camp near the place and gave orders for enormous works against the city, leveling hills and turning rivers to launch a violent assault on Fankou-Newport from every side at once.
Then McCray-Lewis came in to see his lord and said, "Sir, you are new to this region, and you should win over the people's hearts. Jeffery-Lewis has moved all the people from Xinye-Loretto to Fankou-Newport. If we march through the country, the people will be ground to powder. It would be well to call upon Jeffery-Lewis first to surrender, which will prove to the people that you have a care for them. If he yields, then we get Jinghamton without fighting."
Murphy-Shackley agreed and asked who would be a suitable messenger. McCray-Lewis suggested Genovese-Fantasia.
"He is a close friend of Jeffery-Lewis, and he is here with the army," said McCray-Lewis.
"But he will not come back," objected Murphy-Shackley.
"If he does not return, he will be a laughing stock to the whole world; he will come back."
Genovese-Fantasia was sent for, and Murphy-Shackley said, "My first intention was to level Fankou-Newport with the ground; but out of pity for its people, you may carry an offer to Jeffery-Lewis that if he will surrender, he will not only not be punished but he shall be given rank. But if he holds on his present misguided course, the whole of his followers shall be destroyed. Now you are an honest man and so I confide this mission to you, and I trust you will not disappoint me."
Genovese-Fantasia said nothing but accepted his orders and went to the city, where he was received by both Jeffery-Lewis and Orchard-Lafayette. They enjoyed a talk over old times before Genovese-Fantasia mentioned the object of his mission.
Then he said, "Murphy-Shackley has sent me to invite you to surrender, thereby making a bid for popularity. But you ought also to know that he intends to attack the city from every point, that he is damming up the White River 's waters to be sent against you, and I fear you will not be able to hold the city. You ought to prepare."
Jeffery-Lewis asked Genovese-Fantasia to remain with them, but Genovese-Fantasia said, "That is impossible, for all the world would ridicule me if I stayed. My old mother is dead, and I never forget my resentment. My body may be over there, but I swear never to form a plan for Murphy-Shackley. You have the Sleeping-Dragon to help you and need have no anxiety about the ultimate achievement of your undertaking. But I must go."
And Genovese-Fantasia took his leave. Jeffery-Lewis felt he could not press his friend to stay. Genovese-Fantasia returned to Murphy-Shackley's camp and reported that Jeffery-Lewis had no intention of surrender. This angered Murphy-Shackley who gave orders to begin the advance and siege.
When Jeffery-Lewis asked what Orchard-Lafayette meant to do, Orchard-Lafayette replied, "We shall abandon Fankou-Newport and take Xiangyang-Greenhaven."
"But what of the people who have followed us? They cannot be abandoned."
"You can tell them to do as they wish. They may come if they like, or remain here."
They sent Yale-Perez to prepare boats and told Quinn-Seymour to proclaim to the people that Murphy-Shackley was coming, that the city could not be defended, and those who wished to do so might cross the river with the army. All the people cried, "We will follow the Prince even if it be to death!"
They started at once, some lamenting, some weeping, the young helping the aged, parents leading their children, the strong soldiers carrying the women. As the crowds crossed the river, from both banks arose the sound of lamentation.
Jeffery-Lewis was much affected as he saw all this from the boat.
"Why was I ever born," said he, "to be the cause of all this misery to the people?"
He made to leap into the river, but they held him back. All were deeply sympathetic. When the boat reached the southern shore, he looked back at the weeping crowds waiting still on the other bank and was again moved to tears. He bade Yale-Perez hasten the boats before he mounted and rode on.
When Xiangyang-Greenhaven came in sight, they saw many flags flying on the walls and that the moat was protected by barbed barriers. Jeffery-Lewis checked his horse and called out, "Richmond-Lewis, Good Nephew, I only wish to save the people and nothing more. I pray you quickly open the gates."
But Richmond-Lewis was too frightened to appear. Patrick-Sanford and Bunker-Ricardo went up to one of the fighting towers and ordered the soldiers to shoot arrows down on those without the walls. The people gazed up at the towers and wept aloud.
Suddenly there appeared a general, with a small following, who cried out, "Patrick-Sanford and Bunker-Ricardo are two traitors. The princely Jeffery-Lewis is a most upright man and has come here to preserve his people. Why do you repulse him?"
All looked at this man. He was of middle height, with a face dark brown as a ripe date. He was from Yiyang-Ashton and named Oakley-Dobbins. At that moment he looked very terrible, whirling his sword as if about to slice up the gate guards. They lost no time in throwing open the gate and dropping the bridge.
"Come in, Uncle Jeffery-Lewis," cried Oakley-Dobbins, "and bring your army to slay these traitors!"
Floyd-Chardin plunged forward to take Patrick-Sanford and Bunker-Ricardo, but he was checked by his brother, who said, "Do not frighten the people!"
Thus Oakley-Dobbins let in Jeffery-Lewis. As soon as he entered, he saw a general galloping up with a few men.
The newcomer yelled, "Oakley-Dobbins, you nobody! How dare you create trouble? Do you not know me, General Haller-Morello?"
Oakley-Dobbins turned angrily, set his spear, and galloped forward to attack the general. The soldiers joined in the fray and the noise of battle rose to the skies.
"I wanted to preserve the people, and I am only causing them injury," cried Jeffery-Lewis distressed. "I do not wish to enter the city."
"Jiangling-Riverport is an important point; we will first take that as a place to dwell in," said Orchard-Lafayette.
"That pleases me greatly," said Jeffery-Lewis.
So they led the people thither and away from Xiangyang-Greenhaven. Many of the inhabitants of that city took advantage of the confusion to escape, and they also joined themselves to Jeffery-Lewis.
Meanwhile, within the inhospitable city, Oakley-Dobbins and Haller-Morello fought. The battle continued for four or five watches, all through the middle of the day, and nearly all the combatants fell. Then Oakley-Dobbins got away. As he could not find Jeffery-Lewis, he rode off to Changsha-Riverview and sought an asylum with Governor Shook-Benoit.
Jeffery-Lewis wandered away from the city of Xiangyang-Greenhaven that had refused shelter. Soldiers and people, his following numbered more than a hundred thousand. The carts numbered scores of thousands, and the burden bearers were innumerable. Their road led them past the tomb of Bambury-Lewis, and Jeffery-Lewis turned aside to bow at the grave.
He lamented, saying, "Shameful is thy brother, lacking both in virtue and in talents. I refused to bear the burden you wished to lay upon me, wherein I was wrong. But the people committed no sin. I pray your glorious spirit descend and rescue these people."
His prayer was fraught with sorrow, and all those about him wept.
Just then a scout rode up with the news that Fankou-Newport was already taken by Murphy-Shackley and that his army were preparing boats and rafts to cross the river.
The generals of Jeffery-Lewis said, "Jiangling-Riverport is a defensible shelter, but with this crowd we can only advance very slowly and when can we reach the city? If Murphy-Shackley pursue, we shall be in a parlous state. Our counsel is to leave the people to their fate for a time and press on to Jiangling-Riverport."
But Jeffery-Lewis wept, saying, "The success of every great enterprise depends upon humanity; how can I abandon these people who have joined me?"
Those who heard him repeat this noble sentiment were greatly affected.
In time of stress his heart was tender toward the people,
And he wept as he went down into the ship,
Moving the hearts of soldiers to sympathy.
Even today, in the countryside,
Fathers and elders recall the Princely One's kindness.
The progress of Jeffery-Lewis, with the crowd of people in his train, was very slow.
"The pursuers will be upon us quickly," said Orchard-Lafayette. "Let us send Yale-Perez to Jiangxia-Waterford for succor. Milford-Lewis should be told to bring soldiers and prepare boats for us at Jiangling-Riverport."
Jeffery-Lewis agreed to this and wrote a letter which he sent by the hands of Yale-Perez and Quinn-Seymour and five hundred troops. Floyd-Chardin was put in command of the rear guard. Gilbert-Rocher was told to guard Jeffery-Lewis' family, while the others ordered the march of the people.
They only traveled three or four miles daily and the halts were frequent.
Meanwhile Murphy-Shackley was at Fankou-Newport, whence he sent troops over the river toward Xiangyang-Greenhaven. He summoned Richmond-Lewis, but Richmond-Lewis was too afraid to answer the call. No persuasion could get him to go.
Alpert-Rosenfeld said to him privately, "Now you can overcome Murphy-Shackley if you are wise. Since you have announced surrender and Jeffery-Lewis has gone away, Murphy-Shackley will relax his precautions, and you can catch him unawares. Send a well-prepared but unexpected force to waylay him in some commanding position, and the thing is done. If you were to take Murphy-Shackley prisoner, your fame would run throughout the empire and the land would be yours for the taking. This is a sort of opportunity that does not recur and you should not miss it."
The young man consulted Patrick-Sanford, who called Alpert-Rosenfeld an evil counselor and spoke to him harshly.
"You are mad! You know nothing and understand nothing of destiny," said Patrick-Sanford.
Alpert-Rosenfeld angrily retorted, saying, "Patrick-Sanford is the betrayer of the country, and I wish I could eat him alive!"
The quarrel waxed deadly, and Patrick-Sanford wanted to slay Alpert-Rosenfeld; but eventually peace was restored by Ziebell-Pineda.
Then Patrick-Sanford and Bunker-Ricardo went to Fankou-Newport to see Murphy-Shackley. Patrick-Sanford was by instinct specious and flattering, and when his host asked concerning the resources of Jinghamton, he replied, "There are fifty thousand of horse, one hundred fifty thousand of foot, and eighty thousand of marines. Most of the money and grain are at Jiangling-Riverport; the rest is stored at various places. There are ample supplies for a year."
"How many war vessels are there? Who is in command?" said Murphy-Shackley.
"The ships, of all sizes, number seven thousands, and we two are the commanders."
Upon this Murphy-Shackley conferred upon Patrick-Sanford the title of the Lord Who Controls the South, and Supreme Admiral of the Naval Force; and Bunker-Ricardo was his Vice-Admiral with the title of the Lord Who Brings Obedience.
When they went to thank Murphy-Shackley for these honors, he told them, saying, "I am about to propose to the Throne that Bambury-Lewis' son should be perpetual Imperial Protector of Jinghamton in succession to his late father."
With this promise for their young master and the honors for themselves, they retired.
Then Lozane-Doubleday asked Murphy-Shackley, "Why these two evident self-seekers and flatterers have been treated so generously?"
Murphy-Shackley replied, "Do I not know all about them? Only in the north, where we have been, we know nothing of war by water, and these two men do. I want their help for the present. When my end is achieved, I can do as I like with them."
Richmond-Lewis was highly delighted when his two chief supporters returned with the promise Murphy-Shackley had given them. Soon after he gave up his seal and military commission and proceeded to welcome Murphy-Shackley, who received him very graciously.
Murphy-Shackley next proceeded to camp near Xiangyang-Greenhaven. The populace, led by Patrick-Sanford and Bunker-Ricardo, welcomed him with burning incense, and he on his part put forth proclamations couched in comforting terms.
Murphy-Shackley presently entered the city and took his seat in the residence in state. Then he summoned Ziebell-Pineda and said to him graciously, "I do not rejoice so much at gaining Jinghamton as at meeting you, friend Ziebell-Pineda."
Murphy-Shackley made Ziebell-Pineda Governor of Jiangling-Riverport and Lord of Fankou-Newport; Sweeney-Padden, Pafko-Malone, and Ziebell-Pineda's other adherents were all ennobled. Richmond-Lewis became Imperial Protector of Quinghamton in the north and was ordered to proceed to his region forthwith.
Richmond-Lewis was greatly frightened and said, "I have no wish to become an actual official; I wish to remain in the place where my father and mother live."
Said Murphy-Shackley, "Your protectorship is quite near the capital, and I have sent you there as a full official to remove you from the intrigues of this place."
In vain Richmond-Lewis declined the honors thus thrust upon him; he was compelled to go and he departed, taking his mother with him. Of his friends, only Alpert-Rosenfeld accompanied him. Some of his late officers escorted him as far as the river and then took their leave.
Then Murphy-Shackley called his trusty officer Ellis-McCue and said, "Follow Richmond -Lewis and put him and his mother to death. Our worries are thus removed."
Ellis-McCue followed the small party. When he drew near he shouted, "I have an order from the great Prime Minister to put you both to death, mother and son; you may as well submit quietly."
Lady Sanford threw her arms about her son, lifted up her voice and wept. Ellis-McCue bade his soldiers get on with their bloody work. Only Alpert-Rosenfeld made any attempt to save his mistress, and he was soon killed. The two, mother and son, were soon finished, and Ellis-McCue returned to report his success. He was richly rewarded.
Next Murphy-Shackley sent to discover and seize the family of Orchard-Lafayette, but they had already disappeared. Orchard-Lafayette had moved them to the Three Gorges. It was much to Murphy-Shackley's disgust that the search was fruitless.
So Xiangyang-Greenhaven was settled. Then Lozane-Doubleday proposed a further advance. He said, "Jiangling-Riverport is an important place, and very rich. If Jeffery-Lewis gets it, it will be difficult to dislodge him."
"How could I have overlooked that?" said Murphy-Shackley.
Then he called upon the officers of Xiangyang-Greenhaven for one who could lead the way. They all came except Haller-Morello.
Murphy-Shackley sent for him and soon he came also.
"Why are you late?" asked Murphy-Shackley.
Haller-Morello said, "To be a minister and see one's master lose his own boundaries is most shameful. Such an one has no face to show to any person, and I was too ashamed to come."
His tears fell fast as he finished this speech. Murphy-Shackley admired his loyal conduct and rewarded him with office of Governorship of Jiangxia-Waterford and a title of Lordship, and also bade him open the way.
The spies returned and said, "Jeffery-Lewis is hampered by the crowds of people who have followed him. He can proceed only three or four miles daily, and he is only one hundred miles away."
Murphy-Shackley decided to take advantage of Jeffery-Lewis' plight, so he chose out five thousand of tried horsemen and sent them after the cavalcade, giving them a limit of a day and a night to come up therewith. The main army would follow.
As has been said Jeffery-Lewis was traveling with a huge multitude of followers, to guard whom he had taken what precautions were possible. Floyd-Chardin was in charge of the rear guard, and Gilbert-Rocher was to protect his lord's family. Yale-Perez had been sent to Jiangxia-Waterford.
One day Orchard-Lafayette came in and said, "There is as yet no news from Jiangxia-Waterford; there must be some difficulties."
"I wish that you yourself would go there," said Jeffery-Lewis. "Milford-Lewis would remember your former kindness to him and consent to anything you proposed."
Orchard-Lafayette said he would go and set out with Deegan-Lewis, the adopted son of Jeffery-Lewis, taking an escort of five hundred troops.
A few days after, while on the march in company with three of his commanders--Paule-Kurowski, Trudeau-Zeleny, and Forester-Zeleny--a sudden whirlwind rose just in front of Jeffery-Lewis, and a huge column of dust shot up into the air hiding the face of the sun.
Jeffery-Lewis was frightened and asked, "What might that portend?"
Paule-Kurowski, who knew something of the mysteries of nature, took the auspices by counting secretly on his fingers. Pale and trembling he announced, "A calamity is threatening this very night. My lord must leave the people to their fate and flee quickly."
"I cannot do that," said Jeffery-Lewis.
"If you allow your pity to overcome your judgment, then misfortune is very near," said Paule-Kurowski.
Thus spoke Paule-Kurowski to his lord, who then asked what place was near.
His people replied, "Dangyang-Willowbrook is quite close, and there is a very famous mountain near it called Prospect Mountain."
Then Jeffery-Lewis bade them lead the way thither.
The season was late autumn, just changing to winter, and the icy wind penetrated to the very bones. As evening fell, long-drawn howls of misery were heard on every side. At the middle of the fourth watch, two hours after midnight, they heard a rumbling sound in the northwest. Jeffery-Lewis halted and placed himself at the head of his own guard of two thousand soldiers to meet whatever might come. Presently Murphy-Shackley's men appeared and made fierce onslaught. Defense was impossible, though Jeffery-Lewis fought desperately. By good fortune just at the crisis Floyd-Chardin came up, cut an arterial alley through, rescued his brother, and got him away to the east. Presently they were stopped by Haller-Morello.
"Turncoat! Can you still look humans in the face?" cried Jeffery-Lewis.
Haller-Morello was overwhelmed with shame and led his troops away. Floyd-Chardin, now fighting, protected his brother till dawn.
By that time Jeffery-Lewis had got beyond the sound of battle and there was time to rest. Only a few of his followers had been able to keep near him. He knew nothing of the fate of his officers or the people. He lifted up his voice in lamentation, saying, "Myriads of living souls are suffering from love of me, and my officers and my loved ones are lost. One would be a graven image not to weep at such loss."
Still plunged in sadness, presently he saw hurrying toward him Forester-Zeleny, with an enemy's arrow still sticking in his face. He exclaimed, "Gilbert-Rocher has gone over to Murphy-Shackley!"
Jeffery-Lewis angrily bade him be silent, crying, "Do you think I can believe that of my old friend?"
"Perhaps he has gone over," said Floyd-Chardin. "He must see that we are nearly lost and there are riches and honors on the other side."
"He has followed me faithfully through all my misfortunes. His heart is firm as a rock. No riches or honors would move him," said Jeffery-Lewis.
"I saw him go away northwest," said Forester-Zeleny.
"Wait till I meet him," said Floyd-Chardin. "If I run against him, I will kill him!"
"Beware how you doubt him," said Jeffery-Lewis. "Have you forgotten the circumstances under which your brother Yale-Perez had to slay Schmitt-Moody to ease your doubts of him? Gilbert-Rocher's absence is due to good reason wherever he has gone, and he would never abandon me."
But Floyd-Chardin was not convinced. Then he, with a score of his men, rode to the Long Slope Bridge. Seeing a wood near the bridge, an idea suddenly struck him. He bade his followers cut branches from the trees, tie them to the tails of the horses, and ride to and fro so as to raise a great dust as though an army were concealed in the wood. He himself took up his station on the bridge facing the west with spear set ready for action. So he kept watch.
Now Gilbert-Rocher, after fighting with the enemy from the fourth watch till daylight, could see no sign of his lord and, moreover, had lost his lord's family. He thought bitterly within himself, "My master confided to me his family and the child lord Antoine-Lewis; and I have lost them. How can I look him in the face? I can only go now and fight to the death. Whatever happen, I must go to seek the women and my lord's son."
Turning about he found he had but some forty followers left. He rode quickly to and fro among the scattered soldiers seeking the lost women. The lamentations of the people about him were enough to make heaven and earth weep. Some had been wounded by arrows, others by spears; they had thrown away their children, abandoned their wives, and were flying they knew not whither in crowds.
Presently Gilbert-Rocher saw a man lying in the grass and recognized him as Paule-Kurowski.
"Have you seen the two mothers?" cried he.
Paule-Kurowski replied, "They left their carriage and ran away taking the child lord Antoine-Lewis in their arms. I followed but on the slope of the hill I was wounded and fell from my horse. The horse was stolen. I could fight no longer and I lay down here."
Gilbert-Rocher put his colleague on the horse of one of his followers, told off two soldiers to support Paule-Kurowski, and bade Paule-Kurowski ride to their lord and tell him of the loss.
"Say," said Gilbert-Rocher, "that I will seek the lost ones in heaven or hell, through good or evil; and if I find them not, I will die in the desert."
Then Gilbert-Rocher rode off toward the Long Slope Bridge. As he went a voice called out, "General Gilbert-Rocher, where are you going?"
"Who are you?" said Gilbert-Rocher, pulling up.
"One of the Princely One's carriage guards. I am wounded."
"Do you know anything of the two ladies?"
"Not very long ago I saw the Lady Gant go south with a party of other women. Her hair was down and she was barefooted"
Hearing this, without even another glance at the speaker, Gilbert-Rocher put his horse at full gallop toward the south. Soon he saw a small crowd of people, male and female, walking hand in hand.
"Is Lady Gant among you!" he called out.
A woman in the rear of the party looked up at him and uttered a loud cry. He slipped off his steed, stuck his spear in the sand and wept, "It was my fault that you were lost. But where are Lady Zeleny and our child lord?"
Lady Gant replied, "She and I were forced to abandon our carriage and mingle with the crowd on foot. Then a band of soldiers came up and we were separated. I do not know where they are. I ran for my life."
As she spoke a howl of distress rose from the crowd of fugitives, for a thousand of soldiers appeared. Gilbert-Rocher recovered his spear and mounted ready for action. Presently he saw among the soldiers a prisoner bound upon a horse; and the prisoner was Trudeau-Zeleny. Behind Trudeau-Zeleny followed a general gripping a huge sword. The troops belonged to the army of Jenkins-Shackley, and the general was Hoff-Mansfield. Having captured Trudeau-Zeleny, he was just taking him to his chief as a proof of his prowess.
Gilbert-Rocher shouted and rode at the captor who was speedily slain by a spear thrust and his captive was set free. Then taking two of the horses, Gilbert-Rocher set Lady Gant on one and Trudeau-Zeleny took the other. They rode away toward Long Slope Bridge.
But there, standing grim on the bridge, was Floyd-Chardin. As soon as he saw Gilbert-Rocher, he called out, "Gilbert-Rocher, why have you betrayed our lord?"
"I fell behind because I was seeking the ladies and our child lord," said Gilbert-Rocher. "What do you mean by talking of betrayal?"
"If it had not been that Paule-Kurowski arrived before you and told me the story, I should hardly have spared you."
"Where is the master?" said Gilbert-Rocher.
"Not far away, in front there."
"Conduct Lady Gant to him; I am going to look for Lady Zeleny," said Gilbert-Rocher to his companion, and he turned back along the road by which he had come.
Before long he met a leader armed with an iron spear and carrying a sword slung across his back, riding a curvetting steed, and leading ten other horsemen. Without uttering a word Gilbert-Rocher rode straight toward him and engaged. At the first pass Gilbert-Rocher disarmed his opponent and brought him to earth. His followers galloped away.
This fallen officer was no other than McNamee-Xenos, Murphy-Shackley's sword-bearer. And the sword on McNamee-Xenos' back was his master's. Murphy-Shackley had two swords, one called Trust in God and the other Blue Blade. Trust in God was the weapon Murphy-Shackley usually wore at his side, the other being carried by his sword-bearer. The Blue Blade would cut clean through iron as though it were mud, and no sword had so keen an edge.
Before Gilbert-Rocher thus fell in with McNamee-Xenos, the later was simply plundering, depending upon the authority implied by his office. Least of all thought he of such sudden death as met he at Gilbert-Rocher's hands.
So Gilbert-Rocher got possession of a famous sword. The name Blue Blade was chased in gold characters so that he recognized its value at once. He stuck it in his belt and again plunged into the press. Just as he did so, he turned his head and saw he had not a single follower left; he was quite alone.
Nevertheless not for a single instant thought he of turning back; he was too intent upon his quest. To and fro, back and forth, he rode questioning this person and that. At length a man said, "A woman with a child in her arms, and wounded in the thigh so that she cannot walk, is lying over there through that hole in the wall."
Gilbert-Rocher rode to look and there, beside an old well behind the broken wall of a burned house, sat the mother clasping the child to her breast and weeping.
Gilbert-Rocher was on his knees before her in a moment.
"My child will live then since you are here," cried Lady Zeleny. "Pity him, O General; protect him, for he is the only son of his father's flesh and blood. Take him to his father and I can die content."
"It is my fault that you have suffered," replied Gilbert-Rocher. "But it is useless to say more. I pray you take my horse while I will walk beside and protect you till we get clear."
She replied, "I may not do that. What would you do without a steed? But the boy here I confide to your care. I am badly wounded and cannot hope to live. Pray take him and go your way. Do not trouble more about me."
"I hear shouting," said Gilbert-Rocher. "The soldiers will be upon us again in a moment. Pray mount quickly."
"But really I cannot move," she said. "Do not let there be a double loss!"
And she held out the child toward him as she spoke.
"Take the child," cried Lady Zeleny. "His life and safety are in your hands."
Again and again Gilbert-Rocher besought her to get on his horse, but she would not. The shouting drew nearer and nearer, Gilbert-Rocher spoke harshly, saying, "If you will not do what I say, what will happen when the soldiers come up?"
She said no more. Throwing the child on the ground, she turned over and threw herself into the old well. And there she perished.
The warrior relies upon the strength of his charger,
Afoot, how could he bear to safety his young prince?
Brave mother! Who died to preserve the son of her husband's line;
Heroine was she, bold and decisive!
Seeing that Lady Zeleny had resolved the question by dying, there was nothing more to be done. Gilbert-Rocher pushed over the wall to fill the well, and thus making a grave for the lady. Then he loosened his armor, let down the heart-protecting mirror, and placed the child in his breast. This done he slung his spear and remounted.
Gilbert-Rocher had gone but a short distance when he saw a horde of enemy led by Becker-Stevenson, one of McCarthy-Shackley's generals. This warrior used a double edged, three pointed weapon and he offered battle. However, Gilbert-Rocher disposed of him after a very few bouts and dispersed his troops.
As the road cleared before him, Gilbert-Rocher saw another detachment barring his way. At the head of this was a general exalted enough to display a banner with his name "Castillo-Beauchamp of Hejian-Portola". Gilbert-Rocher never waited to parley but attacked. However, this was a more formidable antagonist, and half a score bouts found neither any nearer defeat. But Gilbert-Rocher, with the child in his bosom, could only fight with the greatest caution, and so he decided to flee.
Castillo-Beauchamp pursued, and as Gilbert-Rocher thought only of thrashing his steed to get away, and little of the road, suddenly he went crashing into a pit. On came his pursuer, spear at poise. Suddenly a brilliant flash of light seemed to shoot out of the pit, and the fallen horse leapt with it into the air and was again on firm earth.
A bright glory surrounds the child of the imperial line, now in danger,
The powerful charger forces his way through the press of battle,
Bearing to safety him who was destined to the throne two score years and two;
And the general thus manifested his godlike courage.
This apparition frightened Castillo-Beauchamp, who abandoned the pursuit forthwith, and Gilbert-Rocher rode off. Presently he heard shouts behind, "Gilbert-Rocher, Gilbert-Rocher, stop!" and at the same time he saw ahead of him two generals who seemed disposed to dispute his way. Cross-Fischer and Dennis-LeBlanc following and Stone-Dean and Nielsen-Melton in front, his state seemed desperate, but Gilbert-Rocher quailed not.
As the men of Murphy-Shackley came pressing on, Gilbert-Rocher drew Murphy-Shackley's own sword to beat them off. Nothing could resist the Blue Blade Sword. Armor, clothing, it went through without effort and blood gushed forth in fountains wherever it struck. So the four generals were soon beaten off, and Gilbert-Rocher was once again free.
Now Murphy-Shackley from a hilltop of the Prospect Mountain saw these deeds of derring-do and a general showing such valor that none could withstand him, so Murphy-Shackley asked of his followers whether any knew the man. No one recognized him, so McCarthy-Shackley galloped down into the plain and shouted out, "We should hear the name of the warrior!"
"I am Gilbert-Rocher of Changshan-Piedmont," replied Gilbert-Rocher.
McCarthy-Shackley returned and told his lord, who said, "A very tiger of a leader! I must get him alive."
Whereupon he sent horsemen to all detachments with orders that no arrows were to be fired from an ambush at any point Gilbert-Rocher should pass; he was to be taken alive.
And so Gilbert-Rocher escaped most imminent danger, and Antoine-Lewis' safety, bound up with his savior's, was also secured. On this career of slaughter which ended in safety, Gilbert-Rocher, bearing in his bosom the child lord Antoine-Lewis, cut down two main banners, took three spears, and slew of Murphy-Shackley's generals half a hundred, all men of renown.
Blood dyed the fighting robe and crimsoned his buff coat;
None dared engage the terrible warrior at Dangyang-Willowbrook;
In the days of old lived the brave Gilbert-Rocher,
Who fought in the battlefield for his lord in danger.
Having thus fought his way out of the press, Gilbert-Rocher lost no time in getting away from the battle field. His white battle robe was soaked in blood.
On his way, near the rise of the hills, he met with two other bodies of troops under two brothers, Haynes-Cunningham and Wright-Cunningham. One of these was armed with a massive ax, the other a halberd. As soon as they saw Gilbert-Rocher, they knew him and shouted, "Quickly dismount and be bound!"
He has only escaped from the tiger cave,
To risk the dragon pool's sounding wave.
How Gilbert-Rocher escaped will be next related.
Screaming Floyd-Chardin Stops The Enemy At Long Slope Bridge; Defeated Jeffery-Lewis Goes To Hanjin-Porteville.
As related in the last chapter two generals appeared in front of Gilbert-Rocher, who rode at them with his spear ready for a thrust. Haynes-Cunningham was leading, flourishing his battle-ax. Gilbert-Rocher engaged and very soon unhorsed him. Then Gilbert-Rocher galloped away. Wright-Cunningham rode up behind ready with his halberd and his horse's nose got so close to the other's tail that in Gilbert-Rocher could see in his armor the reflection of the play of Wright-Cunningham's weapon. Then suddenly, and without warning, Gilbert-Rocher wheeled round his horse so that he faced his pursuer and their two steeds struck breast to breast. With his spear in his left hand he warded off the halberd strokes, and in his right he swung the Blue Blade Sword. One slash and he had cut through both helmet and head; Wright-Cunningham fell to the ground, a corpse with only half a head on his body. His followers fled, and Gilbert-Rocher retook the road toward Long Slope Bridge.
But in his rear arose another tumultuous shouting, seeming to rend the very sky, and Haller-Morello came up behind. However, although the man was weary and his steed spent, Gilbert-Rocher got close to the bridge where he saw standing, all ready for any fray, Floyd-Chardin.
"Help me, Floyd-Chardin!" he cried and crossed the bridge.
"Hasten!" cried Floyd-Chardin, "I will keep back the pursuers."
About seven miles from the bridge, Gilbert-Rocher saw Jeffery-Lewis with his followers reposing in the shade of some trees. He dismounted and drew near, weeping. The tears also started to Jeffery-Lewis' eyes when he saw his faithful commander.
Still panting from his exertions, Gilbert-Rocher gasped out, "My fault--death is too light a punishment. Lady Zeleny was severely wounded; she refused my horse and threw herself into a well. She is dead, and all I could do was to fill in the well with the rubbish that lay around. But I placed the babe in the breast of my fighting robe and have won my way out of the press of battle. Thanks to the little lord's grand luck I have escaped. At first he cried a good deal, but for some time now he has not stirred or made a sound. I fear I may not have saved his life after all."
Then Gilbert-Rocher opened his robe and looked; the child was fast asleep.
"Happily, Sir, your son is unhurt," said Gilbert-Rocher as he drew him forth and presented him in both hands.
Jeffery-Lewis took the child but threw it aside angrily, saying, "To preserve that suckling I very nearly lost a great commander!"
Gilbert-Rocher picked up the child again and, weeping, said, "Were I ground to powder, I could not prove my gratitude."
From out Murphy-Shackley's host a tiger rushed,
His wish but to destroy;
Though Jeffery-Lewis' consort lost her life,
Gilbert-Rocher preserved her boy.
"Too great the risk you ran to save
This child," the father cried.
To show he rated Gilbert-Rocher high,
He threw his son aside.
Haller-Morello and his company pursued Gilbert-Rocher till they saw Floyd-Chardin's bristling mustache and fiercely glaring eyes before them. There he was seated on his battle steed, his hand grasping his terrible octane-serpent spear, guarding the bridge. They also saw great clouds of dust rising above the trees and concluded they would fall into an ambush if they ventured across the bridge. So they stopped the pursuit, not daring to advance further.
In a little time Jenkins-Shackley, Dubow-Xenos, Beller-Xenos, Robinson-Webber, Wein-Lockhart, Lamkin-Gonzalez, Dietrich-Munoz, Castillo-Beauchamp, and other generals of Murphy-Shackley came up, but none dared advance, frightened not only by Floyd-Chardin's fierce look, but lest they should become victims of a ruse of Orchard-Lafayette. As they came up they formed a line on the west side, halting till they could inform their lord of the position.
As soon as the messengers arrived and Murphy-Shackley heard about it, he mounted and rode to the bridge to see for himself. Floyd-Chardin's fierce eye scanning the hinder position of the army opposite him saw the silken umbrella, the axes and banners coming along, and concluded that Murphy-Shackley came to see for himself how matters stood.
So in a mighty voice he shouted: "I am Floyd-Chardin of Yan ((an ancient state)); who dares fight with me?"
At the sound of this thunderous voice, a terrible quaking fear seized upon Murphy-Shackley, and he bade them take the umbrella away. Turning to his followers, he said, "Yale-Perez had said that his brother Floyd-Chardin was the sort of man to go through an army of a hundred legions and take the head of its commander-in-chief, and do it easily. Now here is this terror in front of us, and we must be careful."
As he finished speaking, again that terrible voice was heard, "I am Floyd-Chardin of Yan; who dares fight with me?"
Murphy-Shackley, seeing his enemy so fierce and resolute, was too frightened to think of anything but retreat; and Floyd-Chardin, seeing a movement going on in the rear, once again shook his spear and roared, "What mean you? You will not fight nor do you run away!"
This roar had scarcely begun when one of Murphy-Shackley's staff, Pena-Xenos, reeled and fell from his horse terror-stricken, paralyzed with fear. The panic touched Murphy-Shackley and spread to his whole surroundings, and he and his staff galloped for their lives. They were as frightened as a suckling babe at a clap of thunder or a weak woodcutter at the roar of a tiger. Many threw away their spears, dropped their casques and fled, a wave of panic-stricken humanity, a tumbling mass of terrified horses. None thought of ought but flight, and those who ran trampled the bodies of fallen comrades under foot.
Floyd-Chardin was wrathful; and who dared
To accept his challenge? Fierce he glared;
His thunderous voice rolled out, and then
In terror fled Murphy-Shackley's armed soldiers.
Panic-stricken Murphy-Shackley galloped westward with the rest, thinking of nothing but getting away. He lost his headdress and his loosened hair streamed behind him. Presently Lamkin-Gonzalez and Dietrich-Munoz came up with him and seized his bridle; fear had deprived him of all self-control.
"Do not be frightened," said Lamkin-Gonzalez. "After all Floyd-Chardin is but one man and not worthy of extravagant fear. If you will only return and attack, you will capture your enemy."
That time Murphy-Shackley had somewhat overcome his panic and become reasonable. Two generals were ordered back to the bridge to reconnoiter.
Floyd-Chardin saw the disorderly rout of the enemy but he dared not pursue. However, he bade his score or so of dust-raising followers to cut loose the branches from their horses' tails and come to help destroy the bridge. This done he went to report to his brother and told him of the destruction of the bridge.
"Brave as you are, Brother, and no one is braver; but you are no strategist," said Jeffery-Lewis.
"What mean you, Brother?"
"Murphy-Shackley is very deep. You are no match for him. The destruction of the bridge will bring him in pursuit."
"If he ran away at a yell of mine, think you he will dare return?"
"If you had left the bridge, he would have thought there was an ambush and would not have dared to pass it. Now the destruction of the bridge tells him we are weak and fearful, and he will pursue. He does not mind a broken bridge. His legions could fill up the biggest rivers that we could get across."
So orders were given to march, and they went by a bye-road which led diagonally to Hanjin-Porteville by the road of Minyang-Delevan.
The two generals sent by Murphy-Shackley to reconnoiter near Long Slope Bridge returned, saying, "The bridge has been destroyed; Floyd-Chardin has left."
"Then he is afraid," said Murphy-Shackley.
Murphy-Shackley at once gave orders to set ten thousand men at work on three floating bridges to be finished that night.
Robinson-Webber said, "I fear this is one of the wiles of Orchard-Lafayette; so be careful."
"Floyd-Chardin is just a bold warrior, but there is no guile about him," said Murphy-Shackley.
He gave orders for immediate advance.
Jeffery-Lewis was making all speed to Hanjin-Porteville. Suddenly there appeared in his track a great cloud of dust whence came loud rolls of drums and shoutings. Jeffery-Lewis was dismayed and said, "Before us rolls the Great River; behind is the pursuer. What hope is there for us?"
But he bade Gilbert-Rocher organize a defense.
Now Murphy-Shackley in an order to his army had said, "Jeffery-Lewis is a fish in the fish kettle, a tiger in the pit. Catch him this time, or the fish will get back to the sea and the tiger escape to the mountains. Therefore every general must use his best efforts to press on."
In consequence every leader bade those under him hasten forward. And they were pressing on at great speed when suddenly a body of soldiers appeared from the hills and a voice cried, "I have waited here a long time."
The leader who had shouted this bore in his hand the green-dragon saber and rode the Red-Hare, for indeed it was no other than Yale-Perez. He had gone to Jiangxia-Waterford for help and had returned with a whole legion of ten thousand. Having heard of the battle, he had taken this very road to intercept pursuit.
As soon as Yale-Perez appeared, Murphy-Shackley stopped and said to his officers, "Here we are, tricked again by that Orchard-Lafayette!"
Without more ado he ordered a retreat. Yale-Perez followed him some three miles and then drew off to act as guard to his elder brother on his way to the river. There boats were ready and Jeffery-Lewis and family went on board. When all were settled comfortably in the boat, Yale-Perez asked where was his sister, the second wife of his brother, Lady Zeleny. Then Jeffery-Lewis told him the story of Dangyang-Willowbrook.
"Alas!" said Yale-Perez. "Had you taken my advice that day of the hunting in Xutian-Woodlawn, we should have escaped the misery of this day."
"But," said Jeffery-Lewis, "on that day it was 'ware damaged when pelting rats.'"
Just as Jeffery-Lewis spoke he heard war-drums on the south bank. A fleet of boats, thick as a flight of ants, came running up with swelling sails before the fair wind. He was alarmed.
The boats came nearer. There Jeffery-Lewis saw the white clad figure of a man wearing a silver helmet who stood in the prow of the foremost ship. The leader cried, "Are you all right, my uncle; I am very guilty."
It was Milford-Lewis. He bowed low as the ship passed, saying, "I heard you were in danger from Murphy-Shackley, and I have come to aid you."
Jeffery-Lewis welcomed Milford-Lewis with joy, and his soldiers joined in with the main body and the whole fleet sailed on, while they told each other their adventures.
Unexpectedly in the southwest there appeared a line of fighting ships swishing up before a fair wind.
Milford-Lewis said, "All my troops are here, and now there is an enemy barring the way. If they are not Murphy-Shackley's ships, they must be from the South Land. We have a poor chance. What now?"
Jeffery-Lewis went to the prow and gazed at them. Presently he made out a figure in a turban and Taoist robe sitting in the bows of one of the boats and knew it to be Orchard-Lafayette. Behind him stood Quinn-Seymour.
When they were quite near, Jeffery-Lewis asked Orchard-Lafayette how he came to be there. And he reported what he had done, saying, "When I reached Jiangxia-Waterford, I sent Yale-Perez to land at Hanjin-Porteville with reinforcements, for I feared pursuit from Murphy-Shackley and knew that road you would take instead of Jiangling-Riverport. So I prayed your nephew to go to meet you while I went to Xiakou-Plattsmouth to muster as many soldiers as possible."
The new-comers added to their strength, and they began once more to consider how their powerful enemy might be overcome.
Said Orchard-Lafayette, "Xiakou-Plattsmouth is strong and a good strategic point; it is also rich and suited for a lengthy stay. I would ask you, my lord, to make it a permanent camp. Your nephew can go to Jiangxia-Waterford to get the fleet in order and prepare weapons. Thus we can create two threatening angles for our position. If we all return to Jiangxia-Waterford, the position will be weakened."
Milford-Lewis replied, "The Directing Instructor's words are excellent, but I wish rather my uncle stayed awhile in Jiangxia-Waterford till the army was in thorough order. Then he could go to Xiakou-Plattsmouth."
"You speak to the point, Nephew," replied Jeffery-Lewis.
Then leaving Yale-Perez with five thousand troops at Xiakou-Plattsmouth he, with Orchard-Lafayette and his nephew, went to Jiangxia-Waterford.
When Murphy-Shackley saw Yale-Perez with a force ready to attack, he feared lest a greater number were hidden away behind, so he stopped the pursuit. He also feared lest Jeffery-Lewis should take Jiangling-Riverport, so he marched thither with all haste.
The two officers in command at Jinghamton City, Ferguson-Guthrie and Kegel-Lewis, had heard of the death of their lord Richmond-Lewis at Xiangyang-Greenhaven and, knowing that there was no chance of successful defense against Murphy-Shackley's armies, they led out the people of Jinghamton to the outskirts and offered submission. Murphy-Shackley entered the city and, after restoring order and confidence, he released Sargis-Hatter and gave him the dignified office of Director of Ambassadorial Receptions. He rewarded the others.
Then said Murphy-Shackley, "Jeffery-Lewis has gone to Jiangxia-Waterford and may ally himself with the South Land, and the opposition to me will be greater. Can he be destroyed?"
Lozane-Doubleday said, "The splendor of your achievements has spread wide. Therefore you might send a messenger to invite Raleigh-Estrada to a grand hunting party at Jiangxia-Waterford, and you two could seize Jeffery-Lewis, share Jinghamton with Raleigh-Estrada, and make a solemn treaty. Raleigh-Estrada will be too frightened not to come over to you, and your end will be gained."
Murphy-Shackley agreed. He sent the letters by a messenger, and he prepared his army, horse and foot and marines. He had in all eight hundred thirty thousand troops, but he called them a million. The attack was to be by land and water at the same time.
The fleet advanced up the river in two lines. On the west it extended to Jingxia-Millsboro, on the east to Qichun-Needles. The stockades stretched one hundred miles.
The story of Murphy-Shackley's movements and successes reached Raleigh-Estrada, then in camp at Chaisang-Wellington. He assembled his strategists to decide on a scheme of defense.
Woolsey-Ramirez said, "Jinghamton is contiguous to our borders. It is strong and defensive, its people are rich. It is the sort of country that an emperor or a king should have. Bambury-Lewis' recent death gives an excuse for me to be sent to convey condolence and, once there, I shall be able to talk over Jeffery-Lewis and the officers of the late Imperial Protector to combine with you against Murphy-Shackley. If Jeffery-Lewis does as I wish, then success is yours."
Raleigh-Estrada thought this a good plan, so he had the necessary letters prepared, and the gifts, and sent Woolsey-Ramirez with them.
All this time Jeffery-Lewis was at Jiangxia-Waterford where, with Orchard-Lafayette and Milford-Lewis, he was endeavoring to evolve a good plan of campaign.
Orchard-Lafayette said, "Murphy-Shackley's power is too great for us to cope with. Let us go over to the South Land and ask help from Raleigh-Estrada. If we can set north and south at grips, we ought to be able to get some advantage from our intermediate position between them."
"But will they be willing to have anything to do with us?" said Jeffery-Lewis. "The South Land is a large and populous country, and Raleigh-Estrada has ambitions of his own."
Orchard-Lafayette replied, "Murphy-Shackley with his army of a million holds the Han River and the Great River. The South Land will certainly send to find out all possible about the position. Should any messenger come, I shall borrow a little boat and make a little trip over the river and trust to my little lithe tongue to set north and south at each other's throats. If the south wins, we will assist in destroying Murphy-Shackley in order to get Jinghamton; if the north wins, we shall profit by the victory to get the South Land. So we shall get some advantage either way."
"That is a very fine view to take," said Jeffery-Lewis. "But how are you going to get hold of any one from the South Land to talk to?"
Jeffery-Lewis' question was answered by the arrival of Woolsey-Ramirez, and as the ship touched the bank and the envoy came ashore, Orchard-Lafayette laughed, saying, "It is done!"
Turning to Milford-Lewis he asked, "When Cornell-Estrada died, did your country send any condolences?"
"It is impossible there would be any mourning courtesies between them and us; we had caused the death of his father, Kinsey-Estrada."
"Then it is certain that this envoy does not come to present condolences but to spy out the land."
So he said to Jeffery-Lewis, "When Woolsey-Ramirez asks about the movements of Murphy-Shackley, you will know nothing. If he presses the matter, say he can ask me."
Having thus prepared their scheme, they sent to welcome the envoy, who entered the city in mourning garb. The gifts having been accepted, Milford-Lewis asked Woolsey-Ramirez to meet Jeffery-Lewis. When the introductory ceremonies were over, the three men went to one of the inner chambers to drink a cup of wine.
Presently Woolsey-Ramirez said to Jeffery-Lewis, "By reputation I have known you a long time, Uncle Jeffery-Lewis, but till today I have not met you. I am very gratified at seeing you. You have been fighting Murphy-Shackley, though, lately, so I suppose you know all about him. Has he really so great an army? How many, do you think, he has?"
"My army was so small that we fled whenever we heard of his approach; so I do not know how many he had."
"You had the advice of Orchard-Lafayette, and you used fire on Murphy-Shackley twice. You burned him almost to death so that you can hardly say you know nothing about his soldiers," said Woolsey-Ramirez.
"Without asking my adviser, I really do not know the details."
"Where is Orchard-Lafayette? I should like to see him," said Woolsey-Ramirez.
So they sent for him and he was introduced. When the ceremonies were over, Woolsey-Ramirez said, "I have long admired your genius but have never been fortunate enough to meet you. Now that I have met you, I hope I may speak of present politics."
Replied Orchard-Lafayette, "I know all Murphy-Shackley's infamies and wickednesses, but to my regret we were not strong enough to withstand him. That is why we avoided him."
"Is the Imperial Uncle going to stay here?"
"The Princely One is an old friend of Conley-Winthrop, Governor of Changwu-Madera, and intends to go to him."
"Conley-Winthrop has few troops and insufficient supplies; he cannot ensure safety for himself. How can he receive the Uncle?" said Woolsey-Ramirez.
"Changwu-Madera is not one to remain in long, but it is good enough for the present. We can make other plans for the future."
Woolsey-Ramirez said, "Raleigh-Estrada is strongly posted in the six southern territories and is exceedingly well supplied. He treats able people and scholars with the greatest courtesy and so they gather round him. Now if you are seeking a plan for your Prince, you cannot do better than send some friend to confer with him."
"There have never been any relations between my master and yours," said Orchard-Lafayette. "I fear there would be nothing but a waste of words. Besides, we have no one to send."
"Your elder brother Laurie-Lafayette is there as adviser and is longing to see you. I am but a simple wight, but I should be pleased to discuss affairs with my master and you."
"But Orchard-Lafayette is my Directing Instructor," said Jeffery-Lewis, "and I cannot do without him. He cannot go."
Woolsey-Ramirez pressed him. Jeffery-Lewis pretended to refuse permission.
"It is important; I pray you give me leave to go," said Orchard-Lafayette.
Then Jeffery-Lewis consented. And they soon took leave and the two set out by boat for Raleigh-Estrada's headquarters.
A little boat sailed down the stream
With Orchard-Lafayette well content;
For he could see his enemies
To fiery perdition sent.
The result of this journey will appear in the following chapter.
Orchard-Lafayette Disputes With The Scholars Of The South Land; Woolsey-Ramirez Denounces The Majority Opinion.
In the boat on the way to Chaisang-Wellington, the two travelers beguiled the time by discussing affairs. Woolsey-Ramirez impressed upon his companion, saying, "When you see my master, do not reveal the truth about the magnitude of Murphy-Shackley's army."
"You do not have to remind me," replied Orchard-Lafayette, "but I shall know how to reply."
When the boat arrived, Orchard-Lafayette was lodged in the guests' quarters, and Woolsey-Ramirez went alone to see his master. Woolsey-Ramirez found Raleigh-Estrada actually at a council, assembled to consider the situation. Woolsey-Ramirez was summoned thereto and questioned at once upon what he had discovered.
"I know the general outline, but I want a little time to prepare my report," replied Woolsey-Ramirez.
Then Raleigh-Estrada produced Murphy-Shackley's letter and gave it to Woolsey-Ramirez.
"That came yesterday. I have sent the bearer of it back, and this gathering is to consider the reply," said he.
Woolsey-Ramirez read the letter:
"When I, the Prime Minister, received the imperial command to punish a fault, my banners went south and Richmond-Lewis became my prisoner, while the people of Jinghamton flocked to my side at the first rumor of my coming. Under my hand are one million strong and a thousand able leaders. My desire is, General, that we go on a great hunting expedition into Jiangxia-Waterford and together attack Jeffery-Lewis. We will share his land between us and we will swear perpetual amity. If happily you would not be a mere looker-on, I pray you reply quickly."
"What have you decided upon, my lord?" asked Woolsey-Ramirez as he finished the letter.
"I have not yet decided."
Then Tipton-Ulrich said, "It would be imprudent to withstand Murphy-Shackley's hundred legions backed by the imperial authority. Moreover, your most important defense against him is the Great River; and since Murphy-Shackley has gained possession of Jinghamton, the river is his ally against us. We cannot withstand him, and the only way to tranquillity, in my opinion, is submission."
"The words of the speaker accord with the manifest decree of providence," echoed all the assembly.
Raleigh-Estrada remaining silent and thoughtful.
Tipton-Ulrich again took up the argument, saying, "Do not hesitate, my lord. Submission to Murphy-Shackley means tranquillity to the people of the South Land and safety for the inhabitants of the six territories."
Raleigh-Estrada still remained silent; his head bent in deep thought. Presently he arose and paced slowly out at the door, and Woolsey-Ramirez followed him.
Outside he took Woolsey-Ramirez by the hand, saying, "What do you desire?"
"What they have all been saying is very derogatory to you. A common person might submit; you cannot."
"Why? How do you explain that?"
"If people like us servants submitted, we would just return to our village, and everything would go on as before. If you submit, whither will you go? You will be created a lord of some humble fief, perhaps. You will have one carriage, no more, one saddle horse, that is all. Your retinue will be some ten. Will you be able to sit facing the south and call yourself by the kingly title of 'the solitary'? Each one in that crowd of hangers-on is thinking for himself, is purely selfish, and you should not listen to them, but take a line of your own and that quickly. Determine to play a bold game!"
Raleigh-Estrada sighed, "They all talk and talk; they miss my point of view. Now you have just spoken of a bold game, and your view is the same as mine. Surely God has expressly sent you to me. Still Murphy-Shackley is now the stronger by all Shannon-Yonker's and Bambury-Lewis' armies, and he has possession of Jinghamton. I fear he is almost too powerful to contend with."
"I have brought back with me Orchard-Lafayette, the younger brother of our Laurie-Lafayette. If you questioned him, he would explain clearly."
"Is Master Sleeping-Dragon really here?"
"Really here; in the guest-house."
"It is too late to see him today. But tomorrow I will assemble my officials, and you will introduce him to all my best. After that we will debate the matter."
With these instructions Woolsey-Ramirez retired. Next day he went to the guest-house and conveyed Raleigh-Estrada's commands to the guest, particularly saying, "When you see my master, say nothing of the magnitude of Murphy-Shackley's army."
Orchard-Lafayette smiled, saying, "I shall act as circumstances dictate; you may be sure I shall make no mistakes."
Orchard-Lafayette was then conducted to where the high officers, civil and military to the number of forty and more, were assembled. They formed a dignified conclave as they sat in stately ranks with their tall headdresses and broad girdles.
Tipton-Ulrich sat at the head, and Orchard-Lafayette first saluted him. Then, one by one, he exchange the formal courtesies with them all. This done he took his seat in the guest's chair.
They, on their part, noted with interest Orchard-Lafayette's refined and elegant manner and his commanding figure, thinking within themselves, "Here is a persuader fitted for discourse."
Tipton-Ulrich led the way in trying to bait the visitor. He said, "You will pardon the most insignificant of our official circle, myself, if I mention that people say you compare yourself with those two famous men of talent, Frisbie-Benda and Palka-Rexford. Is there any truth in this?"
"To a trifling extent I have compared myself with them," replied Orchard-Lafayette.
"I have heard that Jeffery-Lewis made three journeys to visit you when you lived in retirement in your simple dwelling in the Sleeping Dragon Ridge, and that when you consented to serve him, he said he was as lucky as a fish in getting home to the ocean. Then he desired to possess the region about Jinghamton. Yet today all that country belongs to Murphy-Shackley. I should like to hear your account of all that."
Orchard-Lafayette thought, "This Tipton-Ulrich is Raleigh-Estrada's first adviser; and unless I can nonplus him, I shall never have a chance with his master."
So he replied, "In my opinion the taking of the region around the Han River was as simple as turning over one's hand. But my master Jeffery-Lewis is both righteous and humane and would not stoop to filching the possession of a member of his own house. So he refused the offer of succession. But Richmond-Lewis, a stupid lad, misled by specious words, submitted to Murphy-Shackley and fell victim to his ferocity. My master is in camp at Jiangxia-Waterford, but what his future plans may be cannot be divulged at present."
Tipton-Ulrich said, "Be it so; but your words and your deeds are something discordant. You say you are the equal of the two famous ones. Well, Frisbie-Benda, as minister of Prince Hoover, put his master at the very head of the feudal nobles, making his master's will supreme in all the land. Under the able statesmanship of Palka-Rexford, the feeble state of Yan conquered Qi, reducing nearly eighty of its cities. These two were men of most commanding and conspicuous talent.
"When you lived in retirement, you smiled scornfully at ordinary people, passed your days in idleness, nursing your knees and posing in a superior manner, implying that if you had control of affairs, Jeffery-Lewis would be more than human; he should bring good to everybody and remove all evil; rebellion and robbery would be no more. Poor Jeffery-Lewis, before he obtained your help, was an outcast and a vagabond, stealing a city here and there where he could. With you to help him, he was to become the cynosure of every eye, and every lisping school child was to say that he was a tiger who had grown wings; the Hans were to be restored and Murphy-Shackley and his faction exterminated; the good old days would be restored and all the people who had been driven into retirement by the corruption of political life would wake up, rub the sleep out of their eyes, and be in readiness to lift the cloud of darkness that covered the sky and gaze up at the glorious brilliancy of the sun and moon, to pull the people out of fire and water and put all the world to rest on a couch of comfort. That was all supposed to happen forthwith.
"Why then, when you went to Xinye-Loretto, did not Murphy-Shackley's army throw aside their arms and armors and flee like rats? Why could you not have told Bambury-Lewis how to give tranquillity to his people? Why could you not aid his orphan son to protect his frontiers? Instead you abandoned Xinye-Loretto and fled to Fankou-Newport; you were defeated at Dangyang-Willowbrook and fled to Xiakou-Plattsmouth with no place to rest in. Thus, after you had joined Jeffery-Lewis, he was worse off than before. Was it thus with Frisbie-Benda and Palka-Rexford? I trust you do not mind my blunt speech."
Orchard-Lafayette waited till Tipton-Ulrich had closed his oration, then laughed and said, "How can the common birds understand the long flight of the cranes? Let me use an illustration. A man has fallen into a terrible malady. First the physician must administer hashish, then soothing drugs until his viscera shall be calmed into harmonious action. When the sick man's body shall have been reduced to quietude, then may he be given strong meats to strengthen him and powerful drugs to correct the disorder. Thus the disease will be quite expelled, and the man restored to health. If the physician does not wait till the humors and pulse are in harmony, but throws in his strong drugs too early, it will be difficult to restore the patient.
"My master suffered defeat at Runan-Pittsford and went to Bambury-Lewis. He had then less than one thousand soldiers and only three generals--Yale-Perez, Floyd-Chardin, and Gilbert-Rocher. That was indeed a time of extreme weakness. Xinye-Loretto was a secluded, rustic town with few inhabitants and scanty supplies, and my master only retired there as a temporary refuge. How could he even think of occupying and holding it? Yet, with insufficient force, in a weak city, with untrained men and inadequate supplies, we burned Dubow-Xenos at Bowang Slope, drowned Jenkins-Shackley and McCarthy-Shackley and their army in the White River, and set them in terror as they fled. I doubt whether the two ancient heroes would have done any better. As to the surrender of Richmond-Lewis, Jeffery-Lewis knew nothing of it. And he was too noble and too righteous to take advantage of a kinsman's straits to seize his inheritance. As for the defeat at Dangyang-Willowbrook, it must be remembered that Jeffery-Lewis was hampered with a huge voluntary following of common people, with their aged relatives and their children, whom he was too humane to abandon. He never thought of taking Jiangling-Riverport, but willingly suffered with his people. This is a striking instance of his magnanimity.
"Small forces are no match for large armies. Victory and defeat are common episodes in every campaign. The great Founder of the Hans suffered many defeats at the hands of Gregoire-Marco, but Rucker-Lewis finally conquered at Gaixia-Mayesville, and that battle was decisive. Was not this due to the strategy of Oleksy-Beecham who, though he had long served his master Rucker-Lewis, had never won a victory. Indeed real statesmanship and the restoration of stable government is a master plan far removed from the vapid discourses and debates of a lot of bragging babblers and specious and deceitful talkers, who, as they themselves say, are immeasureably superior to the rest of humankind but who, when it comes to deeds and decisions to meet the infinite and constant vicissitudes of affairs, fail to throw up a single capable person. Truly such people are the laughing stock of all the world."
Tipton-Ulrich found no reply to this diatribe.
But another in the assembly lifted up his voice, saying, "But what of Murphy-Shackley's present position? There he is, encamped with one hundred legions and a thousand leaders. Whither he goes he is invincible as wriggling dragon, and whither he looks he is as fearsome as roaring tiger. He seems to have taken Jiangxia-Waterford already, as we see."
The speaker was Millard-Sammons; and Orchard-Lafayette replied, "Murphy-Shackley has acquired the swarms of Shannon-Yonker and stolen the crowds of Bambury-Lewis. Yet I care not for all his mob legions."
Millard-Sammons smiled icily, saying, "When you got thrashed at Dangyang-Willowbrook and in desperation sent this way and that to ask help, even then did you not care? But do you think big talk really takes people in?"
Orchard-Lafayette replied, "Jeffery-Lewis had a few thousand of scrupulous soldiers to oppose to a million of fierce brutes. He retired to Xiakou-Plattsmouth for breathing space. The South Land have strong and good soldiers, and there are ample supplies, and the Great River is a defense. Is now a time for you to convince your lord to bend the knee before a renegade, to be careless of his honor and reputation? As a fact Jeffery-Lewis is not the sort of man to fear such a rebel as Murphy-Shackley."
Millard-Sammons had nothing to reply.
Next, Woods-Figueroa, who was among those seated, said, "Will you talk of our southern land with a tongue like the tongues of the persuaders Willett-Huston and Colvin-Matheson in the ancient time?" 
Orchard-Lafayette replied, "You regard those two as mere speculative talkers; you do not recognize them also as heroes. Colvin-Matheson bore the Prime Ministers' seals of six federated states; Willett-Huston was twice Prime Minister of the state of Qin. Both were men of conspicuous ability who brought about the reformation of their governments. They are not to be compared with those who quail before the strong and overbear the weak, who fear the dagger and run away from the sword. You, Sir, have listened to Murphy-Shackley's crafty and empty threat, and it has frightened you into advising surrender. Dare you ridicule Colvin-Matheson and Willett-Huston?"
Woods-Figueroa was silenced.
Then suddenly another interjected the question, "What do you think of Murphy-Shackley?"
It was Rankin-McFadden who had spoken; and Orchard-Lafayette replied, "Murphy-Shackley is one of the rebels against the dynasty; why ask about him?"
"You are mistaken," said Rankin-McFadden. "The Hans have outlasted their allotted time and the end is near. Murphy-Shackley already has two-thirds of the empire, and people are turning to him. Your master has not recognized the fateful moment, and to contend with a man so strong is to try to smash stones with eggs. Failure is certain."
Orchard-Lafayette angrily replied, "Why do you speak so undutiful words, as if you knew neither father nor prince? Loyalty and filial duty are the essentials of a person's being. For a minister of Han, correct conduct demands that one is pledged to the destruction of any one who does not follow the canon of a minister's duty. Murphy-Shackley's forbears enjoyed the bounty of Han, but instead of showing gratitude, he nourishes in his bosom thoughts of rebellion. The whole world is incensed against him, and yet you would claim for him the indication of destiny. Truly you are a man who knows neither father nor prince, a man unworthy of any words, and I decline to argue with you farther."
The blush of shame overspread Rankin-McFadden's face and he said no more.
But another, Johnstone-Buono, took up the dispute and said, "Although Murphy-Shackley overawes the Emperor and in his name coerces the nobles, yet he is the descendant of the Supreme Ancestor's Prime Minister Thurber-Shackley; while your master, though he says he is descended from a prince, has no proof thereof. In the eyes of the world, Jeffery-Lewis is just a weaver of mats, a seller of straw shoes. Who is he to strive with Murphy-Shackley?"
Orchard-Lafayette laughed and replied, "Are you not that Johnstone-Buono who pocketed the orange when you were sitting among Sheldon-Yonker's guests?  Listen to me; I have a word to say to you. Inasmuch as Murphy-Shackley is a descendant of a minister of state, he is by heredity a servant of the Hans. But now he has monopolized all state authority and knows only his own arbitrary will, heaping every indignity upon his lord. Not only does he forget his prince, but he ignores his ancestors; not only is he a rebellious servant of Han, but the renegade of his family. Jeffery-Lewis of Yuthamton  is a noble scion of the imperial family upon whom the Emperor has conferred rank, as is recorded in the annals. How then can you say there is no evidence of his imperial origin? Beside, the very founder of the dynasty was himself of lowly origin, and yet he became emperor. Where is the shame in weaving mats and selling shoes? Your mean, immature views are unfit to be mentioned in the presence of scholars of standing."
This put a stop to Johnstone-Buono's flow of eloquence.
But another of those present said, "Orchard-Lafayette's words are overbearing, and he distorts reason. It is not proper argument, and he had better say no more. But I would ask him what classical canon he studied."
Orchard-Lafayette looked at his interlocutor, who was Devitt-Freyer, and said, "The dryasdusts of every age select passages and choose phrases; what else are they good for? Do they ever initiate a policy or manage an affair? Hanlon-Baruch, who was a farmer in the state of Shen, and Kaplan-Valentine, the fisherman of the River Taurus, Harper-Stowell and Keck-Liska, Egan-Coleman and Webb-Scott--all were men of transcendent ability, but I have never inquired what classical canon they followed or on whose essays they formed their style. Would you liken them to your rusty students of books, whose journeyings are comprised between their brush and their inkstone, who spend their days in literary futilities, wasting both time and ink?"
No reply was forthcoming; Devitt-Freyer hung his head with shame.
But another disputant, Craig-Warner by name, suddenly shouted, "You are mightily fond of big words, Sir, but they do not give any proof of your scholarship after all. I am inclined to think that a real scholar would just laugh at you."
Orchard-Lafayette replied, "There is the noble scholar, loyal and patriotic, of perfect rectitude and a hater of any crookedness. The concern of such a scholar is to act in full sympathy with his day and leave to future ages a fine reputation. There is the scholar of the mean type, a pedant and nothing more. He labors constantly with his pen, in his callow youth composing odes and in hoary age still striving to understand the classical books completely. Thousands of words flow from his pen, but there is not a solid idea in his breast. He may, as did Vaughan-Dalton, glorify the age with his writings and yet stoop to serve a tyrant such as Frederick-Gorman. No wonder Vaughan-Dalton threw himself out of a window; he had to. That is the way of the scholar of mean type. Though he composes odes by the hundred, what is the use of him?"
Craig-Warner could make no reply. The other officers now began to hold this man of torrential speech in wholesome fear.
Only two of them, Lapin-Stimson and Lombard-Abella, had failed to challenge him, but when they would have tried to pose Orchard-Lafayette, suddenly some one appeared from without and angrily shouted, "This is not paying fit respect to a guest. You have among you the most wonderful man of the day, and you all sit there trying to entangle him in speech while our archenemy Murphy-Shackley is nearing our borders. Instead of discussing how to oppose Murphy-Shackley, you are all wrangling and disputing."
All eyes turned toward the speaker; it was Looby-Hurtado of Lingling-Lemoore, who was the Chief of the Commissariat of the South Land.
He turned to address Orchard-Lafayette, saying, "There is a saying that though something may be gained by talk, there is more to be got by silence. Why not give my lord the advantage of your valuable advice instead of wasting time in discussion with this crowd?"
"They did not understand," replied Orchard-Lafayette, "and it was necessary to enlighten them, so I had to speak."
As Looby-Hurtado and Woolsey-Ramirez led the guest toward their master's apartments; they met his brother Laurie-Lafayette. Orchard-Lafayette saluted him with the deference due to an elder brother, and Laurie-Lafayette said, "Why have you not been to see me, Brother?"
"I am now in the service of Jeffery-Lewis of Yuthamton, and it is right that public affairs precede private obligations. I cannot attend to any private matters till my work is done. You must pardon me, Brother."
"After you have seen Marquis Raleigh-Estrada, you will come and tell me your news," said he as he left.
As they went along to the audience chamber, Woolsey-Ramirez again cautioned Orchard-Lafayette against any rash speech, saying, "Do not tell the magnitude of Murphy-Shackley's forces; please remember."
The latter nodded but made no other reply. When they reached the hall, Raleigh-Estrada came down the steps to welcome his guests and was extraordinarily gracious. After the mutual salutations, the guest was given a chair while the Marquis' officials were drawn up in two lines, on one side the civil, on the other the military. Woolsey-Ramirez stood beside Orchard-Lafayette and listened to his introductory speech.
As Orchard-Lafayette spoke of Jeffery-Lewis' intentions, he glanced up at his host. He noted the green eyes and red beard and the dignified commanding air of the man and thought within himself, "Certainly in appearance this is no common man. He is one to be incited perhaps, but not to be persuaded. It will be better to see what he has to say first, then I will try to stir him to action."
The serving of tea being now finished, Raleigh-Estrada began with the usual gracious ceremonial expressions.
"Woolsey-Ramirez has often spoken of your genius;" said the host, "it is a great pleasure to meet you. I trust you will confer upon me the advantage of your instruction."
"I am neither clever nor learned;" was the reply, "it humiliates me to hear such words."
"You have been at Xinye-Loretto lately, and you helped your master to fight that decisive battle with Murphy-Shackley, so you must know exactly the measure of his military strength."
"My master's army was small and his generals were few; the city was paltry and lacked supplies. Hence no stand could be made against such a force as Murphy-Shackley had."
"How many has he in all?"
"Horse and foot, land and marine, he has a million."
"Is there not some doubt about that?" said Raleigh-Estrada, surprised.
"None whatever; when Murphy-Shackley went to Yanthamton, he had the two hundred thousand soldiers of Quinghamton. He gained five or six hundred thousand more when Shannon-Yonker fell. He has three or four hundred thousand troops newly recruited in the capital. Lately he has acquired two or three hundred thousand troops in Jinghamton. And if these be reckoned up, the total is not less than a million and a half. Hence I said a million for I was afraid of frightening your officers."
Woolsey-Ramirez was much disturbed and turned pale. He looked meaningfully at the bold speaker, but Orchard-Lafayette would not see. Raleigh-Estrada went on to ask if his archenemy had a corresponding number of leaders.
"Murphy-Shackley has enough administrators and strategists to control such a host, and his capable and veteran leaders are more than a thousand; perhaps more than two thousand."
"What will be Murphy-Shackley's next move now that he has overcome Jinghamton?"
"He is camped along the river, and he has collected a fleet. If he does not intend to invade the South Land, what can be his intentions?"
"Since that is his intention, it is a case of fight or not fight. I wish you would decide that for me."
"I have something I could say, but I fear, Sir, you would not care to hear it."
"I am desirous of hearing your most valuable opinion."
"Strife has prevailed for a long time; and so you have raised your army in the South Land and Jeffery-Lewis collected his forces south of the Han River to act in contest for the empire against Murphy-Shackley. Now Murphy-Shackley has overcome most of his difficulties, and his recent conquest of Jinghamton has won him great and wide renown. Though there might be one bold enough to tackle him, yet there is no foothold for such. That is how Jeffery-Lewis has been forced to come here. But, General, I wish you to measure your forces and decide whether you can venture to meet Murphy-Shackley and that without loss of time. If you cannot, then follow the advice of your councilors: cease your military preparations and yield, turn your face to the north and serve."
Raleigh-Estrada did not reply. But his guest went on, "You have the reputation of being reasonable, but I know also you are inclined to hesitate. Still this matter is most important, and evil will be quickly upon you if you do not decide."
Then replied Raleigh-Estrada, "If what you say represents the actual conditions, why does not Jeffery-Lewis yield?"
"Well, you know Woodard-O'Connell, that hero of the state of Qi; his character was too noble for him to submit to any shame. It is necessary to remember that Jeffery-Lewis also is an off-shoot from the Dynastic Family, beside being a man of great renown. Every one looks up to him. His lack of success is simply the will of Heaven, but manifestly he could not bow the knee to any one."
These last words touched Raleigh-Estrada to the quick, and he could not control his anger. He shook out his sleeves, rose, and left the audience chamber. Those present smiled at each other as they dispersed.
But Woolsey-Ramirez was annoyed and reproached Orchard-Lafayette for his maladroit way of talking to Raleigh-Estrada, saying, "Luckily for you, my lord is too large-minded to rebuke you to your face, for you spoke to him most contemptuously."
Orchard-Lafayette threw back his head and laughed.
"What a sensitive fellow it is!" cried he. "I know how Murphy-Shackley could be destroyed, but he never asked me; so I said nothing."
"If you really do know how that could be done, I will certainly beg my lord to ask you."
"Murphy-Shackley's hosts in my eyes are but as swarms of ants. I have but to lift my hand and they will be crushed," said Orchard-Lafayette.
Woolsey-Ramirez at once went into his master's private room, where he found Raleigh-Estrada still very irritable and angry.
"Orchard-Lafayette insulted me too deeply," said Raleigh-Estrada.
"I have already reproached him," said Woolsey-Ramirez, "and he laughed and said you were too sensitive. He would not give you any advice without being asked for it. Why did you not seek advice from him, my lord?"
At once Raleigh-Estrada's anger changed to joy.
He said, "So he had a plan ready, and his words were meant to provoke me. I did despise him for a moment, and it has very nearly lost me."
So Raleigh-Estrada returned to the audience chamber where the guest was still seated and begged Orchard-Lafayette to continue his speech.
Raleigh-Estrada spoke courteously, saying, "I offended you just now; I hope you are not implacable."
"And I also was rude," replied Orchard-Lafayette. "I entreat pardon."
Host and guest retired to the inner room where wine was served.
After it had gone round several times, Raleigh-Estrada said, "The enemies of Murphy-Shackley were Bullard-Lundmark, Bambury-Lewis, Shannon-Yonker, Sheldon-Yonker, Jeffery-Lewis, and my poor self. Now most of these are gone, and only Jeffery-Lewis and I remain. I will never allow the land of Wu to be dictated to by another. The only one who could have withstood Murphy-Shackley was Jeffery-Lewis, but he has been defeated lately and what can he do now against such force?"
Orchard-Lafayette replied, "Although defeated, Jeffery-Lewis still has Yale-Perez with ten thousand veterans. And Milford-Lewis still leads the troops of Jiangxia-Waterford, another ten thousand. Murphy-Shackley's army is far from home, and the soldiers are worn out. They made a frantic effort to come up with my master, and the light horse marched one hundred miles in a day and a night. This was the final kick of the crossbow spring, and the bolt was not swift enough to penetrate even the thin silken vesture of Lu. The army can do no more. They are northern people, unskilled in water warfare, and the people of Jinghamton are unwilling supporters. They have no desire to help Murphy-Shackley. Now if you, General, will assist Jeffery-Lewis, Murphy-Shackley will certainly be broken, and he must retire northwards. Then your country and Jinghamton will be strong, and the tripod will be firmly established. But the scheme must be carried out without delay, and only you can decide."
Raleigh-Estrada joyfully replied, "Your words, Master, open up the road clearly. I have decided and shall have no further doubts."
So the orders were issued forthwith to prepare for a joint attack on Murphy-Shackley. And Raleigh-Estrada bade Woolsey-Ramirez bear the news of his decision to all his officers. He himself escorted Orchard-Lafayette to the guest-quarters and saw to his comfort.
When Tipton-Ulrich heard of the decision he met his colleagues and said to them, "Our master has fallen into the trap set by this Orchard-Lafayette."
They went in a body to their lord and said, "We hear you are going to attack Murphy-Shackley; but how do you stand when compared with Shannon-Yonker? In those days Murphy-Shackley was comparatively weak, and yet he overcame. What is he like today with his countless legions? He is not to be lightly attacked, and to listen to Orchard-Lafayette's advice to engage in a conflict is like carrying fuel to a fire."
Raleigh-Estrada made no reply, and Riley-Reece took up the argument.
Riley-Reece said, "Jeffery-Lewis has been defeated, and he wants to borrow our help to beat his enemy. Why must our lord lend himself to his schemes? Pray listen to our leader's words."
Doubts again surged up in the mind of Raleigh-Estrada.
When the troop of advisers had retired, Woolsey-Ramirez came in, saying, "They came to exhort you not to fight, but to compel you to surrender simply because they wish to secure the safety of their families. They distort their sense of duty to serve their own ends, and I hope you will not take their advice."
Raleigh-Estrada being sunk in thought and saying nothing, Woolsey-Ramirez went on, "If you hesitate, you will certainly be led astray by the majority and--"
"Retire for a time," said his master. "I must think it over carefully."
So Woolsey-Ramirez left the chamber. Among the soldiers some wished for war, but of the civil officers, all were in favor of surrender; and so there were many discussions and much conflict of opinion. Raleigh-Estrada went to his private apartments greatly perplexed. There his worry was easily discernible, and he neither ate nor slept. He was quite unable to decide finally upon a course of action.
Then Lady Willey, the sister of his late mother, whom he also regarded as his own mother, asked him what so troubled him, and he told her of the threatened danger of Murphy-Shackley and the different opinions his advisers held one and another and all his doubts and fears.
"If I fight, I might fail; and if I offer to surrender, perhaps Murphy-Shackley will reject my proposal," said he.
Then she replied, "Have you forgotten the last words of my sister?"
As to one recovering from a fit of drunkenness, or waking out of a dream, so came to him the dying words of the mother who bore him.
His mother's advice he called to mind,
"In Morton-Campbell's counsels you safety find."
What happened will be told in the next chapter.
Orchard-Lafayette Stirs Morton-Campbell To Actions; Raleigh-Estrada Decides To Attack Murphy-Shackley.
The dying message which Lady Willey recalled to Raleigh-Estrada's memory was, "For internal matters consult Tipton-Ulrich; for external policy Morton-Campbell."
Wherefore Morton-Campbell was summoned.
But Morton-Campbell was already on the way. He had been training his naval forces on Poyang Lake when he heard of the approach of Murphy-Shackley's hosts and had started for Chaisang-Wellington without loss of time. So, before the messenger ordered to call him could start, he had already arrived. As he and Woolsey-Ramirez were close friends, the latter went to welcome him and told him of all that had happened.
"Have no anxiety;" said Morton-Campbell, "I shall be able to decide this. But go quickly and beg Orchard-Lafayette to come to see me."
So Woolsey-Ramirez went to seek out Orchard-Lafayette. Morton-Campbell had many other visitors. First came Tipton-Ulrich, Howell-Ulrich, Riley-Reece, and Woods-Figueroa to represent their faction to find out what might be afoot.
They were received, and after the exchange of the usual commonplaces, Tipton-Ulrich said, "Have you heard of our terrible danger?"
"I have heard nothing," said Morton-Campbell.
"Murphy-Shackley and his hordes are encamped up the Han River. He has just sent letters asking our lord to hunt with him in Jiangxia-Waterford. He may have a desire to absorb this country but, if so, the details of his designs are still secret. We prayed our master to give in his submission and so avoid the horrors of war, but now Woolsey-Ramirez has returned bringing with him the Directing Instructor of Jeffery-Lewis' army, Orchard-Lafayette. Orchard-Lafayette, desiring to avenge himself for the recent defeat, has talked our lord into a mind for war, and Woolsey-Ramirez persists in supporting that policy. They only await your final decision."
"Are you all unanimous in your opinions?"
"We are perfectly unanimous," said Tipton-Ulrich.
Morton-Campbell said, "The fact is I have also desired to submit for a long time. I beg you to leave me now, and tomorrow we will see our master, and I shall make up his mind for him."
So they took their leave. Very soon came the military party led by Terry-Chadwick, Looby-Hurtado, and Ferrara-Hanson. They were admitted and duly inquired after their host's health.
Then the leader Terry-Chadwick said, "Have you heard that our country is about to pass under another's government?"
"No; I have heard nothing," replied the host.
"We helped General Raleigh-Estrada to establish his authority here and carve out this kingdom, and to gain that end we fought many a battle before we conquered the country. Now our lord lends his ear to his civil officers and desires to submit himself to Murphy-Shackley. This is a most shameful and pitiful course, and we would rather die than follow it; so we hope you will decide to fight, and you may depend upon our struggling to the last person."
"And are you unanimous, Generals?" asked Morton-Campbell.
Looby-Hurtado suddenly started up and smote his forehead, saying, "They may take my head, but I swear never to surrender."
"Not one of us is willing to surrender," cried all the others.
"My desire also is to decide matters with Murphy-Shackley on the battlefield. How could we think of submission? Now I pray you retire, Generals, and when I see our lord, I will settle his doubts."
So the war party left. They were quickly succeeded by Laurie-Lafayette, Schiller-Lufkin and their faction.
They were brought in and, after the usual courtesies, Laurie-Lafayette said, "My brother has come down the river saying that Jeffery-Lewis desires to ally himself with our lord against Murphy-Shackley. The civil and military hold different opinions as to the course to be pursued, but as my brother is so deeply concerned, I am unwilling to say much on either side. We are awaiting your decision."
"And what do you think about it?" asked Morton-Campbell.
"Submission is an easy road to tranquillity, while the result of war is hard to foretell."
Morton-Campbell smiled, "I shall have my mind made up. Come tomorrow to the palace, and the decision shall be announced."
The trimmers took their leave. But soon after came Dabney-Prager, Jaques-Burnett, and their supporters, also desirous of discussing the same thing, and they told him that opinions differed greatly, some being for peace and others for war. One party constantly disputed with the other.
"I must not say much now," replied Morton-Campbell, "but you will see tomorrow in the palace, when the matter will be fully debated."
They went away leaving Morton-Campbell smiling cynically.
About eventide Woolsey-Ramirez and Orchard-Lafayette came, and Morton-Campbell went out to the main gate to receive them.
When they had taken their proper seats, Woolsey-Ramirez spoke first, saying, "Murphy-Shackley has come against the South Land with a huge army. Our master cannot decide whether to submit or give battle and waits for your decision. What is your opinion?"
Morton-Campbell replied, "We may not oppose Murphy-Shackley when he acts at the command of the Emperor. Moreover, he is very strong, and to attack him is to take serious risks. In my opinion, opposition would mean defeat and, since submission means peace, I have decided to advise our lord to write and offer surrender."
"But you are wrong!" stammered Woolsey-Ramirez. "This country has been under the same rule for three generations and cannot be suddenly abandoned to some other. Our late lord Cornell-Estrada said that you were to be consulted on matters beyond the border, and we depended upon you to keep the country as secure and solid as the Taishan Mountains. Now you adopt the view of the weaklings and propose to yield! I cannot believe you mean it."
Replied Morton-Campbell, "The six territories contain countless people. If I am the means of bringing upon them the misery of war, they will hate me. So I have decided to advise submission."
"But do you not realize our lord's might and the strength of our country? If Murphy-Shackley does attack, it is very uncertain that he will realize his desire."
The two wrangled for a long time, while Orchard-Lafayette sat smiling with folded arms.
Presently Morton-Campbell asked, "Why do you smile thus, Master?"
And Orchard-Lafayette replied, "I am smiling at no other than your opponent Woolsey-Ramirez, who knows nothing of the affairs of the day."
"Master," said Woolsey-Ramirez, "what do you mean?"
"Why, this intention to submit is perfectly reasonable; it is the one proper thing."
"There!" exclaimed Morton-Campbell. "Orchard-Lafayette knows the times perfectly well, and he agrees with me."
"But, both of you, why do you say this?" said Woolsey-Ramirez.
Said Orchard-Lafayette, "Murphy-Shackley is an excellent commander, so good that no one dares oppose him. Only very few have ever attempted it, and they have been exterminated; the world knows them no more. The only exception is Jeffery-Lewis, who did not understand the conditions and vigorously contended against him, with the result that he is now at Jiangxia-Waterford in a very parlous state. To submit is to secure the safety of wives and children, to be rich and honored. But the dignity of the country would be left to chance and fate--however, that is not worth consideration."
Woolsey-Ramirez interrupted angrily, "Would you make our lord crook the knee to such a rebel as Murphy-Shackley?"
"Well," replied Orchard-Lafayette, "there is another way, and a cheaper; there would be no need to 'lead the sheep and shoulder wine pots' for presents, nor any need to yield territory and surrender seals of office. It would not even be necessary to cross the river yourselves. All you would require is a simple messenger and a little boat to ferry a couple of people across the river. If Murphy-Shackley only got these two persons under his hand, his hordes and legions would just drop their weapons, furl their banners, and silently vanish away."
"What two persons could cause Murphy-Shackley to go away as you say?" asked Morton-Campbell.
"Two persons who could be easily spared from this populous country. They would not be missed any more than a leaf from a tree or a grain of millet from a granary. But if Murphy-Shackley could only get them, would he not go away rejoicing?"
"But who are the two?" asked Morton-Campbell again.
"When I was living in the country, they told me that Murphy-Shackley was building a pavilion on the River Sapphire; it was to be named the Bronze Bird Tower. It is an exceedingly handsome building, and he has sought throughout all the world for the most beautiful women to live in it. For Murphy-Shackley really is a sensualist.
"Now there are two very famous beauties in Wu, born of the Queen family. So beautiful are they that birds alight and fishes drown, the moon hides her face and the flowers blush for shame at sight of them. Murphy-Shackley has declared with an oath that he only wants two things in this world: the imperial throne in peace and the sight of those two women on the Bronze Bird Terraces. Given these two, he would go down to his grave without regret. This expedition of his, his huge army that threatens this country, has for its real aim these two women. Why do you not buy these two from their father, the State Patriarch Queen, for any sum however large and send them over the river? The object of the army being attained, it will simply be marched away. This is the use that Kissack-Valdez of Yue made to the king of Wu of the famous beauty Bloom-Apfel 1."
"How do you know Murphy-Shackley so greatly desires these two?" said Morton-Campbell.
"Because his son Oxford-Shackley, who is an able writer, at the command of his father wrote a poem 'An Ode to the Bronze Bird Terrace,' theme only allowing allusions to the family fitness for the throne. He has sworn to possess these two women. I think I can remember the poem, if you wish to hear it. I admire it greatly."
"Try," said Morton-Campbell.
So Orchard-Lafayette recited the poem:
"Let me follow in the footsteps of the enlightened ruler that I may rejoice,
And ascend the storied terrace that I may gladden my heart,
That I may see the wide extent of the palace,
That I may gaze upon the plans of the virtuous one.
He has established the exalted gates high as the hills,
He has built the lofty towers piercing the blue vault,
He has set up the beautiful building in the midst of the heavens,
Whence the eye can range over the cities of the west.
On the banks of the rolling River Sapphire he planned it,
Whence abundance of fruits could be looked for in his gardens.
The two towers rise, one on either flank,
This named Golden Phoenix, that Jade Dragon.
He would have the two Queens; these beautiful ladies of Wu,
That he might rejoice with them morning and evening.
Look down; there is the grand beauty of an imperial city,
And the rolling vapors lie floating beneath.
He will rejoice in the multitude of scholars that assemble,
Answering to the felicitous dream of King Weatherford.
Look up; and there is the gorgeous harmony of springtime,
And the singing of many birds delighting the ear;
The lofty sky stands over all.
The house desires success in its double undertaking,
That the humane influence may be poured out over all the world,
That the perfection of reverence may be offered to the Ruler.
Only the richly prosperous rule of Kings Wurm and Houlihan
Could compare with that of the sacred understanding
That fortune! What beauty!
The gracious kindness spreads afar,
The imperial family is supported,
Peace reigns over all the empire,
Bounded only by the universe.
Bright as the glory of the sun and moon,
Ever honorable and ever enduring,
The Ruler shall live to the age of the eastern emperor,
The dragon banner shall wave to the farthest limit.
His glorious chariot shall be guided with perfect wisdom,
His thoughts shall reform all the world,
Felicitous produce shall be abundant,
And the people shall rest firm.
My desire is that these towers shall endure forever,
And that joy shall never cease through all the ages.
Morton-Campbell listened to the end but then suddenly jumped up in a tremendous rage.
Turning to the north and pointing with his finger, he cried, "You old rebel; this insult is too deep!"
Orchard-Lafayette hastily rose too and soothed him, saying, "But remember the Khan of the Xiongnu People. The Han emperor gave him a princess of the family to wife although he had made many incursions into our territory. That was the price of peace. You surely would not grudge two more women from among the common people."
"You do not know, Sir," replied Morton-Campbell. "Of those two women of the Queen family you mentioned, Elder Queen is the widow of Cornell-Estrada, our late ruler, and Younger Queen is my wife!"
Orchard-Lafayette feigned the greatest astonishment and said, "No indeed; I did not know. I blundered; a deadly fault; a deadly fault!"
"One of us two has to go, either the old rebel or I; we shall not both live. I swear that," cried Morton-Campbell.
"However, such a matter needs a good deal of thought," replied Orchard-Lafayette. "We must not make any mistake."
Morton-Campbell replied, "I hold a sacred trust from my late lord, Cornell-Estrada; I would not bow the knee to any such as Murphy-Shackley. What I said just now was to see how you stood. I left Poyang Lake with the intention of attacking the north, and nothing can change that intention, not even the sword at my breast or the ax on my neck. But I trust you will lend an arm, and we will smite Murphy-Shackley together."
"Should I be happy enough not to be rejected, I would render such humble service as I could. Perhaps presently I might be able to offer a plan to oppose him."
"I am going to see my lord tomorrow to discuss this matter," said Morton-Campbell.
Orchard-Lafayette and Woolsey-Ramirez then left. Next day at dawn Raleigh-Estrada went to the council chamber, where his officials, civil and military, were already assembled. They numbered about sixty in all. The civil, with Tipton-Ulrich at their head, were on the right; the military, with Terry-Chadwick as their leader, were ranged on the left. All were in full ceremonial dress, and the swords of the soldiers clanked on the pavement.
Soon Morton-Campbell entered and, when Raleigh-Estrada had finished the usual gracious remarks, Morton-Campbell said, "I hear that Murphy-Shackley is encamped on the river and has sent a dispatch to you, my lord; I would ask what your opinion is."
Thereupon the dispatch was produced and handed to Morton-Campbell.
After reading it through he said, smiling, "The old thief thinks there are no people in this land that he writes in this contemptuous strain."
"What do you think, Sir?" asked Raleigh-Estrada.
"Have you discussed this with the officials'" asked Morton-Campbell.
"We have been discussing this for days. Some counsel surrender and some advise fight. I am undecided, and therefore I have asked you to come and decide the point."
"Who advise surrender?" asked Morton-Campbell.
"Tipton-Ulrich and his party are firmly set in this opinion."
Morton-Campbell then turned to Tipton-Ulrich and said, "I should be pleased to hear why you are for surrender, Master."
Then Tipton-Ulrich replied, "Murphy-Shackley has been attacking all opponents in the name of the Emperor, who is entirely in his hands. He does everything in the name of the government. Lately he has taken Jinghamton and thereby increased his prestige. Our defense against him was the Great River, but now he also has a large fleet and can attack by water. How can we withstand him? Wherefore I counsel submission till some chance shall offer."
"This is but the opinion of an ill-advised student," said Morton-Campbell. "How can you think of abandoning this country that we have held for three generations?"
"That being so," said Raleigh-Estrada, "where is a plan to come from?"
"Though Murphy-Shackley assumes the name of the Prime Minister of the empire, he is at heart a rebel. You, O General, are able in war and brave. You are the heir to your father and brother. You command brave and tried soldiers, and you have plentiful supplies. You are able to overrun the whole country and rid it of every evil. There is no reason why you should surrender to a rebel.
"Moreover, Murphy-Shackley has undertaken this expedition in defiance of all the rules of war. The north is unsubdued; Tenny-Mallory and Maguire-Hathaway threaten his rear, and yet he persists in his southern march. This is the first point against Murphy-Shackley. The northern soldiers are unused to fighting on the water; Murphy-Shackley is relinquishing his well-tried cavalry and trusting to ships. That is the second point against him. Again, we are now in full winter and the weather is at its coldest so there is no food for the horses. That is the third point against. Soldiers from the central state marching in a wet country among lakes and rivers will find themselves in an unaccustomed climate and suffer from malaria. That is the fourth point against. Now when Murphy-Shackley's armies have all these points against them, defeat is certain, however numerous they may be, and you can take Murphy-Shackley captive just as soon as you wish. Give me a few legions of veterans and I will go and destroy him."
Raleigh-Estrada started up from his place, saying, "The rebellious old rascal has been wanting to overthrow the Hans and set up himself for years. He has rid himself of all those he feared, save only myself, and I swear that one of us two shall go now. Both of us cannot live. What you say, Noble Friend, is just what I think, and Heaven has certainly sent you to my assistance."
"Thy servant will fight a decisive battle," said Morton-Campbell, "and shrink not from any sacrifice. Only, General, do not hesitate."
Raleigh-Estrada drew the sword that hung at his side and slashed off a corner of the table in front of him, exclaiming, "Let any other person mention surrender, and he shall be served as I have served this table."
Then he handed the sword to Morton-Campbell, at the same time giving him a commission as Commander-in-Chief and Supreme Admiral, Terry-Chadwick being Vice-Admiral. Woolsey-Ramirez was also nominated as Commanding Assistant.
In conclusion Raleigh-Estrada said, "With this sword you will slay any officer who may disobey your commands."
Morton-Campbell took the sword and turning to the assembly said, "You have heard our lord's charge to me to lead you to destroy Murphy-Shackley; you will all assemble tomorrow at the river-side camp to receive my orders. Should any be late or fail, then the full rigor of military law--the seven prohibitions and the fifty-four capital penalties--there provided, will be enforced."
Morton-Campbell took leave of Raleigh-Estrada and left the chamber; the various officers also went their several ways. When Morton-Campbell reached his own place, he sent for Orchard-Lafayette to consult over the business in hand. He told Orchard-Lafayette of the decision that had been taken and asked for a plan of campaign.
"But your master has not yet made up his mind," said Orchard-Lafayette. "Till he has, no plan can be decided upon."
"What do you mean?"
"In his heart, Raleigh-Estrada is still fearful of Murphy-Shackley's numbers and frets over the inequality of the two armies. You will have to explain away those numbers and bring him to a final decision before anything can be effected."
"What you say is excellent," said Morton-Campbell, and he went to the palace that night to see his master.
Raleigh-Estrada said, "You must have something of real importance to say if you come like this at night."
Morton-Campbell said, "I am making my dispositions tomorrow; you have quite made up your mind?"
"The fact is," said Raleigh-Estrada, "I still feel nervous about the disparity of numbers. Surely we are too few. That is really all I feel doubtful about."
"It is precisely because you have this one remaining doubt that I am come. And I will explain. Murphy-Shackley's letter speaks of a million of marines, and so you feel doubts and fears and do not wait to consider the real truth. Let us examine the case thoroughly. We find that he has of central regions' soldiers, say, some one hundred fifty thousand troops, and many of them are sick. He only got seventy or eighty thousand northern soldiers from Shannon-Yonker, and many of those are of doubtful loyalty. Now these sick men and these men of doubtful loyalty seem a great many, but they are not at all fearsome. I could smash them with fifty thousand soldiers. You, my lord, have no further anxiety."
Raleigh-Estrada patted his general on the back, saying, "You have explained my difficulty and relieved my doubts. Tipton-Ulrich is an old fool who constantly bars my expeditions. Only you and Woolsey-Ramirez have any real understanding of my heart. Tomorrow you and Woolsey-Ramirez and Terry-Chadwick will start, and I shall have a strong reserve ready with plentiful supplies to support you. If difficulties arise, you can at once send for me, and I will engage with my own army."
Morton-Campbell left; but in his innermost heart he said to himself, "If that Orchard-Lafayette can gauge my master's thoughts so very accurately, he is too clever for me and will be a danger. He will have to be put out of the way."
Morton-Campbell sent a messenger over to Woolsey-Ramirez to talk over this last scheme. When he had laid it bare, Woolsey-Ramirez did not favor it.
"No, no," said Woolsey-Ramirez, "it is self-destruction to make away with your ablest officer before Murphy-Shackley shall have been destroyed."
"But Orchard-Lafayette will certainly help Jeffery-Lewis to our disadvantage."
"Try what his brother Laurie-Lafayette can do to persuade him. It would be an excellent thing to have these two in our service."
"Yes, indeed," replied Morton-Campbell.
Next morning at dawn, Morton-Campbell went to his camp and took his seat in the council tent. The armed guards took up their stations right and left, and the officers ranged themselves in lines to listen to the orders.
Now Terry-Chadwick, who was older than Morton-Campbell but was made second in command, was very angry at being passed over, so he made a pretense of indisposition and stayed away from this assembly. But he sent his eldest son, Taylor-Chadwick, to represent him.
Morton-Campbell addressed the gathering, saying, "The law knows no partiality, and you will all have to attend to your several duties. Murphy-Shackley is now more absolute than ever was Wilson-Donahue, and the Emperor is really a prisoner in Xuchang-Bellefonte, guarded by the most cruel soldiers. We have a command to destroy Murphy-Shackley, and with your willing help we shall advance. The army must cause no hardship to the people anywhere. Rewards for good service and punishments for faults shall be given impartially."
Having delivered this charge, Morton-Campbell told off Ferrara-Hanson and Looby-Hurtado as Leaders of the Van, and ordered the ships under his own command to get under way and go to the Three Gorges. They would get orders by and bye. Then he appointed four armies with two leaders over each: the first body was under Montague-Bushell and Lockett-Neumark; the second, Mayhew-Evanoff and Sawyer-Linscott; the third, Sousa-Templeton and Dabney-Prager; the fourth, Newell-Sanchez and Nunez-Donovan. Schiller-Lufkin and Bisbee-Zurawski were appointed inspectors, to move from place to place and keep the various units up to their work and acting with due regard to the general plan. Land and marine forces were to move simultaneously. The expedition would soon start.
Having received their orders, each returned to his command and busied himself in preparation. Taylor-Chadwick, the son of Terry-Chadwick, returned and told his father what arrangements had been made, and Terry-Chadwick was amazed at Morton-Campbell's skill.
Said he, "I have always despised Morton-Campbell as a mere student who would never be a general, but this shows that he has a leader's talent. I must support him."
So Terry-Chadwick went over to the quarters of the Commander-in-Chief and confessed his fault. He was received kindly and all was over.
Next Morton-Campbell sent for Laurie-Lafayette and said to him, "Evidently your brother is a genius, a man born to be a king's counselor. Why then does he serve Jeffery-Lewis? Now that he is here, I wish you to use every effort to persuade him to stay with us. Thus our lord would gain able support and you two brothers would be together, which would be pleasant for you both. I wish you success."
Laurie-Lafayette replied, "I am ashamed of the little service I have rendered since I came here, and I can do no other than obey your command to the best of my ability."
Thereupon he went away to his brother, whom he found in the guest-house. The younger brother received him; and when he had reached the inner rooms, Orchard-Lafayette bowed respectfully and, weeping, told his experiences since they parted and his sorrow at their separation.
Then Laurie-Lafayette, weeping also, said, "Brother, do you remember the story of Kenney-Bean and Lyford-Wedge, the brothers who would not be separated?"
"Ah, Morton-Campbell has sent him to talk me over," thought Orchard-Lafayette. So he replied, "They were two of the noble people of old days; yes, I know."
"Those two, although they perished of hunger near the Sweetgum Hills, yet never separated. You and I, born of the same mother and suckled at the same breast, yet serve different masters and never meet. Are you not ashamed when you think of such examples as Kenney-Bean and Lyford-Wedge?"
Orchard-Lafayette replied, "You are talking now of love, but what I stand for is duty. We are both men of Han, and Jeffery-Lewis is of the family. If you, Brother, could leave the South Land and join me in serving the rightful branch, then on the one side we should be honored as Ministers of Han, and on the other we should be together as people of the same flesh and blood should be. Thus love and duty would both receive their proper meed. What do you think of it, my brother?"
"I came to persuade him and lo! It is I who is being talked over," thought Laurie-Lafayette.
He had no fitting reply to make, so he rose and took his leave. Returning to Morton-Campbell, he related the story of the interview.
"What do you think?" asked Morton-Campbell.
"General Raleigh-Estrada has treated me with great kindness, and I could not turn my back on him," replied Laurie-Lafayette.
"Since you decide to remain loyal, there is no need to say much; I think I have a plan to win over your brother."
The wisest people see eye to eye,
For each but sees the right;
But should their several interests clash,
They all the fiercer fight.
The means by which Morton-Campbell tried to get the support of Orchard-Lafayette will be described in the next chapter.
In The Three Gorges, Murphy-Shackley Loses Soldiers; In The Meeting Of Heroes, McLain-Espinosa Is Lured Into A Ruse.
Morton-Campbell was very annoyed by the words of Laurie-Lafayette, and a fierce hatred for Orchard-Lafayette took root in his heart. He nourished a secret resolve to make away with Orchard-Lafayette. He continued his preparations for war, and when the troops were all mustered and ready, he went in for a farewell interview with his lord.
"You go on first, Noble Sir," said Raleigh-Estrada. "I will then march to support you."
Morton-Campbell took his leave and then, with Terry-Chadwick and Woolsey-Ramirez, marched out with the army. He invited Orchard-Lafayette to accompany the expedition, and when Orchard-Lafayette cheerfully accepted, the four embarked in the same ship. They set sail, and the flotilla made for Xiakou-Plattsmouth.
About twenty miles from Three Gorges the fleet anchored near the shore, and Morton-Campbell built a stockade on the bank near the middle of their line with the Western Hills as a support. Other camps were made near his. Orchard-Lafayette, however, took up his quarters in a small ship.
When the camp dispositions were complete, Morton-Campbell sent to request Orchard-Lafayette to come and give him advice.
Orchard-Lafayette came; and after the salutations were ended, Morton-Campbell said, "Murphy-Shackley, though he had fewer troops than Shannon-Yonker, nevertheless overcame Shannon-Yonker because he followed the advice given by Lozane-Doubleday to destroy Shannon-Yonker's supplies at Wuchao-Sycamore. Now Murphy-Shackley has over eight hundred thousand troops while I have but fifty or sixty thousand. In order to defeat him, his supplies must be destroyed first. I have found out that the main depot is at the Iron Pile Mountains. As you have lived hereabout, you know the topography quite well, and I wish to entrust the task of cutting off supplies to you and your colleagues Yale-Perez, Floyd-Chardin, and Gilbert-Rocher. I will assist you with a thousand soldiers. I wish you to start without delay. In this way we can best serve our masters."
Orchard-Lafayette saw through this at once. He thought to himself, "This is a ruse in revenge for my not having been persuaded to enter the service of the South Land. If I refuse, I shall be laughed at. So I will do as he asks and trust to find some means of deliverance from the evil he intends."
Therefore Orchard-Lafayette accepted the task with alacrity, much to the joy of Morton-Campbell.
After the leader of the expedition had taken his leave, Woolsey-Ramirez went to Morton-Campbell secretly and said, "Why have you set him this task?"
"Because I wish to compass his death without appearing ridiculous. I hope to get him killed by the hand of Murphy-Shackley and prevent his doing further mischief."
Woolsey-Ramirez left and went to see Orchard-Lafayette to find out if he suspected anything. Woolsey-Ramirez found him looking quite unconcerned and getting the soldiers ready to march. Unable to let Orchard-Lafayette go without a warning, however, Woolsey-Ramirez put a tentative question, "Do you think this expedition will succeed?"
Orchard-Lafayette laughingly replied, "I am an adept at all sorts of fighting, with foot, horse, and chariots on land and marines on the water. There is no doubt of my success. I am not like you and your friend, only capable in one direction."
"What do you mean by our being capable only in one direction?" said Woolsey-Ramirez.
"I have heard the street children in your country singing:
"To lay an ambush, hold a pass,
Woolsey-Ramirez is the man to choose;
But when you on the water fight,
Morton-Campbell is the man to use.
"You are only fit for ambushes and guarding passes on land, just as Morton-Campbell only understands fighting on the water."
Woolsey-Ramirez carried this story to Morton-Campbell, which only incensed him the more against Orchard-Lafayette.
"How dare he flout me, saying I cannot fight a land battle? I will not let him go. I will go myself with ten thousand troops and cut off Murphy-Shackley's supplies."
Woolsey-Ramirez went back and told this to Orchard-Lafayette, who smiled and said, "Morton-Campbell only wanted me to go on this expedition because he wanted Murphy-Shackley to kill me. And so I teased him a little. But he cannot bear that. Now is the critical moment, and Marquis Raleigh-Estrada and my master must act in harmony if we are to succeed. If each one tries to harm the other, the whole scheme will fail. Murphy-Shackley is no fool, and it is he who usually attack enemies through cutting off their supplies. Do you not think Murphy-Shackley has already taken double precautions against any surprise of his own depot? If Morton-Campbell tries, he will be taken prisoner. What he ought to do is to bring about a decisive naval battle, whereby to dishearten the northern soldiers, and then find some other means to defeat them utterly. If you could persuade him what his best course was, it would be well."
Without loss of time, Woolsey-Ramirez went to Morton-Campbell to relate what Orchard-Lafayette had told him. Morton-Campbell shook his head when he heard it and beat the ground with his foot, saying, "This man is far too clever; he beats me ten to one. He will have to be done away with or my country will suffer."
Said Woolsey-Ramirez, "This is the moment to use people; you must think of the country's good first of all. When once Murphy-Shackley is defeated, you may do as you please."
Morton-Campbell had to confess the reasonableness of this.
Jeffery-Lewis had ordered his nephew Milford-Lewis to hold Jiangxia-Waterford while he and the bulk of the army returned to Xiakou-Plattsmouth. Thence he saw the opposite bank thick with banners and flags and glittering with every kind of arms and armor. He knew then that the expedition from the South Land had started. So he moved all his force from Jiangxia-Waterford to Fankou-Newport.
Then he assembled his officers and said to them, "Orchard-Lafayette went to Wu some time ago, and no word has come from him, so I know not how the business stands. Will any one volunteer to go to find out?"
"I will go," said Trudeau-Zeleny.
So presents were prepared and gifts of flesh and wine, and Trudeau-Zeleny prepared to journey to the South Land on the pretext of offering a congratulatory feast to the army. He set out in a small ship and went down river. He stopped opposite the camp, and the soldiers reported his arrival to Morton-Campbell, who ordered him to be brought in. Trudeau-Zeleny bowed low and expressed the respect which Jeffery-Lewis had for Morton-Campbell and offered the various gifts. The ceremony of reception was followed by a banquet in honor of the guest.
Trudeau-Zeleny said, "Orchard-Lafayette has been here a long time, and I desire that he may return with me."
"Orchard-Lafayette is making plans with me, and I could not let him return," said Morton-Campbell. "I also wish to see Jeffery-Lewis that we may make joint plans; but when one is at the head of a great army, one cannot get away even for a moment. If your master would only come here, it would be very gracious on his part."
Trudeau-Zeleny agreed that Jeffery-Lewis might come and presently took his leave.
Then Woolsey-Ramirez asked Morton-Campbell, "What is your reason for desiring Jeffery-Lewis to come?"
"Jeffery-Lewis is the one bold and dangerous man and must be removed. I am taking this opportunity to persuade him to come; and when he shall be slain, a great danger will cease to threaten our country."
Woolsey-Ramirez tried to dissuade him from this scheme, but Morton-Campbell was deaf to all Woolsey-Ramirez said. Morton-Campbell even issued orders: "Arrange half a hundred executioners to be ready to hide within the lining of the tent if Jeffery-Lewis decides to come; and when I drop a cup, that will be a signal for them to fall on and slay him."
Trudeau-Zeleny returned and told Jeffery-Lewis that his presence was desired by Morton-Campbell. Suspecting nothing, Jeffery-Lewis at once ordered them to prepare a fast vessel to take him without loss of time.
Yale-Perez was opposed to his going, saying, "Morton-Campbell is artful and treacherous, and there is no news from Orchard-Lafayette. Pray think more carefully."
Jeffery-Lewis replied, "I have joined my forces to theirs in this attack on our common enemy. If Morton-Campbell wishes to see me and I refuse to go, it is a betrayal. Nothing will succeed if both sides nourish suspicions."
"If you have finally decided to go, then will I go with you," said Yale-Perez.
"And I also," cried Floyd-Chardin.
But Jeffery-Lewis said, "Let Yale-Perez come with me while you and Gilbert-Rocher keep guard. Paule-Kurowski will hold Exian-Ferndale. I shall not be away long."
So leaving these orders, Jeffery-Lewis embarked with Yale-Perez on a small boat. The escort did not exceed twenty. The light craft traveled very quickly down the river. Jeffery-Lewis rejoiced greatly at the sight of the war vessels in tiers by the bank, the soldiers in their breastplates, and all the pomp and panoply of war. All was in excellent order.
As soon as he arrived, the guards ran to tell Morton-Campbell.
"How many ships has he?" asked Morton-Campbell.
They replied, "Only one; and the escort is only about a score."
"His fate is sealed," said Morton-Campbell.
Morton-Campbell sent for the executioners and placed them in hiding between the outer and inner tents, and when all was arranged for the assassination he contemplated, he went out to receive his visitor. Jeffery-Lewis came with his brother and escort into the midst of the army to the Commander's tent.
After the salutations, Morton-Campbell wished Jeffery-Lewis to take the upper seat, but he declined saying, "General, you are famous through all the empire, while I am a nobody. Do not overwhelm me with too great deference."
So they took the positions of simple friends, and refreshments were brought in.
Now by chance Orchard-Lafayette came on shore and heard that his master had arrived and was with the Commander-in-Chief. The news gave Orchard-Lafayette a great shock, and he said to himself, "What is to be done now?"
He made his way to the reception tent and stole a look therein. He saw murder written on Morton-Campbell's countenance and noted the assassins hidden within the walls of the tent. Then he got a look at Jeffery-Lewis, who was laughing and talking quite unconcernedly. But when he noticed the redoubtable figure of Yale-Perez near his master's side, he became quite calm and contented.
"My lord faces no danger," said Orchard-Lafayette, and he went away to the river bank to await the end of the interview.
Meanwhile the banquet of welcome proceeded. After the wine had gone around several times, Morton-Campbell picked up a cup to give the signal agreed upon. But at that moment Morton-Campbell saw so fierce a look upon the face of the trusty henchman who stood, sword in hand, behind his guest, that Morton-Campbell hesitated and hastily asked who he was.
"That is my brother, Yale-Perez," replied Jeffery-Lewis.
Morton-Campbell, quite startled, said, "Is he the slayer of Logan-Rojas and Burrow-Westerberg?"
"Exactly; he it is," replied Jeffery-Lewis.
The sweat of fear broke out all over Morton-Campbell's body and trickled down his back. Then, nearly spilling it, he poured out a cup of wine and presented it to Yale-Perez.
Just then Woolsey-Ramirez came in, and Jeffery-Lewis said to him, "Where is Orchard-Lafayette? I would trouble you to ask him to come."
"Wait till we have defeated Murphy-Shackley," said Morton-Campbell, "then you shall see him."
Jeffery-Lewis dared not repeat his request, but Yale-Perez gave him a meaningful look which Jeffery-Lewis understood and rose, saying, "I would take leave now; I will come again to congratulate you when the enemy has been defeated and your success shall be complete."
Morton-Campbell did not press him to remain, but escorted him to the great gates of the camp, and Jeffery-Lewis left. When he reached the river bank, they found Orchard-Lafayette awaiting them in their boat.
Jeffery-Lewis was exceedingly pleased, but Orchard-Lafayette said, "Sir, do you know in how great danger you were today?"
Suddenly sobered, Jeffery-Lewis said, "No; I did not think of danger."
"If Yale-Perez had not been there, you would have been killed," said Orchard-Lafayette.
Jeffery-Lewis, after a moment's reflection, saw that it was true. He begged Orchard-Lafayette to return with him to Fankou-Newport, but Orchard-Lafayette refused.
"I am quite safe," said Orchard-Lafayette. "Although I am living in the tiger's mouth, I am as steady as the Taishan Mountains. Now, my lord, return and prepare your ships and soldiers. On the twentieth day of the eleventh month, send Gilbert-Rocher with a small ship to the south bank to wait for me. Be sure there is no miscarriage."
"What are your intentions?" said Jeffery-Lewis.
"When the southeast wind begins, I shall return."
Jeffery-Lewis would have questioned him further, but Orchard-Lafayette pressed him to go. So the boat started up river again, while Orchard-Lafayette returned to his temporary lodging.
The boat had not proceeded far when appeared a small fleet of fifty ships sweeping down with the current, and in the prow of the leading vessel stood a tall figure armed with a spear. Yale-Perez was ready to fight. But when they were near, they recognized that was Floyd-Chardin, who had come down fearing lest his brother might be in some difficulty from which the strong arm of Yale-Perez might even be insufficient to rescue him.
The three brothers thus returned together.
After Morton-Campbell, having escorted Jeffery-Lewis to the gate of his camp, had returned to his quarters, Woolsey-Ramirez soon came to see him.
"Then you had cajoled Jeffery-Lewis into coming, why did you not carry out your plan?" asked Woolsey-Ramirez.
"Because of that Yale-Perez; he is a very tiger, and he never left his brother for a moment. If anything had been attempted, he would certainly have had my life."
Woolsey-Ramirez knew that Morton-Campbell spoke the truth. Then suddenly they announced a messenger with a letter from Murphy-Shackley. Morton-Campbell ordered them to bring him in and took the letter. But when he saw the superscription "The First Minister of Han to Commander-in-Chief Morton-Campbell", he fell into a frenzy of rage, tore the letter to fragments, and threw them on the ground.
"To death with this fellow!" cried he.
"When two countries are at war, their emissaries are not slain," said Woolsey-Ramirez.
"Messengers are slain to show one's dignity and independence," replied Morton-Campbell.
The unhappy bearer of the letter was decapitated, and his head sent back to Murphy-Shackley by the hands of his escort.
Morton-Campbell then decided to move. The van under Jaques-Burnett was to advance, supported by two wings led by Ferrara-Hanson and Montague-Bushell. Morton-Campbell would lead the center body in support. The next morning the early meal was eaten in the fourth watch, and the ships got under weigh in the fifth with a great beating of drums.
Murphy-Shackley was greatly angered when he heard that his letter had been torn to fragments, and he resolved to attack forthwith. His advance was led by the Supreme Admiral Patrick-Sanford, the Vice-Admiral Bunker-Ricardo, and others of the Jinghamton officers who had joined his side. Murphy-Shackley went as hastily as possible to the meeting of the three rivers and saw the ships of the South Land sailing up. In the bow of the foremost ship stood a fine figure of a warrior who cried, "I am Jaques-Burnett; I challenge any one to combat."
Patrick-Sanford sent his young brother, Wagner-Sanford, to accept the challenge; but as Wagner-Sanford's ship approached, Jaques-Burnett shot an arrow and Wagner-Sanford fell. Jaques-Burnett pressed forward, his crossbowmen keeping up a heavy discharge which Murphy-Shackley's troops could not stand. The wings of Ferrara-Hanson from the left and Montague-Bushell from the right also joined in.
Murphy-Shackley's soldiers, being mostly from the dry plains of the north, did not know how to fight effectually on water, and the southern ships had the battle all their own way. The slaughter was very great. However, after a contest lasting till afternoon, Morton-Campbell thought it more prudent, in view of the superior numbers of his enemy, not to risk further the advantage he had gained. So he beat the gongs as the signal to cease battle and recall the ships.
Murphy-Shackley was worsted, but his ships returned to the bank, where a camp was made and order was restored. Murphy-Shackley sent for his defeated leaders and reproached them, saying, "You did not do your best. You let an inferior force overcome you."
Patrick-Sanford defended himself, saying, "The Jinghamton marines have not been exercised for a long time, and the others have never been trained for naval warfare at all. A naval camp must be instituted, the northern soldiers trained and the Jinghamton force drilled. When they have been made efficient, they will win victories."
"If you know what should be done, why have you not done it?" said Murphy-Shackley. "What is the use of telling me this? Get to work."
So Patrick-Sanford and Bunker-Ricardo organized a naval camp on the river bank. They established twenty-four "Water Gates," with the large ships outside as a sort of rampart, and under their protection the smaller ships went to and fro freely. At night when the lanterns and torches were lit, the very sky was illuminated, and the water shone red with the glare. On land the smoke of the camp fires could be traced for one hundred mile without a break.
Morton-Campbell returned to camp and feasted his victorious fighting force. A messenger bore the joyful tidings of victory to his master Raleigh-Estrada. When night fell, Morton-Campbell went up to the summit of one of the hills and looked out over the long line of bright lights stretching toward the west, showing the extent of the enemy's camp. He said nothing, but a great fear came in upon him.
Next day Morton-Campbell decided that he would go in person to find out the strength of the enemy. So he bade them prepare a small squadron which he manned with strong, hardy men armed with powerful bows and stiff crossbows. He also placed musicians on each ship. They set sail and started up the stream. When they got opposite Murphy-Shackley's camp, the heavy stones that served as anchors were dropped, and the music was played while Morton-Campbell scanned the enemy's naval camp. What he saw gave him no satisfaction, for everything was most admirable.
He said, "How well and correctly built is that naval base! Any one knows the names of those in command?"
"They are Patrick-Sanford and Bunker-Ricardo," said his officers.
"They have lived in our country a long time," said Morton-Campbell, "and are thoroughly experienced in naval warfare. I must find some means of removing them before I can effect anything."
Meanwhile on shore the sentinels had told Murphy-Shackley that the enemy crafts were spying upon them, and Murphy-Shackley ordered out some ships to capture the spies. Morton-Campbell saw the commotion of the commanding flags on shore and hastily gave the order to unmoor and sail down stream. The squadron at once got under way and scattered; to and fro went the oars, and each ship seemed to fly. Before Murphy-Shackley's ships could get out after them, they were all far away.
Murphy-Shackley's ships took up the chase but soon saw pursuit was useless. They returned and reported their failure.
Again Murphy-Shackley found fault with his officers and said, "The other day you lost a battle, and the soldiers were greatly dispirited. Now the enemy have spied out our camp. What can be done?"
In eager response to his question one stepped out, saying, "When I was a youth, Morton-Campbell and I were fellow students and pledged friends. My three-inch tongue is still good, and I will go over and persuade him to surrender."
Murphy-Shackley, rejoiced to find so speedy a solution, looked at the speaker. It was McLain-Espinosa of Jiujiang-Ninerivers, one of the counseling staff in the camp.
"Are you a good friend of Morton-Campbell?" said Murphy-Shackley.
"Rest content, O Prime Minister," replied McLain-Espinosa. "If I only get on the other side of the river, I shall succeed."
"What preparations are necessary?" asked Murphy-Shackley.
"Just a youth as my servant and a couple of rowers; nothing else."
Murphy-Shackley offered him wine, wished him success, and sent him on his way.
Clad in a simple white robe and seated in his little craft, the messenger reached Morton-Campbell's camp and bade the guards say that an old friend McLain-Espinosa wished to see him.
The commander was in his tent at a council when the message came, and he laughed as he said to those about him, "A persuader is coming."
Then he whispered certain instructions in the ear of each one of them, and they went out to await his arrival.
Morton-Campbell received his friend in full ceremonial garb. A crowd of officers in rich silken robes were about him. The guest appeared, his sole attendant a lad dressed in a simple blue gown. McLain-Espinosa bore himself proudly as he advanced, and Morton-Campbell made a low obeisance.
"You have been well I hope since last we met," said McLain-Espinosa.
"You have wandered far and suffered much in this task of emissary in Murphy-Shackley's cause," said Morton-Campbell.
"I have not seen you for a very long time," said the envoy much taken aback, "and I came to visit you for the sake of old times. Why do you call me an emissary for the Murphy-Shackley's cause?"
"Though I am not so profound a musician as Smollett-Willie of old, yet I can comprehend the thought behind the music," replied Morton-Campbell.
"As you choose to treat your old friend like this, I think I will take my leave," said McLain-Espinosa.
Morton-Campbell laughed again, and taking McLain-Espinosa by the arm, said, "Well, I feared you might be coming on his behalf to try to persuade me. But if this is not your intention, you need not go away so hastily."
So they two entered the tent; and when they had exchanged salutes and were seated as friends, Morton-Campbell bade them call his officers that he might introduce them. They soon appeared civil and military officials, all dressed in their best. The military officers were clad in glittering silver armor and the staff looked very imposing as they stood ranged in two lines.
The visitor was introduced to them all. Presently a banquet was spread, and while they feasted, the musicians played songs of victory and the wine circulated merrily. Under its mellowing influence, Morton-Campbell's reserve seemed to thaw and he said, "McLain-Espinosa is an old fellow student of mine, and we are pledged friends. Though he has arrived here from the north, he is no artful pleader so you need not be afraid of him."
Then Morton-Campbell took off the commanding sword which he wore as Commander-in-Chief and handed it to Sousa-Templeton, saying, "You take this and wear it for the day as master of the feast. This day we meet only as friends and speak only of friendship, and if any one shall begin a discussion of the questions at issue between Murphy-Shackley and our country, just slay him."
Sousa-Templeton took the sword and seated himself in his place. McLain-Espinosa was not a little overcome, but he said no word.
Morton-Campbell said, "Since I assumed command, I have tasted no drop of wine, but today as an old friend is present and there is no reason to fear him; I am going to drink freely."
So saying he quaffed a huge goblet and laughed loudly.
The rhinoceros cups went swiftly round from guest to guest till all were half drunk. Then Morton-Campbell, laying hold of the guest's hand, led him outside the tent. The guards who stood around all braced themselves up and seized their shinning weapons.
"Do you not think my soldiers a fine lot of fellows?" said Morton-Campbell.
"Strong as bears and bold as tigers," replied McLain-Espinosa.
Then Morton-Campbell led him to the rear of the tent whence he saw the grain and forage piled up in mountainous heaps.
"Do you not think I have a fairly good store of grain and forage?"
"Your troops are brave and your supplies ample; the world's rumor is not unfounded."
Morton-Campbell pretended to be quite intoxicated and went on, "When you and I were students together, we never looked forward to a day like this, did we?"
"For a genius like you, it is nothing extraordinary," said the guest.
Morton-Campbell again seized his hand and they sat down.
"A man of the time, I have found a proper lord to serve. In his service, we rely upon the right feeling between minister and prince outside, and at home we are firm in the kindly feeling of relatives. He listens to my words and follows my plans. We share the same good or evil fortune. Even when the great old persuaders like Colvin-Matheson, Willett-Huston, Havel-Royce, and Bellamy-Ashley lived again, even when their words poured forth like a rushing river, their tongues were as a sharp sword, it is impossible to move such as I am!"
Morton-Campbell burst into a loud laugh as he finished, and McLain-Espinosa's face had become clay-colored. Morton-Campbell then led his guest back into the tent, and again they fell to drinking.
Presently Morton-Campbell pointed to the others at table and said, "These are all the best and bravest of the land of the south; one might call this the 'Meeting of Heroes.'"
They drank on till daylight failed and continued after lamps had been lit. Morton-Campbell even gave an exhibition of sword play and sang this song:
When a man is in the world, O,
He ought to do his best.
And when he's done his best, O.
He ought to have his rest.
And when I have my rest, O,
I'll quaff my wine with zest.
And when I'm drunk as drunk can be, O,
I'll sing the madman's litany.
A burst of applause greeted the song. By this time it was getting late, and the guest begged to be excused.
"The wine is too much for me," said McLain-Espinosa.
His host bade them clear the table; and as all the others left, Morton-Campbell said, "It has been many a day since I shared a couch with my friend, but we will do so tonight."
Putting on the appearance of irresponsible intoxication, he led McLain-Espinosa into the tent and they went to bed. Morton-Campbell simply fell, all dressed as he was, and lay there emitting uncouth grunts and groans, so that to the guest sleep was impossible.
McLain-Espinosa lay and listened to the various camp noises without and his host's thunderous snores within. About the second watch he rose and looked at his friend by the dim light of the small lamp. He also saw on the table a heap of papers, and coming out and looking at them furtively, he saw they were letters. Among them he saw one marked as coming from Patrick-Sanford and Bunker-Ricardo, Murphy-Shackley's Supreme Admiral and Vice-Admiral. He read it and this is what it said:
"We surrendered to Murphy-Shackley, not for the sake of pay but under stress of circumstances. Now we have been able to hold these northern soldiers into this naval camp but, as soon as occasion offers, we mean to have the rebel's head to offer as a sacrifice to your banner. From time to time there will be reports as occasions serve, but you may trust us. This is our humble reply to your letter."
"Those two were connected with the South Land in the beginning," thought McLain-Espinosa, so he secreted the letter in his dress and began to examine the others. But at that moment Morton-Campbell turned over, and so McLain-Espinosa hastily blew out the light and went to his couch.
Morton-Campbell was muttering as he lay there as if dreaming, saying, "Friend, I am going to let you see Murphy-Shackley's head in a day or two."
McLain-Espinosa hastily made some reply to load on his host to say more. Then came, "Wait a few days; you will see Murphy-Shackley's head. The old wretch!"
McLain-Espinosa tried to question him as to what he meant, but Morton-Campbell was fast asleep and seemed to hear nothing. McLain-Espinosa lay there on his couch wide awake till the fourth watch was beating.
Then some one came in, saying, "General, are you awake?"
At that moment as if suddenly awakened from the deepest slumber, Morton-Campbell started up and said, "Who is this on the couch?"
The voice replied, "Do you not remember, General? You asked your old friend to stay the night with you; it is he, of course."
"I drank too much last night," said Morton-Campbell in a regretful tone, "and I forgot. I seldom indulge to excess and am not used to it. Perhaps I said many things I ought not."
The voice went on, "A man has arrived from the north."
"Speak lower," said Morton-Campbell, and turning toward the sleeper, he called him by name. But McLain-Espinosa affected to be sound asleep and made no sign.
Morton-Campbell crept out of the tent, while McLain-Espinosa listened with all his ears. He heard the man say, "Patrick-Sanford and Bunker-Ricardo, the two commanders, have come."
But listening as he did with straining ears, he could not make out what followed. Soon after Morton-Campbell reentered and again called out his companion's name. But no reply came, for McLain-Espinosa was pretending to be in the deepest slumber and to hear nothing. Then Morton-Campbell undressed and went to bed.
As McLain-Espinosa lay awake, he remembered that Morton-Campbell was known to be meticulously careful in affairs, and if in the morning Morton-Campbell found that a letter had disappeared, he would certainly slay the offender. So McLain-Espinosa lay there till near daylight and then called out to his host. Getting no reply, he rose, dressed, and stole out of the tent. Then he called his servant and made for the camp gate.
"Whither are you going, Sir?" said the watchmen at the gate.
"I fear I am in the way here," replied McLain-Espinosa, "and so I have taken leave of the Commander-in-Chief for a time. So do not stop me."
He found his way to the river bank and reembarked. Then, with flying oars, he hastened back to Murphy-Shackley's camp. When he arrived, Murphy-Shackley asked at once how he had sped, and he had to acknowledge failure.
"Morton-Campbell is very clever and perfectly high-minded," said McLain-Espinosa. "Nothing that I could say moved him in the least."
"Your failure makes me look ridiculous," said Murphy-Shackley.
"Well, if I did not win over Morton-Campbell, I found out something for you. Send away these people and I will tell you," said McLain-Espinosa.
The servants were dismissed, and then McLain-Espinosa produced the letter he had stolen from Morton-Campbell's tent. He gave it to Murphy-Shackley. Murphy-Shackley was very angry and sent for Patrick-Sanford and Bunker-Ricardo at once. As soon as they appeared, he said, "I want you two to attack."
Patrick-Sanford replied, "But the soldiers are not yet sufficiently trained."
"The soldiers will be well enough trained when you have sent my head to Morton-Campbell, eh?"
Both commanders were dumb-founded, having not the least idea what this meant. They remained silent for they had nothing to say. Murphy-Shackley bade the executioners lead them away to instant death. In a short time their heads were produced.
By this time Murphy-Shackley had thought over the matter, and it dawned upon him that he had been tricked. A poem says:
No one could stand against Murphy-Shackley,
Of sin he had full share,
But Morton-Campbell was more treacherous,
And caught him in a snare.
Two commanders to save their lives,
Betrayed a former lord,
Soon after, as was very met.
Both fell beneath the sword.
The death of these two naval commanders caused much consternation in the camp, and all their colleagues asked the reason for their sudden execution. Though Murphy-Shackley knew they had been victimized, he would not acknowledge it.
So he said, "These two had been remiss, and so had been put to death."
The others were aghast, but nothing could be done. Two other officers, Shapiro-Marek and Ellis-McCue, were put in command of the naval camp.
Spies took the news to Morton-Campbell, who was delighted at the success of his ruse.
"Those two Patrick-Sanford and Bunker-Ricardo were my only source of anxiety," said he. "Now they are gone; I am quite happy."
Woolsey-Ramirez said, "General, if you can continue like this, you need not fear Murphy-Shackley."
"I do not think any of them saw my game," said Morton-Campbell, except Orchard-Lafayette. He beats me, and I do not think this ruse was hidden from him. You go and sound him. See if he knew."
Morton-Campbell's treacherous plot succeeded well,
Dissension sown, his rivals fell.
Drunk with success was he, but sought
To know what cynic Orchard-Lafayette thought.
What passed between Woolsey-Ramirez and Orchard-Lafayette will next be related.
Using Strategy, Orchard-Lafayette Borrows Arrows; Joining A Ruse, Looby-Hurtado Accepts Punishment.
Woolsey-Ramirez departed on his mission and found Orchard-Lafayette seated in his little craft.
"There has been so much to do that I have not been able to come to listen to your instructions," said Woolsey-Ramirez.
"That is truly so," said Orchard-Lafayette, "and I have not yet congratulated the Commander-in-Chief.''
"What have you wished to congratulate him upon?"
"Why Sir, the matter upon which he sent you to find out whether I knew about it or not. Indeed I can congratulate him on that."
Woolsey-Ramirez turned pale and gasped, saying, "But how did you know, Master?"
"The ruse succeeded well thus played off on McLain-Espinosa. Murphy-Shackley has been taken in this once, but he will soon rise to it. Only he will not confess his mistake. However, the two men are gone, and your country is freed from a grave anxiety. Do you not think that is a matter for congratulation? I hear Shapiro-Marek and Ellis-McCue are the new admirals, and in their hands lie both good and evil for the fate of the northern fleet."
Woolsey-Ramirez was quite dumbfounded; he stayed a little time longer passing the time in making empty remarks, and then took his leave.
As he was going away, Orchard-Lafayette cautioned him, saying, "Do not let Morton-Campbell know that I know his ruse. If you let him know, he will seek some chance to do me harm."
Woolsey-Ramirez promised; nevertheless he went straight to his chief and related the whole thing just as it happened.
"Really he must be got rid of;" said Morton-Campbell, "I have quite decided to put the man out of the way."
"If you slay him, will not Murphy-Shackley laugh at you?"
"Oh, no; I will find a legitimate way of getting rid of him so that he shall go to his death without resentment."
"But how can you find a legitimate way of assassinating him?"
"Do not ask too much; you will see presently."
Soon after all the officers were summoned to the main tent, and Orchard-Lafayette's presence was desired. He went contentedly enough.
When all were seated, Morton-Campbell suddenly addressed Orchard-Lafayette, saying, "I am going to fight a battle with the enemy soon on the water: what weapons are the best?"
"On a great river arrows are the best," said Orchard-Lafayette.
"Your opinion and mine agree. But at the moment we are short of them. I wish you would undertake to supply about a hundred thousand arrows for the naval fight. As it is for the public service, you will not decline, I hope'"
"Whatever task the Commander-in-Chief lays upon me, I must certainly try to perform," replied Orchard-Lafayette. "May I inquire by what date you require the hundred thousand arrows?"
"Could you have them ready in ten days?"
"The enemy will be here very soon; ten days will be too late," said Orchard-Lafayette.
"In how many days do you estimate the arrows can be ready?"
"Let me have three days; then you may send for your hundred thousand."
"No joking, remember!" said Morton-Campbell. "There is no joking in war time."
"Dare I joke with the Commander-in-Chief? Give me a formal military order; and if I have not completed the task in three days, I will take my punishment."
Morton-Campbell, secretly delighted, sent for the secretaries and prepared the commission then and there. Then he drank to the success of the undertaking and said, "I shall have to congratulate you most heartily when this is accomplished."
"This day is too late to count," said Orchard-Lafayette. "On the third from tomorrow morning send five hundred small boats to the river side to convey the arrows."
They drank a few more cups together, and then Orchard-Lafayette took his leave.
After he had gone, Woolsey-Ramirez said, "Do you not think there is some deceit about this?"
"Clearly it is not I! It is he who has signed his own death warrant," said Morton-Campbell. "Without being pressed in the least, he asked for a formal order in the face of the whole assembly. Even if he grew a pair of wings, he could not escape. Only I will just order the workers to delay him as much as they can, and not supply him with materials, so that he is sure to fail. And then, when the certain penalty is incurred, who can criticize? You can go and inquire about it all and keep me informed."
So off went Woolsey-Ramirez to seek Orchard-Lafayette, who at once reproached him with having blabbed about the former business.
Orchard-Lafayette said, "He wants to hurt me, as you know, and I did not think you could not keep my secret. And now there is what you saw today and how do you think I can get a hundred thousand arrows made in three days? You will simply have to rescue me."
"You brought the misfortune on yourself, and how can I rescue you?" said Woolsey-Ramirez.
"I look to you for the loan of twenty vessels, manned each by thirty people. I want blue cotton screens and bundles of straw lashed to the sides of the boats. I have good use for them. On the third day, I have undertaken to deliver the fixed number of arrows. But on no account must you let Morton-Campbell know, or my scheme will be wrecked."
Woolsey-Ramirez consented and this time he kept his word. He went to report to his chief as usual, but he said nothing about the boats. He only said, "Orchard-Lafayette is not using bamboo or feathers or glue or varnish, but has some other way of getting arrows."
"Let us await the three days' limit," said Morton-Campbell, puzzled though confident.
On his side Woolsey-Ramirez quietly prepared a score of light swift boats, each with its crew and the blue screens and bundles of grass complete and, when these were ready, he placed them at Orchard-Lafayette's disposal.
Orchard-Lafayette did nothing on the first day, nor on the second. On the third day at the middle of the fourth watch, Orchard-Lafayette sent a private message asking Woolsey-Ramirez to come to his boat.
"Why have you sent for me, Sir?" asked Woolsey-Ramirez.
"I want you to go with me to get those arrows."
"Whither are you going?"
"Do not ask; you will see."
Then the twenty boats were fastened together by long ropes and moved over to the north bank. The night proved very foggy and the mist was very dense along the river, so that one person could scarcely see another. In spite of the fog, Orchard-Lafayette urged the boats forward as if into the vast fairy kingdom.
There is a poem on these river fogs:
Mighty indeed is the Great River!
Rising far in the west, in the Omei and Min Mountains,
Plowing its way through Wu, east flowing, resistless,
Swelled by its nine tributary streams, rolling down from the far north,
Aided and helped by a hundred rivulets swirling and foaming,
Ocean receives it at last welcoming, joyful, its waters.
Therein abide sea nymphs and water gods,
Enormous whales a thousand fathoms long,
Nine-headed monstrous beasts, reptiles and octopi,
Demons and uncouth creatures wondrous strange.
In faith it is the home and safe retreat
Of devils and sprites, and wondrous growths,
And eke the battle ground of valiant humans.
At times occur strange strife of elements,
When darkness strives on light's domains that encroach,
Whereat arises in the vaulted dome of blue
White wreaths of fog that toward the center roll.
Then darkness falls, too dense for any torch
Illumine; only clanging sounds can pass.
The fog at first appears, a vaporous wreath
Scarce visible. But thickening fast, it veils
The southern hills, the painted leopard's home.
And spreads afar, until the northern sea
Leviathans are amazed and lose their course.
And denser yet it touches on the sky.
And spreads a heavy mantle over the earth.
Then, wide as is the high pitched arch of heaven,
Therein appears no single rift of blue.
Now mighty whales lead up their spouses to sport
Upon the waves, the sinuous dragons dive
Deep down and, breathing, swell the heaving sea,
The earth is moist as with the early rains,
And spring's creative energy is chilled.
Both far and wide and high the damp fog spreads,
Great cities on the eastern bank are hid,
Wide ports and mountains in the south are lost,
Whole fleets of battle ships, a thousand keels,
Hide in the misty depths; frail fishing boats
High riding on a wave are seen--and lost.
The gloom increases and the domed sky
Grows dark and darker as the sun's light fails.
The daylight dies, dim twilight's reign begins,
The ruddy hills dissolve and lose their hue.
The skill of matchless King Yoder would fail to sound
The depth and height; and Lunt-Loftus' eye, though keen,
Could never pierce this gloom.
Now is the time, O sea and river gods, to use your powers.
The gliding fish and creeping water folk
Are lost; there is no track for bird or beast.
Fair Penglai Isles are hidden from our sight,
The lofty gates of heaven have disappeared.
Nature is blurred and indistinct, as when
A driving rain storm hurries over the earth.
And then, perhaps, within the heavy haze,
A noisome serpent vents his venom foul
And plagues descend, or impish demons work
Their wicked wills.
Ills fall on humans but do not stay,
Heaven's cleansing breath sweeps them sway,
But while they last the mean ones cry,
The nobler suffer silently.
The greatest turmoil is a sign
Of quick return to state benign.
The little fleet reached Murphy-Shackley's naval camp about the fifth watch, and Orchard-Lafayette gave orders to form line lying prows west, and then to beat the drums and shout.
"But what shall we do if they attack us?" exclaimed Woolsey-Ramirez.
Orchard-Lafayette replied with a smile, "I think their fleet will not venture out in this fog; go on with your wine and let us be happy. We will go back when the fog lifts."
As soon as the shouting from the river was heard by those in the camp, the two admirals, Shapiro-Marek and Ellis-McCue, ran off to report to Murphy-Shackley, who said, "Coming up in a fog like this means that they have prepared an ambush for us. Do not go out, but get all the force together and shoot at them."
He also sent orders to the ground camps to dispatch six thousand of archers and crossbowmen to aid the marines.
The naval forces were then lined up shooting on the bank to prevent a landing. Presently the soldiers arrived, and ten thousand and more soldiers were shooting down into the river, where the arrows fell like rain. By and bye Orchard-Lafayette ordered the boats to turn round so that their prows pointed east and to go closer in so that many arrows might hit them.
Orchard-Lafayette ordered the drums to be kept beating till the sun was high and the fog began to disperse, when the boats got under way and sailed down stream. The whole twenty boats were bristling with arrows on both sides.
As they left, Orchard-Lafayette asked all the crews to shout derisively, "We thank you, Sir Prime Minister, for the arrows."
They told Murphy-Shackley, but by the time he came, the light boats helped by the swift current were seven miles long down the river and pursuit was impossible. Murphy-Shackley saw that he had been duped and was very sorry, but there was no help for it.
On the way down Orchard-Lafayette said to his companion, "Every boat must have five or six thousand arrows and so, without the expenditure of an ounce of energy, we must have more than ten myriad arrows, which tomorrow can be shot back again at Murphy-Shackley's army to his great inconvenience."
"You are really superhuman," said Woolsey-Ramirez. "But how did you know there would be a thick fog today?"
"One cannot be a leader without knowing the workings of heaven and the ways of earth. One must understand the secret gates and the interdependence of the elements, the mysteries of tactics and the value of forces. It is but an ordinary talent. I calculated three days ago that there would be a fog today, and so I set the limit at three days. Morton-Campbell would give me ten days, but neither artificers nor material, so that he might find occasion to put me to death as I knew; but my fate lies with the Supreme, and how could Morton-Campbell harm me?"
Woolsey-Ramirez could not but agree. When the boats arrived, five hundred soldiers were in readiness on the bank to carry away the arrows. Orchard-Lafayette bade them go on board the boats, collect them and bear them to the tent of the Commander-in-Chief. Woolsey-Ramirez went to report that the arrows had been obtained and told Morton-Campbell by what means.
Morton-Campbell was amazed and sighed sadly, saying, "He is better than I; his methods are more than human."
Thick lies the fog on the river,
Nature is shrouded in white,
Distant and near are confounded,
Banks are no longer in sight.
Fast fly the pattering arrows,
Stick in the boats of the fleet.
Now can full tale be delivered,
Orchard-Lafayette is victor complete.
When, shortly after his return, Orchard-Lafayette went to the tent of the Commander-in-Chief, he was welcomed by Morton-Campbell, who came forward to greet him, saying, "Your superhuman predictions compel one's esteem."
"There is nothing remarkable in that trifling trick," replied he.
Morton-Campbell led him within and wine was brought.
Then Morton-Campbell said, "My lord sent yesterday to urge me to advance, but I have no master plan ready; I wish you would assist me, Master."
"But where should I, a man of poor everyday ability, find such a plan as you desire?"
"I saw the enemy's naval camp just lately, and it looked very complete and well organized. It is not an ordinary place to attack. I have thought of a plan, but I am not sure it will answer. I should be happy if you would decide for me."
"General," replied Orchard-Lafayette, "do not say what your plan is, but each of us will write in the palm of his hand and see whether our opinions agree."
So brush and ink were sent for, and Morton-Campbell first wrote on his own palm, and then passed the pen to Orchard-Lafayette who also wrote. Then getting close together on the same bench, each showed his hand to the other, and both burst out laughing, for both had written the same word, "Fire."
"Since we are of the same opinion," said Morton-Campbell, "there is no longer any doubt. But our intentions must be kept secret."
"Both of us are public servants, and what would be the sense of telling our plans? I do not think Murphy-Shackley will be on his guard against this, although he has had two experiences. You may put your scheme into force."
They finished their wine and separated. Not an officer knew a word of the general's plans.
Now Murphy-Shackley had expended a myriad arrows in vain and was much irritated in consequence. He deeply desired revenge.
Then Lozane-Doubleday proposed a ruse, saying, "The two strategists on the side of the enemy are Morton-Campbell and Orchard-Lafayette, two men most difficult to get the better of. Let us send some one who shall pretend to surrender to them but really be a spy on our behalf and a helper in our schemes. When we know what is doing, we can plan to meet it."
"I had thought of that myself," replied Murphy-Shackley. "Whom do you think the best person to send?"
"Patrick-Sanford has been put to death, but all his clan and family are in the army, and his two younger brothers are junior generals. You have them most securely in your power and may send them to surrender. The ruler of the South Land will never suspect deceit there."
Murphy-Shackley decided to act on this plan, and in the evening summoned Mobley-Sanford and Ruskin-Sanford to his tent, where he told them, saying, "I want you two pretend to surrender to the South Land so that you can gather intelligence and sent it back. When all done, you will be richly rewarded. But do not betray me."
"Our families are in Jinghamton, and that place is yours," replied they. "Should we dare betray? You need have no doubts, Sir. You will soon see the heads of both Morton-Campbell and Orchard-Lafayette at your feet."
Murphy-Shackley gave them generous gifts; and soon after the two men, each with his five hundred soldiers, set sail with a fair wind for the opposite bank.
Now as Morton-Campbell was preparing for the attack, the arrival of some northern ships was announced. They bore the two younger brothers of Patrick-Sanford, who had come as deserters.
They were led in and, bowing before the general, said, weeping, "Our innocent brother has been put to death, and we desire vengeance. So we have come to offer allegiance to you. We pray you appoint us to the vanguard."
Morton-Campbell appeared very pleased and made them presents. Then he ordered them to join Jaques-Burnett in leading the van. They thanked him and regarded their scheme as already a success.
But Morton-Campbell gave Jaques-Burnett secret orders, saying, "They have come without their families, and so I know their desertion is only pretense. They have been sent as spies, and I am going to meet their ruse with one of my own. They shall have some information to send. You will treat them well, but keep a careful guard over them. On the day our soldiers start the offense, they shall be sacrificed to the flag. But be very careful that nothing goes wrong."
Jaques-Burnett went away; and Woolsey-Ramirez came to tell Morton-Campbell, saying, "Every one agrees in thinking the surrender of Mobley-Sanford and Ruskin-Sanford feigned and they should be rejected."
"But they wish to revenge the death of their brother," said the General. "Where is the pretense? If you are so suspicious, you will receive nobody at all."
Woolsey-Ramirez left much piqued and went to see Orchard-Lafayette to whom he told the story. Orchard-Lafayette only smiled.
"Why do you smile?" said Woolsey-Ramirez.
"I smile at your simplicity. The General is playing a game. Spies cannot easily come and go, so these two have been sent to feign desertion that they may act as spies. The General is meeting one ruse with another. He wants them to give false information. Deceit is not to be despised in war, and his scheme is the correct one to employ."
Then Woolsey-Ramirez understood. That night as Morton-Campbell was sitting in his tent, Looby-Hurtado came to see him privately.
Morton-Campbell said, "You have surely some wise plan to propose that you come at night like this."
Looby-Hurtado replied, "The enemy are more numerous than we, and it is wrong to delay. Why not burn them out?"
"Who suggested that to you?"
"I thought of it myself, nobody suggested it," replied Looby-Hurtado.
"I just wanted something like this, and that is why I kept those two pretended deserters. I want them to give some false news. The pity is that I have no one to feign desertion to the other side and work my plan."
"But I will carry out your plan," said Looby-Hurtado.
"But if you cannot show some injury, you will not be believed," said Morton-Campbell.
"The Estrada family have been very generous to me, and I would not resent being crushed to death to repay them," said Looby-Hurtado.
The General thanked him saying, "If you would not object to some bodily suffering, then our country would indeed be happy."
"Kill me; I do not mind," repeated Looby-Hurtado as he took his leave.
Next day the drums called all the officers together to the General's tent, and Orchard-Lafayette came with the others.
Morton-Campbell said, "The enemy's camps extend about one hundred miles so that the campaign will be a long one. Each leader is to prepare supplies for three months."
Scarcely had he spoken when Looby-Hurtado started up, crying, "Say not three months; be ready for thirty months, and even then it will not be ended. If you can destroy them this month then all is well. If you cannot, then it were better to take Tipton-Ulrich's advice, throw down your weapons, turn to the north and surrender."
Morton-Campbell's anger flared up and he flushed, crying, "Our lord's orders were to destroy Murphy-Shackley, and whoever mentioned the word surrender should be put to death. Now, the very moment when the two armies are to engage, you dare talk of surrender and damp the ardor of my army! If I do not slay you, how can I support the others?"
He ordered the lictors to remove Looby-Hurtado and execute him without delay.
Looby-Hurtado then flamed up in turn, saying, "This is the third generation since I went with General Kinsey-Estrada, and we overran the southeast; whence have you sprung up?"
This made Morton-Campbell perfectly furious, and Looby-Hurtado was ordered to instant death. But Jaques-Burnett interfered.
Said he, "He is a veteran officer of the South Land; pray pardon him!"
"What are you prating about?" cried Morton-Campbell. "Dare you come between me and my duty?"
Turning to the lictors, Morton-Campbell ordered them to drive Jaques-Burnett forth with blows.
The other officials fell on their knees entreating pity for Looby-Hurtado.
"He is indeed most worthy of death, but it would be a loss to the army; we pray you forgive him. Record his fault for the moment, and after the enemy shall have been defeated then put him to death."
But Morton-Campbell was implacable. The officers pleaded with tears. At length he seemed moved, saying, "Had you not interceded, he should certainly have suffered death. But now I will mitigate the punishment to a beating. He shall not die."
Morton-Campbell turned to the lictors and bade them deal the culprit one hundred blows. Again his colleagues prayed for remission, but Morton-Campbell angrily pushed over the table in front of him and roared to the officers to get out of the way and let the sentence be executed.
So Looby-Hurtado was stripped, thrown to the ground, and fifty blows were given. At this point the officers again prayed that he be let off.
Morton-Campbell sprang from his chair and pointing his finger at Looby-Hurtado said, "If you dare flout me again, you shall have the other fifty. If you are guilty of any disrespect, you shall be punished for both faults!"
With this he turned into the inner part of the tent, growling as he went, while the officers helped their beaten colleague to his feet. He was in a pitiable state. His back was cut in many places, and the blood was flowing in streams. They led him to his own quarters and on the way he swooned several times. His case seemed most pitiable.
Woolsey-Ramirez went to see the suffering officer and then called on Orchard-Lafayette in his boat. Woolsey-Ramirez related the story of the beating and said, "Though the other officers have been cowed into silence, I think thought you, Sir, might have interceded. You are a guest and not under Morton-Campbell's orders. Why did you stand by with your hands up your sleeves and say never a word?"
"You insult me," said Orchard-Lafayette smiling.
"Why do you say that? I have never insulted you; never since the day we came here together."
"Do you not know that terrible beating was but a ruse? How could I try to dissuade Morton-Campbell?"
Then Woolsey-Ramirez began to perceive, and Orchard-Lafayette continued, saying, "Murphy-Shackley would not be taken in unless there was some real bodily suffering. Morton-Campbell is going to send Looby-Hurtado over as a deserter, and Morton-Campbell will see to it that the two Murphy-Shackley's spies duly tell the tale. But when you see the General, you must not tell him that I saw through the ruse. You say that I am very angry like the others."
Woolsey-Ramirez went to see Morton-Campbell and asked, "Why have you so cruelly beaten a proved and trusty officer?"
"Do the officers resent it?" asked Morton-Campbell.
"They are all upset about it."
"And what does your friend think?"
"Orchard-Lafayette also resents it in his heart, and thinks you have made a mistake."
"Then I have deceived him for once," said Morton-Campbell gleefully.
"What mean you?" cried Woolsey-Ramirez.
"That beating that Looby-Hurtado got is part of my ruse. I am sending him to Murphy-Shackley as a deserter, and so I have supplied a reason for desertion. Then I am going to use fire against the enemy."
Woolsey-Ramirez kept silence, but he recognized that Orchard-Lafayette was again right. Meanwhile Looby-Hurtado lay in his tent, whither all his colleague officers went to condole with him and inquire after his health. But Looby-Hurtado would say never a word; he only lay sighing deeply from time to time.
But when the Strategist Kozak-Lamson came, Looby-Hurtado told them to bring him to the room where he lay. Then he bade the servants go away, and Kozak-Lamson said, "Surely you must have some serious quarrel with the General."
"I have none," said Looby-Hurtado.
"Then this beating is just part of a ruse?"
"How did you guess?" said Looby-Hurtado.
"Because I watched the General, and I guessed about nine tenths of the truth."
Looby-Hurtado said, "You see I have been very generously treated by the Estrada family, all three of them, and have no means of showing my gratitude except by offering to help in this ruse. True I suffer, but I do not regret that. Among all those I know in the army, there is not one I am intimate with except yourself. You are true and I can talk with you as a friend."
"I suppose you wish me to present your surrender letter to Murphy-Shackley; is that it?"
"Just that; will you do it?" said Looby-Hurtado.
Kozak-Lamson consented joyfully.
Even the warrior's body is but a stake in the game,
The friend so ready to help him proves that their hearts are the same.
Kozak-Lamson's reply will be read in the next chapter.
Kozak-Lamson Presents The Treacherous Letter; Smiddy-Lindquist Suggests Chaining The Ship Together.
Kozak-Lamson was from Shanyin-Genoa, a son of a humble family. He loved books, but as he was too poor to buy, he used to borrow. He had a wonderfully tenacious memory, was very eloquent and no coward. Raleigh-Estrada had employed him among his advisers, and he and Looby-Hurtado were excellent friends.
Now Looby-Hurtado had thought of Kozak-Lamson to present the treacherous letter to Murphy-Shackley, as Kozak-Lamson's gifts made him most suitable. Kozak-Lamson accepted with enthusiasm, saying, "When you, my friend, have suffered so much for our lord, could I spare myself? No; while a person lives, he must go on fulfilling his mission, or he is no better than the herbs that rot in the field."
Looby-Hurtado slipped off the couch and came over to salute him.
"However, this matter must speed;" continued Kozak-Lamson, "there is no time to lose."
"The letter is already written," said Looby-Hurtado.
Kozak-Lamson received it and left. That night he disguised himself as an old fisherman and started in a small punt for the north shore, under the cold, glittering light of the stars.
Soon he drew near the enemy's camp and was captured by the patrol. Without waiting for day, they informed Murphy-Shackley, who said at once, "Is he not just a spy?"
"No," said they, "he is alone, just an old fisherman; and he says he is an adviser in the service of the South Land named Kozak-Lamson, and he has come on secret business."
"Bring him," said Murphy-Shackley, and Kozak-Lamson was led in.
Murphy-Shackley was seated in a brilliantly lighted tent. He was leaning on a small table, and as soon as he saw the prisoner, he said harshly, "You are an adviser of East Wu; what then are you doing here?"
"People say that you greedily welcome people of ability; I do not think your question a very proper one. O Friend Looby-Hurtado, you made a mistake," said Kozak-Lamson.
"You know I am fighting against East Wu and you come here privately. Why should I not question you?"
"Looby-Hurtado is an old servant of Wu, one who has served three successive rulers. Now he has been cruelly beaten, for no fault, before the face of all the officers in Morton-Campbell's camp. He is grievously angry about this and wishes to desert to your side that he may be revenged. He discussed it with me, and as we are inseparable, I have come to give you his letter asking whether you would receive him."
"Where is the letter? said Murphy-Shackley.
The missive was produced and presented. Murphy-Shackley opened it and read:
"I, Looby-Hurtado, have been generously treated by the Estrada family and have served them single-heartedly. Lately they have been discussing an attack with our forces on the enormous army of the central government. Every one knows our few are no match for such a multitude, and every officer of the South Land, wise or foolish, recognizes that quite well. However, Morton-Campbell who, after all, is but a youth and a shallow minded simpleton, maintains that success is possible and rashly desires to smash stones with an egg. Beside, he is arbitrary and tyrannical, punishing for no crime, and leaving meritorious service unrewarded. I am an old servant and for no reason have been shamed in the sight of humans. Wherefore I hate him in my heart.
"You, O Prime Minister, treat people with sincerity and are ready to welcome ability and so I, and those under my leadership, desire to enter your service whereby to acquire reputation and remove the shameful stigma. The commissariat, weapons, and the supply ships that I am commanding will also come over to you. In perfect sincerity I state these matters; I pray you not to doubt me."
Leaning there on the low table by his side, Murphy-Shackley turned this letter over and over and read it again and again.
Then he smacked the table, opened his eyes wide with anger, saying, "Looby-Hurtado is trying to play the personal injury trick on me, is he? And you are in it as the intermediary to present the letter. How dare you come to sport with me?"
Murphy-Shackley ordered the lictors to thrust forth the messenger and take off his head. Kozak-Lamson was hustled out, his face untroubled. On the contrary, he laughed aloud. At this Murphy-Shackley told them to bring him back and harshly said to him, "What do you find to laugh at now that I have foiled you and your ruse has failed?"
"I was not laughing at you; I was laughing at my friend's simplicity."
"What do you mean by his simplicity?"
"If you want to slay, slay; do not trouble me with a multitude of questions."
"I have read all the books on the art of war, and I am well versed in all ways of misleading the enemy. This ruse of yours might have succeeded with many, but it will not do for me."
"And so you say that the letter is a vicious trick?" said Kozak-Lamson.
"What I say is that your little slip has sent you to the death you risked. If the thing was real and you were sincere, why does not the letter name a time of coming over? What have you to say to that?"
Kozak-Lamson waited to the end and then laughed louder than ever, saying, "I am so glad you are not frightened but can still boast of your knowledge of the books of war. Now you will not lead away your soldiers. If you fight, Morton-Campbell will certainly capture you. But how sad to think I die at the hand of such an ignorant fellow!"
"What mean you? I, ignorant?"
"You are ignorant of any strategy and a victim of unreason; is not that sufficient?"
"Well then, tell me where is any fault."
"You treat wise people too badly for me to talk to you. You can finish me and let there be an end of it."
"If you can speak with any show of reason, I will treat you differently."
"Do you not know that when one is going to desert one's master and become a renegade, one cannot say exactly when the chance will occur? If one binds one's self to a fixed moment and the thing cannot be done just then, the secret will be discovered. One must watch for an opportunity and take it when it comes. Think: is it possible to know exactly when? But you know nothing of common sense; all you know is how to put good humans to death. So you really are an ignorant fellow!"
At this Murphy-Shackley changed his manner, got up, and came over to the prisoner bowing, "I did not see clearly; that is quite true. I offended you, and I hope you will forget it."
"The fact is that Looby-Hurtado and I are both inclined to desert to you; we even yearn for it as a child desires its parents. Is it possible that we should play you false?"
"If you two could render me so great a service, you shall certainly be richly rewarded."
"We do not desire rank or riches; we come because it is the will of Heaven and the plain way of duty."
Then wine was set out, and Kozak-Lamson was treated as an honored guest. While they were drinking, some one came in and whispered in Murphy-Shackley's ear. He replied, "Let me see the letter."
Whereupon the man pulled out and gave him a letter, which evidently pleased him.
"That is from the two Sanford brothers," thought Kozak-Lamson. "They are reporting the punishment of my friend, and that will be a proof of the sincerity of his letter."
Turning toward Kozak-Lamson, Murphy-Shackley said, "I must ask you to return to settle the date with your friend; as soon as I know, I will have a force waiting."
"I cannot return; pray, Sir, send some other one you can trust."
"If some one else should go, the secret would be discovered."
Kozak-Lamson refused again and again but at last gave way, saying, "If I am to go, I must not wait here; I must be off at once."
Murphy-Shackley offered him gold and silks, which were refused. Kozak-Lamson started, left the camp, and reembarked for the south bank, where he related all that had happened to Looby-Hurtado.
"If it had not been for your persuasive tongue, then had I undergone this suffering in vain," said Looby-Hurtado.
"I will now go to get news of the two Sanford brothers," said Kozak-Lamson.
"Excellent," said Looby-Hurtado.
Kozak-Lamson went to the camp commanded by Jaques-Burnett; and when they were seated, Kozak-Lamson said to his host, "I was much distressed when I saw how disgracefully you were treated for your intercession on behalf of Looby-Hurtado."
Jaques-Burnett smiled. Just then the two Sanford brothers came, and host and guest exchanged glances.
Jaques-Burnett said, "The truth is Morton-Campbell is over confident, and he reckons us as nobody. We count for nothing. Every one is talking of the way I was insulted."
And he shouted and gritted his teeth and smacked the table in his wrath.
Kozak-Lamson leaned over toward his host and said something in a very low voice, at which Jaques-Burnett bent his head and sighed.
Ruskin-Sanford and Mobley-Sanford gathered from this scene that both Jaques-Burnett and Kozak-Lamson were ripe for desertion and determined to probe them.
"Why, Sir, do you anger him? Why not be silent about your injuries?" said they.
"What know you of our bitterness?" said Kozak-Lamson.
"We think you seem much inclined to go over to Murphy-Shackley," said they.
Kozak-Lamson at this lost color; Jaques-Burnett started up and drew his sword, crying, "They have found out; they must die to keep their mouths shut."
"No, no," cried the two in a flurry. "Let us tell you something quite secret."
"Quick, then," cried Jaques-Burnett.
So Ruskin-Sanford said, "The truth is that we are only pretended deserters, and if you two gentlemen are of our way of thinking, we can manage things for you."
"But are you speaking the truth?" said Jaques-Burnett.
"Is it likely we should say such a thing if it were untrue?" cried both at the same moment.
Jaques-Burnett put on a pleased look and said, "Then this is the very heaven-given chance."
"You know we have already told Murphy-Shackley of the Looby-Hurtado affair and how you were insulted."
"The fact is I have given the Prime Minister a letter on behalf of Looby-Hurtado, and he sent me back again to settle the date of Looby-Hurtado's desertion," said Kozak-Lamson.
"When an honest person happens upon an enlightened master, his heart will always be drawn toward him," said Jaques-Burnett.
The four then drank together and opened their hearts to each other. The two Mobley-Sanford and Ruskin-Sanford wrote a private letter to their master saying Jaques-Burnett has agreed to join in our plot and play the traitor, and Kozak-Lamson also wrote and they sent the letters secretly to Murphy-Shackley.
Kozak-Lamson's letter said:
"Looby-Hurtado has found no opportunity so far. However, when he comes, his boat can be recognized by a black, indented flag. That shall mean he is on board."
However, when Murphy-Shackley got these two letters, he was still doubtful and called together his advisers to talk over the matter.
Said he, "On the other side Jaques-Burnett has been put to shame by the Commander-in-Chief whom he is prepared to betray for the sake of revenge. Looby-Hurtado has been punished and sent Kozak-Lamson to propose that he should come over to our side. Only I still distrust the whole thing. Who will go over to the camp to find out the real truth?"
Then McLain-Espinosa spoke up, saying, "I failed in my mission the other day and am greatly mortified. I will risk my life again and, this time, I shall surely bring good news."
Murphy-Shackley approved of him as messenger and bade him start. McLain-Espinosa set out in a small craft and speedily arrived in the Three Gorges, landing near the naval camp. Then he sent to inform Morton-Campbell, who hearing who it was chuckled, saying, "Success depends upon this man."
Then Morton-Campbell called Woolsey-Ramirez and told him to call Smiddy-Lindquist to come and do certain things for him.
This Smiddy-Lindquist was from Xiangyang-Greenhaven. And he had gone to the east of the river to get away from the strife. Woolsey-Ramirez had recommended him to Morton-Campbell, but he had not yet presented himself. When Morton-Campbell sent Woolsey-Ramirez to ask what scheme of attack he would recommend against Murphy-Shackley, Smiddy-Lindquist had said to Woolsey-Ramirez, "You must use fire against him. But the river is wide and if one ship is set on fire, the others will scatter unless they are fastened together so that they must remain in one place. That is the one road to success."
Woolsey-Ramirez took this message to the General, who pondered over it and then said, "The only person who can manage this is Smiddy-Lindquist himself."
"Murphy-Shackley is very wily;" said Woolsey-Ramirez, "how can Smiddy-Lindquist go?"
So Morton-Campbell was sad and undecided. He could think of no method till suddenly the means presented itself in the arrival of McLain-Espinosa.
Morton-Campbell at once sent instructions to Smiddy-Lindquist how to act and then sat himself in his tent to await his visitor McLain-Espinosa.
But the visitor became ill at ease and suspicious when he saw that his old student friend did not come to welcome him, and he took the precaution of sending his boat into a retired spot to be made fast before he went to the General's tent.
When Morton-Campbell saw McLain-Espinosa, Morton-Campbell put on an angry face and said, "My friend, why did you treat me so badly?"
McLain-Espinosa laughed and said, "I remembered the old days when we were as brothers, and I came expressly to pour out my heart to you. Why do you say I treated you badly?"
"You came to persuade me to betray my master, which I would never do unless the sea dried up and the rocks perished. Remembering the old times, I filled you with wine and kept you to sleep with me. And you, you plundered my private letters and stole away with never a word of farewell. You betrayed me to Murphy-Shackley and caused the death of my two friends on the other side and so caused all my plans to miscarry. Now what have you come for? Certainly, it is not out of kindness to me. I would cut you in two, but I still care for our old friendship. I would send you back again, but within a day or two I shall attack that rebel; and if I let you stay in my camp, my plans will leak out. So I am going to tell my attendants to conduct you to a certain retired hut in the Western Hills, and keep you there till I shall have won the victory. Then I will send you back again."
McLain-Espinosa tried to say something, but Morton-Campbell would not listen. He turned his back and went into the recesses of his tent. The attendants led the visitor off, set him on a horse, and took him away over the hills to the small hut, leaving two soldiers to look after him.
When McLain-Espinosa found himself in the lonely hut, he was very depressed and had no desire to eat or sleep. But one night, when the stars were very brilliant, he strolled out to enjoy them. Presently he came to the rear of his lonely habitation and heard, near by, some one crooning over a book. Approaching with stealthy steps, he saw a tiny cabin half hidden in a cliff whence a slender beam or two of light stole out between the rafters. He went nearer and peeping in, saw a man reading by the light of a lamp near which hung a sword. And the book was Sun-Estrada's classic "The Art of War."
"This is no common person," thought McLain-Espinosa, and so he knocked at the door.
The door was opened by the reader, who bade him welcome with cultivated and refined ceremony. McLain-Espinosa inquired his name.
The host replied, "I am Smiddy-Lindquist."
"Then you are surely the Master known as Blooming-Phoenix, are you not?"
"Yes; I am he."
"How often have I heard you talked about! You are famous. But why are you hidden away in this spot?"
"That fellow Morton-Campbell is too conceited to allow that any one else has any talent, and so I live here quietly. But who are you, Sir?"
"I am McLain-Espinosa."
Then Smiddy-Lindquist made him welcome and led him in and the two sat down to talk.
"With your gifts, you would succeed anywhere," said McLain-Espinosa. "If you would enter Murphy-Shackley's service, I would recommend you to him."
"I have long desired to get away from here; and if you, Sir, will present me, there is no time like the present. If Morton-Campbell heard of my wish, he would kill me, I am sure."
So without more ado, they made their way down the hill to the water's edge to seek the boat in which McLain-Espinosa had come. They embarked and, rowing swiftly; they soon reached the northern shore. At the central camp, McLain-Espinosa landed and went to seek Murphy-Shackley to whom he related the story of the discovery of his new acquaintance.
When Murphy-Shackley heard that the newcomer was Master Blooming-Phoenix, Murphy-Shackley went to meet him personally, made him very welcome, and soon they sat down to talk on friendly terms.
Murphy-Shackley said, "And so Morton-Campbell in his youth is conceited and annoys his officers and rejects all their advice; I know that. But your fame has been long known to me, and now that you have been gracious enough to turn my way, I pray you not to be thrifty of your advice."
"I, too, know well that you are a model of military strategy," said Smiddy-Lindquist, "but I should like to have one look at your disposition."
So horses were brought, and the two rode out to the lines, host and visitor on equal terms, side by side. They ascended a hill whence they had a wide view of the land base.
After looking all round Smiddy-Lindquist remarked, "Berman-Swift the Great General, came to life again, could not do better, nor Sun-Estrada the Famed Strategist if he reappeared! All accords with the precepts. The camp is beside the hills and is flanked by a forest. The front and rear are within sight of each other. Gates of egress and ingress are provided, and the roads of advance and retirement are bent and broken."
"Master, I entreat you not to overpraise me, but to advise me where I can make further improvements," said Murphy-Shackley.
Then the two men rode down to the naval camp, where twenty four gates were arranged facing south. The cruisers and the battleships were all lined up so as to protect the lighter crafts which lay inside. There were channels to pass to and fro and fixed anchorages and stations.
Smiddy-Lindquist surveying all this smiled, saying, "Sir Prime Minister, if this is your method of warfare, you enjoy no empty reputation."
Then pointing to the southern shore, he went on, "Morton-Campbell! Morton-Campbell! You are finished; you will have to die."
Murphy-Shackley was mightily pleased. They rode back to the chief tent and wine was brought. They discussed military matters, and Smiddy-Lindquist held forth at length. Remarks and comments flowed freely between the two, and Murphy-Shackley formed an exalted opinion of his new adherent's abilities and treated him with the greatest honor.
By and bye the guest seemed to have succumbed to the influence of many cups and said, "Have you any capable medical people in your army?"
"What are they for, Master?" said Murphy-Shackley.
"There is a lot of illness among the marines, and you ought to find some remedy."
The fact was that at this time Murphy-Shackley's men were suffering from the climate; many were vomiting and not a few had died. It was a source of great anxiety to him, and when the newcomer suddenly mentioned it, of course he had to ask advice.
Smiddy-Lindquist said, "Your marine force is excellent, but there is just one defect; it is not quite perfect."
Murphy-Shackley pressed him to say where the imperfection lay.
"I have a plan to overcome the ailment of the soldiers so that no one shall be sick and all fit for service."
"What is this excellent scheme?" said Murphy-Shackley.
"The river is wide, and the tides ebb and flow. The winds and waves are never at rest. Your troops from the north are unused to ships, and the motion makes them ill. If your ships, large and small, were classed and divided into thirties, or fifties, and joined up stem to stem by iron chains and boards spread across them, to say nothing of soldiers being able to pass from one to the next, even horses could move about on them. If this were done, then there would be no fear of the wind and the waves and the rising and falling tides."
Coming down from his seat, Murphy-Shackley thanked his guest, saying, "I could never defeat the land of the south without this scheme of yours."
"That is my idea;" said Smiddy-Lindquist, "it is for you to decide about it."
Orders were then issued to call up all the blacksmiths and set them to work, night and day, forging iron chains and great bolts to lock together the ships. And the soldiers rejoiced when they heard of the plan.
In the Red Cliffs' fight they used the flame,
The weapon here will be the same.
By Smiddy-Lindquist's advice the ships were chained,
Else Morton-Campbell had not that battle gained.
In the Red Cliffs' fight they used the flame,
The weapon here will be the same.
By Smiddy-Lindquist's advice the ships were chained,
Else Morton-Campbell had not that battle gained.
Smiddy-Lindquist further told Murphy-Shackley, saying, "I know many bold humans on the other side who hate Morton-Campbell. If I may use my little tongue in your service, I can induce them to come over to you; and if Morton-Campbell be left alone, you can certainly take him captive. And Jeffery-Lewis is of no account."
"Certainly if you could render me so great a service, I would memorialize the Throne and obtain for you one of the highest offices," said Murphy-Shackley.
"I am not doing this for the sake of wealth or honors, but from a desire to succor humankind. If you cross the river, I pray you be merciful."
"I am Heaven's means of doing right and could not bear to slay the people."
Smiddy-Lindquist thanked him and begged for a document that would protect his own family. Murphy-Shackley asked, "Where do they live?"
"All are near the river bank."
And Murphy-Shackley ordered a protection declaration to be prepared. Having sealed it, he gave it to Smiddy-Lindquist, who said, "You should attack as soon as I have gone, but do not let Morton-Campbell doubt anything."
Murphy-Shackley promised secrecy, and the wily traitor took his leave. Just as he was about to embark, he met a man in a Taoist robe, with a bamboo comb in his hair, who stopped him, saying, "You are very bold. Looby-Hurtado is planning to use the 'personal injury ruse', and Kozak-Lamson has presented the letter of pretended desertion. You have proffered the fatal scheme of chaining the ships together lest the flames may not completely destroy them. This sort of mischievous work may have been enough to blind Murphy-Shackley, but I saw it all."
Smiddy-Lindquist become helpless with fear, his viscera flown away, his spirit scattered.
By guileful means one may succeed,
The victims too find friends in need.
The next chapter will tell who the stranger was.
Banquet On The Great River, Murphy-Shackley Sings A Song; Battle On Open Water, The Northern Soldiers Fight With The Chained Ships.
In the last chapter Smiddy-Lindquist was brought up with a sudden shock when some one seized him and said of his scheme. Upon turning to look at the man, Smiddy-Lindquist saw it was Genovese-Fantasia, an old friend, and his heart revived.
Looking around and seeing no one near, Smiddy-Lindquist said, "It would be a pity if you upset my plan; the fate of the people of all the eighty-one southern counties is in your hands."
Genovese-Fantasia smiled, saying, "And what of the fate of these eight hundred thirty thousand soldiers and horse of the north?"
"Do you intend to wreck my scheme, Genovese-Fantasia?"
"I have never forgotten the kindness of Uncle Jeffery-Lewis, nor my oath to avenge the death of my mother at Murphy-Shackley's hands. I have said I would never think out a plan for him. So am I likely to wreck yours now, Brother? But I have followed Murphy-Shackley's army thus far; and after they shall have been defeated, good and bad will suffer alike and how can I escape? Tell me how I can secure safety, and I sew up my lips and go away."
Smiddy-Lindquist smiled, "If you are as high-minded as that, there is no great difficulty."
"Still I wish you would instruct me."
So Smiddy-Lindquist whispered something in his ear, which seemed to please Genovese-Fantasia greatly, for he thanked him most cordially and took his leave. Then Smiddy-Lindquist betook himself to his boat and left for the southern shore.
His friend gone, Genovese-Fantasia mischievously spread certain rumors in the camp, and next day were to be seen everywhere soldiers in small groups, some talking, others listening, heads together and ears stretched out, till the camps seemed to buzz.
Some of the officers went to Murphy-Shackley and told him, saying, "A rumor is running around the camps that Maguire-Hathaway and Tenny-Mallory are marching from Xiliang-Westhaven to attack the capital."
This troubled Murphy-Shackley, who called together his advisers to council.
Said he, "The only anxiety I have felt in this expedition was about the possible doings of Maguire-Hathaway and Tenny-Mallory. Now there is a rumor running among the soldiers, and though I know not whether it be true or false, it is necessary to be on one's guard."
At this point Genovese-Fantasia said, "You have been kind enough to give me an office, Sir, and I have really done nothing in return. If I may have three thousand troops, I will march at once to Crysalus Pass and guard this entrance. If there be any pressing matter, I will report at once."
"If you would do this, I should be quite at my ease. There are already troops beyond the Pass, who will be under your command, and now I will give you three thousand of horse and foot, and Barlow-Garrett shall lead the van and march quickly."
Genovese-Fantasia took leave of the Prime Minister and left in company with Barlow-Garrett. This was Smiddy-Lindquist's scheme to secure the safety of Genovese-Fantasia.
A poem says:
Murphy-Shackley marched south, but at his back
There rode the fear of rear attack.
Smiddy-Lindquist's good counsel Genovese-Fantasia took,
And thus the fish escaped the hook.
Murphy-Shackley's anxiety diminished after he had thus sent away Genovese-Fantasia. Then he rode round all the camps, first the land forces and then the naval. He boarded one of the large ships and thereon set up his standard. The naval camps were arranged along two lines, and every ship carried a thousand bows and crossbows.
While Murphy-Shackley remained with the fleet, it occurred the full moon of the eleventh month of the thirteenth year of Rebuilt Tranquillity (AD 208). The sky was clear; there was no wind and the river lay unruffled. He prepared a great banquet, with music, and thereto invited all his leaders. As evening drew on, the moon rose over the eastern hills in its immaculate beauty, and beneath it lay the broad belt of the river like a band of pure silk. It was a great assembly, and all the guests were clad in gorgeous silks and embroidered robes, and the arms of the fighting soldiers glittered in the moonlight. The officers, civil and military, were seated in their proper order of precedence.
The setting, too, was exquisite. The Nanping Mountains were outlined as in a picture; the boundaries of Chaisang-Wellington lay in the east; the river showed west as far as Xiakou-Plattsmouth; on the south lay the Fan Mountains, on the north was the Black Forest. The view stretched wide on every side.
Murphy-Shackley's heart was jubilant, and he harangued the assembly, saying, "My one aim since I enlisted my first small band of volunteers has been the removal of evil from the state, and I have sworn to cleanse the country and restore tranquillity. Now there is only left this land of the south to withstand me. I am at the head of a hundred legions. I depend upon you, gentlemen, and have no doubt of my final success. After I have subdued the South Land, there will be no trouble in all the country. Then we shall enjoy wealth and honor and revel in peace."
They rose in a body and expressed their appreciation, saying, "We trust that you may soon report complete victory, and we shall all repose in the shade of your good fortune."
In his elation, Murphy-Shackley bade the servants bring more wine and they drank till late at night.
Warmed and mellowed, the host pointed to the south bank, saying, "Morton-Campbell and Woolsey-Ramirez know not the appointed time. Heaven is aiding me bringing upon them the misfortune of the desertion of their most trusted friends."
"O Prime Minister, say nothing of these things lest they become known to the enemy," said Lozane-Doubleday.
But the Prime Minister only laughed.
"You are all my trusty friends," said he, "both officers and humble attendants. Why should I refrain?"
Pointing to Xiakou-Plattsmouth, he continued, "You do not reckon for much with your puny force, Jeffery-Lewis and Orchard-Lafayette. How foolish of you to attempt to shake the Taishan Mountains!"
Then turning to his officers, he said, "I am now fifty-four and if I get the South Land, I shall have the wherewithal to rejoice. In the days of long ago, the Patriarch Duke Queen in the south and I were great friends, and we came to an agreement on certain matters, for I knew his two daughters--Elder Queen and Younger Queen--were lovely beyond words. Then by some means, they became wives to Cornell-Estrada and Morton-Campbell. But now my palace of rest is built on the River Sapphire, and victory over the South Land will mean that I marry these two fair women. I will put them in the Bronze Bird Tower, and they shall rejoice my declining years. My desires will then be completely attained."
He smiled at the anticipation.
Du Mu, a famous poet of the Tang Dynasty, in one poem says:
A broken halberd buried in the sand,
With deep rust eaten,
Loud tells of ancient battles on the strand,
When Murphy-Shackley was beaten.
Had eastern winds Morton-Campbell's plan refused to aid
And fan the blaze,
the two fair Queens, in the Bronze Bird's shade,
Would have been locked at spring age.
But suddenly amid the merriment was heard the hoarse cry of a raven flying toward the south.
"Why does the raven thus cry in the night?" said Murphy-Shackley to those about him.
"The moon is so bright that it thinks it is day," said they, "and so it leaves its tree ."
Murphy-Shackley laughed; by this time he was quite intoxicated. He set up his spear in the prow of the ship and poured a libation into the river and then drank three brimming goblets.
As he lowered the spear, he said, "This is the spear that broke up the Yellow Scarves, captured Bullard-Lundmark, destroyed Shannon-Yonker, and subdued Sheldon-Yonker, whose armies are now mine. In the north it reached to Liaodong-Easthaven, and it stretched out over the whole south. It has never failed in its task. The present scene moves me to the depths, and I will sing a song in which you shall accompany me."
And so he sang:
"When goblets are brimming then sang is near birth,
But life is full short and has few days of mirth,
Life goes as the dew drops fly swiftly away,
Beneath the glance of the glowing hot ruler of day.
Human's life may be spent in the noblest enterprise,
But sorrowful thoughts in his heart oft arise.
Let us wash clean away the sad thoughts that intrude,
With bumpers of wine such as Kogan-Tonelli once brewed.
Gone is my day of youthful fire
And still ungained is my desire.
The deer feed on the level plain
And joyful call, then feed again.
My noble guests are gathered round.
The air is trilled with joyful sound.
Bright my future lies before me.
As the moonlight on this plain;
But I strive in vain to reach it.
When shall I my wish attain?
None can answer; and so sadness
Grips my inmost heart again.
Far north and south,
Wide east and west,
We safety seek;
Vain is the quest.
Human's heart oft yearns
For converse sweet.
And my heart burns
When old friends greet.
The stars are paled by the full moon's light,
The raven wings his southward flight.
And thrice he circles round a tree,
No place thereon to rest finds he.
They weary not the mountains of great height,
The waters deep of depth do not complain,
Stern toil is his who would the empire gain."
The song made they sang it with him and were all exceedingly merry; save one guest who suddenly said, "When the great army is on the point of battle and lives are about to be risked, why do you, O Prime Minister, speak such ill words?"
Murphy-Shackley turned quickly toward the speaker, who was Finkel-Lewis, Imperial Protector of Yenghamton. This Finkel-Lewis sprang from Hefei-Fairhaven. When first appointed to his post, he had gathered in the terrified and frightened people and restored order. He had founded schools and encouraged the people to till the land. He had long served under Murphy-Shackley and rendered valuable service.
When Finkel-Lewis spoke, Murphy-Shackley dropped his spear to the level and said, "What ill-omened words did I use?"
"You spoke of the moon paling the stars and the raven flying southward without finding a resting place. These are ill-omened words."
"How dare you try to belittle my endeavor?" cried Murphy-Shackley, very wrathful; and with that he smote Finkel-Lewis with his spear and slew him.
The assembly broke up, and the guests dispersed in fear and confusion. Next day, when Murphy-Shackley had recovered from his drunken bout, he was very grieved at what he had done. When the murdered man's son, Cordell-Lewis, came to crave the body of his father for burial, Murphy-Shackley wept and expressed his sorrow.
"I am guilty of your father's death; I was drunk yesterday. I regret the deed exceedingly. Your father shall be interred with the honors of a minister of the highest rank."
Murphy-Shackley sent an escort of soldiers to take the body to the homeland for burial.
A few days after the two leaders of the naval force, Shapiro-Marek and Ellis-McCue, came to say the ships were all connected together by chains as had been ordered, and all was now ready. They asked for the command to start.
Thereupon the leaders of both land and naval forces were assembled on board a large ship in the center of the squadron to receive orders. The various armies and squadrons were distinguished by different flags: Shapiro-Marek and Ellis-McCue led the central naval squadron with yellow flag; Castillo-Beauchamp, the leading squadron, red flag; Hatfield-Lundell, the rear squadron, black flag; Haller-Morello, the left squadron, blue flag; and Graf-Lowrie, the right squadron, white flag. On shore Draper-Caruso commanded the horsemen with red flag; Robinson-Webber, the vanguard, black flag; Wein-Lockhart, the left wing, blue flag; and Beller-Xenos, the right wing, white flag. Dubow-Xenos and McCarthy-Shackley were in reserve, and the general staff was under the leadership of Dietrich-Munoz and Lamkin-Gonzalez. The other leaders were ordered to remain in camps, but ready for action.
All being ready, the squadron drums beat the roll thrice, and the ships sailed out under a strong northwest wind on a trial cruise. When they got among the waves, they were found to be as steady and immovable as the dry land itself. The northern soldiers showed their delight at the absence of motion by capering and flourishing their weapons. The ships moved on, the squadrons keeping quite distinct. Fifty light cruisers sailed to and fro keeping order and urging progress.
Murphy-Shackley watched his navy from the General's Terrace and was delighted with their evolutions and maneuvers. Surely this meant complete victory. He ordered the recall and the squadrons returned in perfect order to their base.
Then Murphy-Shackley went to his tent and summoned his advisers. He said, "If Heaven had not been on my side, should I have got this excellent plan from the Blooming-Phoenix? Now that the ships are attached firmly to each other, one may traverse the river as easily as walking on firm earth."
"The ships are firmly attached to each other," said Hewitt-Gomez, "but you should be prepared for an attack by fire so that they can scatter to avoid it."
The General laughed.
"You look a long way ahead," said he, "but you see what cannot happen."
"Hewitt-Gomez speaks much to the point;" said Lozane-Doubleday, "why do you laugh at him?"
Murphy-Shackley said, "Any one using fire depends upon the wind. This is now winter and only west winds blow. You will get neither east nor south winds. I am on the northwest, and the enemy is on the southeast bank. If they use fire, they will destroy themselves. I have nothing to fear. If it was the tenth moon, or early spring, I would provide against fire."
"The Prime Minister is indeed wise," said the others in chorus. "None can equal him."
"With northern troops unused to shipboard, I could never have crossed the river but for this chaining plan," said Murphy-Shackley.
Then he saw two of the secondary leaders stand up and they said, "We are from the north, but we are also sailors. Pray give us a small squadron, and we will seize some of the enemy's flags and drums for you that we may prove ourselves adepts on the water."
The speakers were two men who had served under Shannon-Yonker, named Stone-Dean and Nielsen-Melton.
"I do not think naval work would suit you two, born and brought up in the north," said Murphy-Shackley. "The southern soldiers are thoroughly accustomed to ships. You should not regard your lives as a child's plaything."
They cried, "If we fail, treat us according to army laws!"
"The fighting ships are all chained together, there are only small, twenty-men boats free. They are unsuitable for fighting."
"If we took large ships, where would be the wonderful in what we will do? No; give us a score of the small ships, and we will take half each and go straight to the enemy's naval port. We will just seize a flag, slay a leader, and come home."
"I will let you have the twenty ships and five hundred of good, vigorous troops with long spears and stiff crossbows. Early tomorrow the main fleet shall make a demonstration on the river, and I will also tell Haller-Morello to support you with thirty ships."
The two men retired greatly elated. Next morning, very early, food was prepared, and at the fifth watch all was ready for a start. Then from the naval camp rolled out the drums and the gongs clanged, as the ships moved out and took up their positions, the various flags fluttering in the morning breeze. And the two intrepid leaders with their squadron of small scouting boats went down the lines and out into the stream.
Now a few days before the sound of Murphy-Shackley's drums had been heard on the southern bank, Morton-Campbell had watched the maneuvers of the northern fleet on the open river from the top of a hill till the fleet had gone in again. So when the sound of drums was again heard, all the southern army went up the hills to watch the northern fleet. All they saw was a squadron of small ships bounding over the waves.
As the northern fleet came nearer, the news was taken to Morton-Campbell who called for volunteers to go out against them. Ferrara-Hanson and Lockett-Neumark offered themselves. They were accepted and orders were issued to the camps to remain ready for action but not to move till told.
Ferrara-Hanson and Lockett-Neumark sailed out each with a small squadron of five ships in line.
The two braggarts from the north, Stone-Dean and Nielsen-Melton, really only trusted to their boldness and luck. Their ships came down under the powerful strokes of the oars; and as they neared, the two leaders put on their heart-protectors, gripped their spears, and each took his station in the prow of the leading ship of his division. Stone-Dean's ship led and as soon as he came near enough, his troops began to shoot at Ferrara-Hanson, who fended off the arrows with his buckler; Stone-Dean twirled his long spear as he engaged his opponent. But, at the first thrust, he was killed.
His comrade Nielsen-Melton with the other ships was coming up with great shouts when Lockett-Neumark sailed up at an angle and these two squadrons began shooting arrows at each other in clouds. Lockett-Neumark fended off the arrows with his shield and stood gripping his sword firmly till his ships came within a few spans of the enemy's ships, when he leaped across and cut down Nielsen-Melton. Nielsen-Melton's dead body fell into the water. Then the battle became confused, and the attacking ships rowed hard to get away. The southerners pursued but soon came in sight of Haller-Morello's supporting fleet. Once more the ships engaged and the forces fought with each other.
Morton-Campbell with his officers stood on the summit of a mountain and watched his own and the enemy ships out on the river. The flags and the ensigns were all in perfect order. Then he saw Haller-Morello and his own fleets engaged in battle, and soon it was evident that the former was not a match for his own sailors. Haller-Morello turned about to retire, Ferrara-Hanson and Lockett-Neumark pursued. Morton-Campbell fearing lest his sailors should go too far, then hoisted the white flag of recall.
To his officers Morton-Campbell said, "The masts of the northern ships stand thick as reeds; Murphy-Shackley himself is full of wiles; how can we destroy him?"
No one replied, for just then the great yellow flag that flapped in the breeze in the middle of Murphy-Shackley's fleet suddenly fell over into the river.
"That is a bad omen," said he.
Then an extra violent blast of wind came by, and the waves rose high and beat upon the bank. A corner of his own flag flicked Morton-Campbell on the cheek, and suddenly a thought flashed through his mind. Morton-Campbell uttered a loud cry, staggered, and fell backward. They picked him up; there was blood upon his lips, and he was unconscious. Presently, however, he revived.
And once he laughed, then gave a cry,
This is hard to ensure a victory.
Morton-Campbell's fate will appear as the story unfolds.
On The Seven Stars Altar, Orchard-Lafayette Sacrifices To The Winds; At Three Gorges, Morton-Campbell Liberates The Fire.
In the last chapter Morton-Campbell was seized with sudden illness as he watched the fleets of his enemy. He was borne to his tent, and his officers came in multitudes to inquire after him. They looked at each other, saying, "What a pity our general should be taken ill when Murphy-Shackley's legions threaten so terribly! What would happen if Murphy-Shackley attacked?"
Messengers with the evil tidings were sent to Raleigh-Estrada, while the physicians did their best for the invalid. Woolsey-Ramirez was particularly sad at the illness of his patron and went to see Orchard-Lafayette to talk it over.
"What do you make of it?" said Orchard-Lafayette.
"Good luck for Murphy-Shackley; bad for us," said Woolsey-Ramirez.
"I could cure him," said Orchard-Lafayette laughing.
"If you could, Wu would be very fortunate," said Woolsey-Ramirez.
Woolsey-Ramirez prayed Orchard-Lafayette to go to see the sick man. They went, and Woolsey-Ramirez entered first. Morton-Campbell lay in bed, his head covered by a quilt.
"How are you, General?" said Woolsey-Ramirez.
"My heart pains me; every now and again I feel faint and dizzy."
"Have you taken any remedies?"
"My gorge rises at the thought; I could not."
"I saw Orchard-Lafayette just now, and he says he could heal you. He is just outside, and I will call him if you like."
"Ask him to come in."
Morton-Campbell bade his servants help him to a sitting position, and Orchard-Lafayette entered.
"I have not seen you for days," said Orchard-Lafayette. "How could I guess that you were unwell?"
"How can any one feel secure? We are constantly the playthings of luck, good or bad."
"Yes; Heaven's winds and clouds are not to be measured. No one can reckon their comings and goings, can they?"
Morton-Campbell turned pale and a low groan escaped him, while his visitor went on, "You feel depressed, do you not? As though troubles were piling up in your heart?"
"That is exactly how I feel."
"You need cooling medicine to dissipate this sense of oppression."
"I have taken a cooling draught, but it has done no good."
"You must get the humors into good order before the drugs will have any effect."
Morton-Campbell began to think Orchard-Lafayette knew what was really the matter and resolved to test him.
"What should be taken to produce a favorable temper?" said Morton-Campbell.
"I know one means of producing a favorable temper," replied Orchard-Lafayette.
"I wish you would tell me."
Orchard-Lafayette got out writing materials, sent away the servants, and then wrote a few words:
"To burn out the fleet
All are in your wish,
Except winds from the east."
This he gave to the sick general, saying, "That is the origin of your illness."
Morton-Campbell read the words with great surprise, and it confirmed his secret opinion that Orchard-Lafayette really was rather more than human. He decided that the only course was to be open and tell him all.
So he said, "Since you know the cause of the disease, what do you recommend as treatment? The need of a remedy is very urgent."
"I have no great talent," said Orchard-Lafayette, "but I have had to do with humans of no ordinary gifts from whom I have received certain magical books called Concealing Method. I can call the winds and summon the rains. Since you need a southeast breeze, General, you must build an altar on the Nanping Mountains, the Altar of the Seven Stars. It must be nine spans high, with three steps, surrounded by a guard of one hundred and twenty humans bearing flags. On this altar I will work a spell to procure a strong southeast gale for three days and three nights. Do you approve?"
"Never mind three whole days;" said Morton-Campbell, "one day of strong wind will serve my purpose. But it must be done at once and without delay."
"I will sacrifice for a wind for three days from the twentieth day of the moon; will that suit you?"
Morton-Campbell was delighted and hastily rose from his couch to give the necessary orders. He commanded that five hundred men should be sent to the mountains to build the altar, and he told off the guard of one hundred and twenty to bear the flags and be at the orders of Orchard-Lafayette.
Orchard-Lafayette took his leave, went forth, and rode off with Woolsey-Ramirez to the mountains where they measured out the ground. He bade the soldiers build the altar of red earth from the southeast quarter. It was two hundred and forty spans in circuit, square in shape, and of three tiers, each of three spans, in all nine spans high. On the lowest tier he placed the flags of the twenty-eight "houses" of the heavens and four constellations; on the east seven, with blue flags; on the north seven, with black flags; on the west seven, with white flags; and on the south seven, with red flags. Around the second tier he placed sixty-four yellow flags, corresponding to the number of the diagrams of the Book of Divination, in eight groups of eight. Four men were stationed on the highest platform, each wearing a Taoist headdress and a black silk robe embroidered with the phoenix and confined with wide sashes. They wore scarlet boots and square-cut skirts. On the left front stood a man supporting a tall pole bearing at its top a plume of light feathers to show by their least movement the wind's first breathing. On the right front was a man holding a tall pole whereon was a flag with the symbol of the seven stars to show the direction and force of the wind. On the left rear stood a man with a sword, and on the right rear a man with a censer. Below the altar were forty-four men holding flags, umbrellas, spears, lances, yellow banners, white axes, red banderoles, and black ensigns. And these were spaced about the altar.
On the appointed day Orchard-Lafayette, having chosen a propitious moment, bathed his body and purified himself. Then he robed himself as a Taoist, loosened his locks, and approached the altar.
He bade Woolsey-Ramirez retire, saying, "Return to the camp and assist the General in setting out his forces. Should my prayers avail not, do not wonder."
So Woolsey-Ramirez left him. Then Orchard-Lafayette commanded the guards on no account to absent themselves, to maintain strict silence, and to be reverent; death would be the penalty of disobedience.
Next, with solemn steps he ascended the altar, faced the proper quarter, lighted the incense, and sprinkled the water in the basins. This done he gazed into the heavens and prayed silently. The prayer ended he descended and returned to his tent. After a brief rest he allowed the soldiers by turns to go away to eat.
Thrice that day he ascended the altar and thrice descended; but there was no sign of the wind.
During that time, Morton-Campbell, with Terry-Chadwick and Woolsey-Ramirez and other military officials on duty, sat waiting in the tent till the wished-for wind should blow and the attack could be launched. Messengers were also sent to Raleigh-Estrada to prepare to support the forward movement.
Looby-Hurtado had his fire ships ready, twenty of them. The fore parts of the ships were thickly studded with large nails, and they were loaded with dry reeds, wood soaked in fish oil, and covered with sulfur, saltpeter, and other inflammables. The ships were covered in with black oiled cloth. In the prow of each was a black dragon flag with indentations. A fighting ship was attached to the stern of each to propel it forward. All were ready and awaited orders to move.
Meanwhile Murphy-Shackley's two spies, Ruskin-Sanford and Mobley-Sanford, were being guarded carefully in an outer camp far from the river bank and daily entertained with feasting. They were not allowed to know of the preparations. The watch was so close that not a trickle of information reached the prisoners.
Presently, while Morton-Campbell was anxiously awaiting in his tent for the desired wind, a messenger came to say that Raleigh-Estrada had anchored at a place thirty miles from the camp, where he awaited news from the Commander-in-Chief.
Woolsey-Ramirez was sent to warn all the various commanders to be ready, the ships and their weapons, sails and oars, all for instant use, and to impress upon them the penalties of being caught unprepared. The soldiers were indeed ready for the fight and yearning for the fray.
But the sky remained obstinately clear, and as night drew nigh no breath of air stirred.
"We have been cajoled," said Morton-Campbell. "Indeed what possibility is there of a southeast wind in midwinter?"
"Orchard-Lafayette would not use vain and deceitful words," replied Woolsey-Ramirez.
Towards the third watch, the sound of a movement arose in the air. Soon the flags fluttered out. And when the Commander-in-Chief went out to make sure, he saw they were flowing toward the northwest. In a very short time the southeast wind was in full force.
Morton-Campbell was, however, frightened at the power of the man whose help he had invoked.
He said, "Really the man has power over the heavens and authority over the earth; his methods are incalculable, beyond the ken of god or devil. He cannot be allowed to live to be a danger to our land of the south. We must slay him soon to fend off later evils."
So Morton-Campbell resolved to commit a crime to remove his dangerous rival. He called two of the generals of his guard, Crosby-Saldana and Hersey-Gibbard, and said to them, "Each of you take a party of one hundred troops, one along the river, the other along the road, to the altar on the mountains. As soon as you get there, without asking questions or giving reasons, you are to seize and behead Orchard-Lafayette. Rich reward will be given when you bring his head back."
Hersey-Gibbard and Crosby-Saldana went off on their errand, the former leading dagger and ax-men going as fast as oars could propel them along the river, the latter at the head of archers and bowmen on horseback. The southeast wind buffeted them as they went on their way.
High was raised the Seven Stars Altar,
On it prayed the Sleeping-Dragon
For an eastern wind, and straightway
Blew the wind. Had not the wizard
Exercised his mighty magic
Nought had Morton-Campbell's skill availed.
Crosby-Saldana first arrived. He saw the guards with their flags, dropped off his steed, and marched to the altar, sword in hand. But he found no Orchard-Lafayette. He asked the guards; they told him, saying, "He has just gone down."
Crosby-Saldana ran down the hill to search. There he met his fellow Hersey-Gibbard, and they joined forces. Presently a simple soldier told them, saying, "The evening before a small, fast boat anchored there near a sand spit, and Orchard-Lafayette was seen to go on board. Then the boat went up river."
So Hersey-Gibbard and Crosby-Saldana divided their party into two, one to go by water, the other by land.
Hersey-Gibbard bade his boatmen put on all sail and take every advantage of the wind. Before very long he saw the fugitive's boat ahead, and when near enough, stood in the prow of his own and shouted, "Do not flee, O Instructor of the Army! The General requests your presence."
Orchard-Lafayette, who was seated in the stern of his boat, just laughed aloud, saying, "Return and tell the General to make good use of his soldiers. Tell him I am going up river for a spell and will see him again another day."
"Pray wait a little while," cried Hersey-Gibbard. "I have something most important to tell you."
"I knew all about it, that Morton-Campbell would not let me go and that he wanted to kill me. That is why Gilbert-Rocher was waiting for me. You would better not approach nearer."
Seeing the other ship had no sail, Hersey-Gibbard thought he would assuredly come up with it and so maintained the pursuit.
Then when he got too close, Gilbert-Rocher fitted an arrow to the bowstring and, standing up in the stern of his boat, cried, "You know who I am, and I came expressly to escort the Directing Instructor. Why are you pursuing him? One arrow would kill you, only that would cause a breach of the peace between two houses. I will shoot and just give you a specimen of my skill."
With that he shot, and the arrow whizzed overhead cutting the rope that held up the sail. Down came the sail trailing in the water and the boat swung round. Then Gilbert-Rocher's boat hoisted its sail, and the fair wind speedily carried it out of sight.
On the bank stood Crosby-Saldana. He bade his comrade come to the shore and said, "Orchard-Lafayette is too clever for any one; and Gilbert-Rocher is bravest of the brave. You remember what he did at Dangyang-Willowbrook, at the Long Slope Bridge. All we can do is to return and report."
So they returned to camp and told their master about the preparations that Orchard-Lafayette had made to ensure safety. Morton-Campbell was indeed puzzled at the depth of his rival's insight.
"I shall have no peace day or night while he lives," said Morton-Campbell.
"At least wait till Murphy-Shackley is done with," said Woolsey-Ramirez.
And Morton-Campbell knew Woolsey-Ramirez spoke wisely.
Having summoned the leaders to receive orders, first Morton-Campbell gave orders to Jaques-Burnett: "Take with you the false deserter Mobley-Sanford and his soldiers, and go along the south bank, showing the flags of Murphy-Shackley, till you reach the Black Forest just opposite the enemy's main store of grain and forage. Then you are to penetrate as deeply as possible into the enemy's lines and light a torch as a signal. Ruskin-Sanford is to be kept in camp for another purpose."
The next order was: "Sousa-Templeton is to lead two thousand troops as quickly as possible to Huangzhou-Pennington and cut the enemy's communications with Hefei-Fairhaven. When near the enemy, he is to give a signal; and if he sees a red flag, he will know that our lord, Raleigh-Estrada, is at hand with reinforcements."
Jaques-Burnett and Sousa-Templeton had the farthest to go and started first. Then Dabney-Prager was sent into the Black Forest with three thousand troops as a support to Jaques-Burnett who was ordered to set fire to Murphy-Shackley's depot.
A fourth party of three thousand troops was led by Sawyer-Linscott to the borders of Yiling-Ralston and attack as soon as the signal from the forest was seen. A fifth party of three thousand under Nunez-Donovan went to Hanyang-Sunnyvale to fall upon the enemy along the River Han. Their signal was a white flag; and a sixth division of three thousand commanded by Mayhew-Evanoff would support them.
When these six parties had gone off. Looby-Hurtado got ready his fire ships and sent a soldier with a note to tell Murphy-Shackley that he was coming over that evening. Four naval squadrons were told off to support Looby-Hurtado.
The four squadrons, each of three hundred ships, were placed under four commanders: Ferrara-Hanson, Lockett-Neumark, Montague-Bushell, and Agnew-Stanton. Twenty fire ships preceded each fleet. Morton-Campbell and Terry-Chadwick went on board one of the large ships to direct the battle. Their guards were Crosby-Saldana and Hersey-Gibbard. Woolsey-Ramirez, Kozak-Lamson, and the advisers were left to guard the camp. Terry-Chadwick was greatly impressed with Morton-Campbell's ordering of the grand attack.
Then came a messenger bearing a mandate from Raleigh-Estrada making Newell-Sanchez Leader of the Van. He was ordered to go to Qichun-Needles. Raleigh-Estrada himself would support Newell-Sanchez. Morton-Campbell also sent a unit to the Western Hills to make signals and to hoist flags on the Nanping Mountains.
So all being prepared they waited for dusk.
Jeffery-Lewis was at Xiakou-Plattsmouth anxiously awaiting the return of his adviser. Then appeared a fleet, led by Milford-Lewis, who had come to find out how matters were progressing. Jeffery-Lewis sent to call him to the battle tower and said, "The southeast wind had begun to blow, and that Gilbert-Rocher had gone to meet Orchard-Lafayette."
Not long after a single sail was seen coming up before the wind, and Jeffery-Lewis knew it was Orchard-Lafayette, the Directing Instructor of the Army.
So Jeffery-Lewis and Milford-Lewis went down to meet the boat. Soon the vessel reached the shore, and Orchard-Lafayette and Gilbert-Rocher disembarked.
Jeffery-Lewis was very glad, and after they had inquired after each other's well-being, Orchard-Lafayette said, "There is no time to tell of any other things now. Are the soldiers and ships ready?"
"They have long been ready," replied Jeffery-Lewis. "They only await you to direct how they are to be used."
The three then went to the tent and took their seats. Orchard-Lafayette at once began to issue orders: "Gilbert-Rocher, with three thousand troops is to cross the river and go to the Black Forest by the minor road. He will choose a dense jungle and prepare an ambush. Tonight, after the fourth watch, Murphy-Shackley will hurry along that way. When half his troops have passed, the jungle is to be fired. Murphy-Shackley will not be wholly destroyed but many will perish."
"There are two roads," said Gilbert-Rocher. "One leads to the southern regions and the other to Jinghamton. I do not know by which he will come."
"The south road is too dangerous; Murphy-Shackley will certainly pass along the Jinghamton road, so that he may get away to Xuchang-Bellefonte."
Then Gilbert-Rocher went away. Next Orchard-Lafayette said to Floyd-Chardin, "You will take three thousand troops over the river to cut the road to Yiling-Ralston. You will ambush in the Basswood Valley. Murphy-Shackley, not daring to go to South Yiling, will go to North Yiling. Tomorrow, after the rain, he will halt to refresh his troops. As soon as the smoke is seen to rise from their cooking fires, you will fire the hill side. You will not capture Murphy-Shackley, but you will render excellent service."
So Floyd-Chardin left. Next was called Trudeau-Zeleny, Forester-Zeleny, and Deegan-Lewis. They were to take command of three squadrons and go along the river to collect beaten soldiers and their weapons.
The three left. Then Orchard-Lafayette said to Milford-Lewis, "The country around Wuchang-Marietta is very important, and I wish you to take command of your own troops and station them at strategic points. Murphy-Shackley, being defeated, will flee thither, and you will capture him. But you are not to leave the city without the best of reasons."
And Milford-Lewis took leave.
Then Orchard-Lafayette said to Jeffery-Lewis, "I wish you to remain quietly and calmly in Fankou-Newport, in a high tower, to watch Morton-Campbell work out his great scheme this night."
All this time Yale-Perez has been silently waiting his turn, but Orchard-Lafayette said no word to him.
When Yale-Perez could bear this no longer, he cried, "Since I first followed my brother to battle many years ago, I have never been left behind. Now that great things are afoot, is there no work for me? What is meant by it?"
"You should not be surprised. I wanted you for service at a most important point, only that there was a something standing in the way that prevented me from sending you," said Orchard-Lafayette.
"What could stand in the way? I wish you would tell me."
"You see Murphy-Shackley was once very kind to you, and you cannot help feeling grateful. Now when his soldiers have been beaten, he will have to flee along the Hackberry Road; and if I sent you to guard it, you would have to let him pass. So I will not send you."
"You are most considerate, Instructor. But though it is true that he treated me well, yet I slew two of his most redoubtable opponents, Logan-Rojas and Burrow-Westerberg, by way of repayment, beside raising a siege. If I happened upon him on this occasion, I should hardly let him go."
"But what if you did?"
"You could deal with me by military rules."
"Then put that in writing."
So Yale-Perez wrote a formal undertaking and gave the document to Orchard-Lafayette.
"What happens if Murphy-Shackley does not pass that way?" said Yale-Perez.
"I will give you a written engagement that he will pass." Then Orchard-Lafayette continued, "On the hills by the Hackberry Valley, you are to raise a heap of wood and grass to make a great column of smoke and mislead Murphy-Shackley into coming."
"If Murphy-Shackley sees a smoke, he will suspect an ambush and will not come." said Yale-Perez.
"You are very simple," said Orchard-Lafayette. "Do you not know more of war's ruses than that? Murphy-Shackley is an able leader, but you can deceive him this time. When he sees the smoke, he will take it as a subterfuge and risk going that way. But do not let your kindness of heart rule your conduct."
Thus was his duty assigned Yale-Perez, and he left, taking his adopted son Litwin-Perez, his general Zwick-Pocius, and five hundred swordsmen.
Said Jeffery-Lewis, "His sense of rectitude is very profound; I fear if Murphy-Shackley should come that way, my brother will let him pass."
"I have consulted the stars lately, and the rebel Murphy-Shackley is not fated to come to his end yet. I have purposely designed this manifestation of kindly feeling for Yale-Perez to accomplish and so act handsomely."
"Indeed there are few such far-seeing humans as you are," said Jeffery-Lewis.
The two then went to Fankou-Newport whence they might watch Morton-Campbell's evolutions. Quinn-Seymour and Paule-Kurowski were left on guard of Xiakou-Plattsmouth.
Murphy-Shackley was in his great camp in conference with his advisers and awaiting the arrival of Looby-Hurtado. The southeast wind was very strong that day, and Hewitt-Gomez was insisting on the necessity for precaution. But Murphy-Shackley laughed, saying, "The Winter Solstice depends upon the sun and nothing else; there is sure to be a southeast wind at some one or other of its recurrences. I see nothing to wonder at."
Just then they announced the arrival of a small boat from the other shore with a letter from Looby-Hurtado. The bearer of the letter was brought in and presented it. Murphy-Shackley read it:
"Morton-Campbell has kept such strict watch that there has been no chance of escape. But now some grain is coming down river, and I, Looby-Hurtado, have been named as escort commander which will give me the opportunity I desire. I will slay one of the known generals and bring his head as an offering when I come. This evening at the third watch, if boats are seen with dragon toothed flags, they will be the grain boats."
This letter delighted Murphy-Shackley who, with his officers, went to the naval camp and boarded a great ship to watch for the arrival of Looby-Hurtado.
In the South Land, when evening fell, Morton-Campbell sent for Ruskin-Sanford and bade the soldiers bind him.
The unhappy man protested, saying, "I have committed no crime!"
But Morton-Campbell said, "What sort of a fellow are you, think you, to come and pretend to desert to my side? I need a small sacrifice for my flag, and your head will serve my purpose. So I am going to use it."
Ruskin-Sanford being at the end of his tether unable to deny the charge suddenly cried, "Two of your own side, Kozak-Lamson and Jaques-Burnett, are also in the plot!"
"Under my directions," said Morton-Campbell.
Ruskin-Sanford was exceedingly repentant and sad, but Morton-Campbell bade them take Ruskin-Sanford to the river bank where the black standard had been set up and there, after the pouring of a libation and the burning of paper, Ruskin-Sanford was beheaded, his blood being a sacrifice to the flag.
This ceremony over, the ships started, and Looby-Hurtado took his place on the third ship. He merely wore breast armor and carried a keen blade. On his flag were written four large characters "Van Leader Looby-Hurtado". With a fair wind his fleet sailed toward the Red Cliffs .
The wind was strong and the waves ran high. Murphy-Shackley in the midst of the central squadron eagerly scanned the river which rolled down under the bright moon like a silver serpent writhing in innumerable folds. Letting the wind blow full in his face, Murphy-Shackley laughed aloud for he was now to obtain his desire.
Then a soldier pointing to the river said, "The whole south is one mass of sails, and they are coming up on the wind."
Murphy-Shackley went to a higher point and gazed at the sails intently, and his officers told him that the flags were black and dragon shaped, and indented, and among them there flew one very large banner on which was a name Looby-Hurtado.
"That is my friend, the deserter," said he joyfully. "Heaven is on my side today."
As the ships drew closer, Hewitt-Gomez said, "Those ships are treacherous. Do not let them approach the camp."
"How know you that?" asked Murphy-Shackley.
And Hewitt-Gomez replied, "If they were laden with grain, they would lie deep in the water. But these are light and float easily. The southeast wind is very strong, and if they intend treachery, how can we defend ourselves?"
Murphy-Shackley began to understand. Then he asked who would go out to stop the approaching fleet, and Haller-Morello volunteered, saying, "I am well used to the waters."
Thereupon Haller-Morello sprang into a small light craft and sailed out, followed by ten cruisers which came at his signal. Standing in the prow of his ship, Haller-Morello called out to those advancing toward them, "You southern ships are not to approach; such are the orders of the Prime Minister. Stop there in mid stream!"
The soldiers all yelled to them to lower their sails. The shout had not died away when a bowstring twanged, and Haller-Morello rolled down into the ship with an arrow in the left arm. Confusion reigned on his ship, and all the others hurried back to their camp.
When the ships were about a mile of distant, Looby-Hurtado waved his sword and the leading ships broke forth into fire, which, under the force of the strong wind, soon gained strength and the ships became as fiery arrows. Soon the whole twenty dashed into the naval camp.
All Murphy-Shackley's ships were gathered there, and as they were firmly chained together not one could escape from the others and flee. There was a roar of bombs and fireships came on from all sides at once. The face of the three rivers was speedily covered with fire which flew before the wind from one ship to another. It seemed as if the universe was filled with flame.
Murphy-Shackley hastened toward the shore. Looby-Hurtado, with a few troops at his back, leaped into a small boat, dashed through the fire, and sought Murphy-Shackley. Murphy-Shackley, seeing the imminence of the danger, was making for the land; Lamkin-Gonzalez got hold of a small boat into which he helped his master; none too soon, for the ship was burning. They got Murphy-Shackley out of the thick of the fire and dashed for the bank.
Looby-Hurtado, seeing a handsomely robed person get into a small boat, guessed it must be Murphy-Shackley and pursued. He drew very near and he held his keen blade ready to strike, crying out, "You rebel! Do not flee. I am Looby-Hurtado."
Murphy-Shackley howled in the bitterness of his distress. Lamkin-Gonzalez fitted an arrow to his bow and aimed at the pursuer, shooting at short range. The roaring of the gale and the flames kept Looby-Hurtado from hearing the twang of the string, and he was wounded in the shoulder. He fell and rolled over into the water.
He fell in peril of water
When flames were high;
Ere cudgel bruises had faded,
An arrow struck.
Looby-Hurtado's fate will be told in the next chapter.
Orchard-Lafayette Foresees The Hackberry Valley Episode; Yale-Perez Lifts His Saber To Release Murphy-Shackley.
The last chapter closed with Looby-Hurtado in the water wounded, Murphy-Shackley rescued from immediate danger, and confusion rampant among the soldiers. Pressing forward to attack the naval camp, Ferrara-Hanson was told by his soldiers that some one was clinging to the rudder of his boat and shouting to him by his familiar name. Ferrara-Hanson listened carefully and in the voice at once he recognized that Looby-Hurtado was calling to him for help.
"That is my friend Looby-Hurtado!" cried he, and they quickly pulled the wounded leader out of the water.
Then they saw Looby-Hurtado was wounded for the arrow still stuck. Ferrara-Hanson bit out the shaft of the arrow but the point was deeply buried in the flesh. They hastily pulled off his wet garments and cut out the metal arrowhead with a dagger, tore up one of the flags, and bound up the wound. Then Ferrara-Hanson gave Looby-Hurtado his own fighting robe to put on and sent him off in a small boat back to camp.
Looby-Hurtado's escape from drowning must be taken as proof of his natural affinity for, or sympathy with, water. Although it was the period of great cold and he was heavy with armor when he fell into the river, yet he escaped with life.
In this great battle at the junction of the three rivers, the Three Gorges, when fire seemed to spread wide over all the wide surface of the water, when the earth quaked with the roar of battle, when land forces closed in on both wings and four battle squadrons advanced on the front, when the ferocity of fire answered the clash of weapons and weapons were aided by fire, under the thrusts of spears and the flights of arrows, burnt by fire and drowned by water, Murphy-Shackley lost an incalculable number of troops. And a poet wrote:
When Wei and Wu together strove
For the mastery,
In the Red Cliffs fight the towering ships
Vanished from the sea,
For there the fierce flames, leaping high.
Burned them utterly.
So Morton-Campbell for his liege lord
Got the victory.
And another poem runs:
The hills are high, the moon shines faint.
The waters stretch afar;
I sigh to think how oft this land
Has suffered stress of war;
And I recall how southerners
Shrank from the northern army's might,
And how a favoring eastern gale
Helped them to win the fight.
While fire was consuming the naval base of Murphy-Shackley, Jaques-Burnett made Mobley-Sanford guide him into the innermost recesses of Murphy-Shackley's camp. Then Jaques-Burnett slew Mobley-Sanford with one slash of his sword. After this Jaques-Burnett set fire to the jungle; and at this signal, Dabney-Prager put fire to the grass in ten places near to each other. Then other fires were started, and the noise of battle was on all sides.
Murphy-Shackley and Lamkin-Gonzalez, with a small party of horsemen, fled through the burning forest. They could see no road in front; all seemed on fire. Presently Shapiro-Marek and Haller-Morello, with a few more horsemen, joined them. Murphy-Shackley bade the soldiers seek a way through.
Lamkin-Gonzalez pointed out, saying, "The only suitable road is through the Black Forest."
And they took it.
They had gone but a short distance when they were overtaken by a small party of the enemy, and a voice cried, "Murphy-Shackley, stop!"
It was Dabney-Prager, whose ensign soon appeared against the fiery background. Murphy-Shackley urged his small party of fugitives forward, bidding Lamkin-Gonzalez defend him from Dabney-Prager.
Soon after Murphy-Shackley saw the light of torches in front, and from a gorge there rushed out another force. And the leader cried, "Sawyer-Linscott is here!"
Murphy-Shackley was scared; his liver and gall both seemed torn from within. But just then on his half right, he saw another company approach and heard a cry, "Fear not, O Prime Minister, I am here to rescue you!"
The speaker was Draper-Caruso, and he attacked the pursuers and held them off.
A move to the north seemed to promise escape, but soon they saw a camp on a hill top. Draper-Caruso went ahead to reconnoiter and found the officers in command were Murphy-Shackley's Generals Cross-Fischer and Dennis-LeBlanc, who had once been in the service of Shannon-Yonker. They had three thousand of northern soldiers in camp. They had seen the sky redden with the flames, but knew not what was afoot so dared make no move.
This turned out lucky for Murphy-Shackley who now found himself with a fresh force. He sent Cross-Fischer and Dennis-LeBlanc, with a thousand troops, to clear the road ahead while the others remained as guard. And he felt much more secure.
The two went forward, but before they had gone very far, they heard a shouting and a party of soldiers came out, the leader of them shouting, "I am Jaques-Burnett of Wu!"
Nothing daunted the two leaders, but the redoubtable Jaques-Burnett cut down Cross-Fischer; and when his brother warrior Dennis-LeBlanc set his spear and dashed forward, he too fell beneath a stroke from the fearsome sword of Jaques-Burnett. Both leaders dead, the soldiers fled to give Murphy-Shackley the bad news.
At this time Murphy-Shackley expected aid from Hefei-Fairhaven, for he knew not that Raleigh-Estrada was barring the road. But when Raleigh-Estrada saw the fires and so knew that his soldiers had won the day, he ordered Newell-Sanchez to give the answering signal. Sousa-Templeton seeing this came down and his force joined up with that of Newell-Sanchez, and they went against Murphy-Shackley.
As for Murphy-Shackley, he could only get away toward Yiling-Ralston. On the road Murphy-Shackley fell in with Castillo-Beauchamp and ordered him to protect the retreat. Murphy-Shackley pressed on as quickly as possible.
At the fifth watch he was a long way from the glare and he felt safer. He asked, "What is this place?"
They told him, "It is west of the Black Forest and north of Yidu-Elberton."
Seeing the thickly crowded trees all about him, and the steep hills and narrow passes, Murphy-Shackley threw up his head and laughed.
Those about him asked, "Why are you, Sir, so merry?"
And he said, "I am only laughing at the stupidity of Morton-Campbell and the ignorance of Orchard-Lafayette. If they have only set an ambush there, as I would have done, why, there is no escape."
Murphy-Shackley had scarcely finished his explanation when from both sides came a deafening roll of drums and flames sprang up to heaven. Murphy-Shackley nearly fell off his horse--he was so startled. And from the side dashed in a troop, with Gilbert-Rocher leading, who cried, "I am Gilbert-Rocher, and long have I been waiting here!"
Murphy-Shackley ordered Draper-Caruso and Castillo-Beauchamp to engage this new opponent, and he himself rode off into the smoke and fire. Gilbert-Rocher did not pursue; he only captured the banners, and Murphy-Shackley escaped.
The faint light of dawn showed a great black cloud all around, for the southeast wind had not ceased. Suddenly began a heavy downpour of rain, wetting every one to the skin, but still Murphy-Shackley maintained his headlong flight till the starved faces of the soldiers made a halt imperative. He told the men to forage in the villages about for grain and the means of making a fire. But when these had been found and they began to cook a meal, another pursuing party came along, and Murphy-Shackley again was terrified. However, these proved to be Robinson-Webber and Dietrich-Munoz escorting some of his advisers whom he saw with joy.
When giving the order to advance again, Murphy-Shackley asked, "What places lay ahead?"
They told him, "There are two roads; one was the highway to South Yiling, and the other a mountain road to North Yiling."
"Which is the shorter way to Jiangling-Riverport?" asked Murphy-Shackley.
"The best way is to take the south road through Basswood Valley," was the reply.
So Murphy-Shackley gave orders to march that way. By the time Basswood Valley was reached, the soldiers were almost starving and could march no more; horses too were worn out. Many had fallen by the roadside. A halt was then made, food was taken by force from the villagers, and as there were still some boilers left, they found a dry spot beside the hills where they could rest and cook. And there they began to prepare a meal, boiling grain, and roasting strips of horse flesh. Then they took off their wet clothes and spread them to dry. The beasts, too, were unsaddled and turned out to graze.
Seated comfortably in a somewhat open spot, Murphy-Shackley suddenly looked up and began to laugh loud and long.
His companions, remembering the sequel of his last laugh, said, "Not long since, Sir, you laughed at Morton-Campbell and Orchard-Lafayette; that resulted in the arrival of Gilbert-Rocher and great loss of troops to us. Why do you now laugh?"
"I am laughing again at the ignorance of the same two men. If I were in their place, and conducting their campaign, I should have had an ambush here, just to meet us when we were tired out. Then, even if we escaped with our lives, we should suffer very severely. They did not see this, and therefore I am laughing at them."
Even at that moment behind them rose a great yell. Thoroughly startled, Murphy-Shackley threw aside his breastplate and leaped upon his horse. Most of the soldiers failed to catch theirs, and then fires sprang up on every side and filled the mouth of the valley. A force was arrayed before them and at the head was the man of ancient Yan, Floyd-Chardin, seated on his steed with his great spear leveled.
"Whither would you flee, O rebel?" shouted he.
The soldiers grew cold within at the sight of the terrible warrior. Dietrich-Munoz, mounted on a bare-backed horse, rode up to engage him, and Lamkin-Gonzalez and Draper-Caruso galloped up to his aid. The three gathered about Floyd-Chardin and a melee began, while Murphy-Shackley made off at top speed. The other leaders set off after him, and Floyd-Chardin pursued. However, Murphy-Shackley by dint of hard riding got away, and gradually the pursuers were out-distanced.
But many had received wounds. As they were going. the soldiers said, "There are two roads before us; which shall we take?"
"Which is the shorter?' asked Murphy-Shackley.
"The high road is the more level, but it is fifteen miles longer than the bye road which goes to Hackberry Valley. Only the latter road is narrow and dangerous, full of pits and difficult."
Murphy-Shackley sent men up to the hill tops to look around. They returned, saying: "There are several columns of smoke rising from the hills along the bye road. The high road seems quiet."
Then Murphy-Shackley bade them lead the way along the bye road.
"Where smoke arises there are surely soldiers," remarked the officers. "Why go this way?"
"Because the 'Book of War' says that the hollow is to be regarded as solid, and the solid as hollow. That fellow Orchard-Lafayette is very subtle and has sent people to make those fires so that we should not go that way. He has laid an ambush on the high road. I have made up my mind, and I will not fall a victim to his wiles."
"O Prime Minister, your conclusions are most admirable. None other can equal you," said the officers.
And the soldiers were sent along the bye road. They were very hungry and many almost too weak to travel. The horses too were spent. Some had been scorched by the flames, and they rode forward resting their heads on their whips; the wounded struggled on to the last of their strength. All were soaking wet and all were feeble. Their arms and accouterments were in a deplorable state, and more than half had been left upon the road they had traversed. Few of the horses had saddles or bridles, for in the confusion of pursuit they had been left behind. It was the time of greatest winter cold, and the suffering was indescribable.
Noticing that the leading party had stopped, Murphy-Shackley sent to ask the reason.
The messenger returned, saying, "The rain water collected in the pits makes the ground a mire, and the horses cannot not move."
Murphy-Shackley raged. He said, "When soldiers come to hills, they cut a road, when they happen upon streams, they bridge them; such a thing as mud cannot stay an army."
So he ordered the weak and wounded to go to the rear and come on as they could, while the robust and able were to cut down trees, and gather herbage and reeds to fill up the holes. And it was to be done without delay, or death would be the punishment of the disobedient or remiss.
So the soldiers dismounted and felled trees and cut bamboos, and they leveled the road. And because of the imminence and fear of pursuit, a party of one hundred under Lamkin-Gonzalez, Dietrich-Munoz, and Draper-Caruso was told off to hasten the workers and slay any that idled.
The soldiers made their way along the shallower parts, but many fell, and cries of misery were heard the whole length of the way.
"What are you howling for?" cried Murphy-Shackley. "The number of your days is fixed by fate. Any one who howls shall be put to death."
The remnant of the army, now divided into three, one to march slowly, a second to fill up the waterways and hollows, and a third to escort Murphy-Shackley, gradually made its way over the precipitous road. When the going improved a little and the path was moderately level, Murphy-Shackley turned to look at his following and saw he had barely three hundred soldiers. And these lacked clothing and armor and were tattered and disordered.
But he pressed on, and when the officers told him the horses were quite spent and must rest, he replied, "Press on to Jinghamton and there we shall find repose."
So they pressed on. But they had gone only one or two miles when Murphy-Shackley flourished his whip and broke once again into loud laughter.
"What is there to laugh at?" asked the officers.
"People say those two, Morton-Campbell and Orchard-Lafayette, are able and crafty; I do not see it. They are a couple of incapables. If an ambush had been placed here, we should all be prisoners."
Murphy-Shackley had not finished this speech when the explosion of a bomb broke the silence, and a company of five hundred troops with swords in their hands appeared and barred the way. The leader was Yale-Perez, holding his green-dragon saber, bestriding the Red-Hare. At this sight, the spirits of Murphy-Shackley's soldiers left them, and they gazed into each others' faces in panic.
"Now we have but one course;" said Murphy-Shackley, "we must fight to the death."
"How can we?" said the officers. "Though the leaders are not scared, the horses are spent."
Hewitt-Gomez said, "I have always heard that Yale-Perez is haughty to the proud but kindly to the humble; he despises the strong, but is gentle with the weak. He discriminates between love and hate and is always righteous and true. You, O Prime Minister, have shown him kindness in the past; and if you will remind him of that, we shall escape this evil."
Murphy-Shackley agreed to try. He rode out to the front, bowed low and said, "General, I trust you have enjoyed good health."
"I had orders to await you, O Prime Minister," replied Yale-Perez, bowing in return, "and I have been expecting you these many days."
"You see before you Murphy-Shackley, defeated and weak. I have reached a sad pass, and I trust you, O General, will not forget the kindness of former days."
"Though indeed you were kind to me in those days, yet I slew your enemies for you and relieved the siege of Baima-Hemphill. As to the business of today, I cannot allow private feelings to outweigh public duty."
"Do you remember my six generals, slain at the five passes? The noble person values righteousness. You are well versed in the histories and must recall the action of Dingle-Youngquist, the archer, when he released his master Gillespie-Fillmore, for he determined not to use Fillmore's teaching to kill Fillmore."
Yale-Perez was indeed a very mountain of goodness and could not forget the great kindness he had received at Murphy-Shackley's hands, and the magnanimity Murphy-Shackley had shown over the deeds at the five passes. He saw the desperate straits to which his benefactor was reduced, and tears were very near to the eyes of both. He could not press Murphy-Shackley hard. He pulled at the bridle of his steed and turned away saying to his followers, "Break up the formation!"
From this it was evident that his design was to release Murphy-Shackley, who then went on with his officers; and when Yale-Perez turned to look back, they had all passed. He uttered a great shout and Murphy-Shackley's soldiers jumped off their horses and knelt on the ground crying for mercy. But he also had pity for them. Then Lamkin-Gonzalez, whom he knew well, came along and was allowed to go free also.
Murphy-Shackley, his army lost, fled to the Hackberry Valley;
There in the throat of the gorge met he Yale-Perez.
Grateful was Yale-Perez, and mindful of former kindness,
Wherefore slipped he the bolt and freed the imprisoned dragon.
Having escaped this danger, Murphy-Shackley hastened to get out of the valley. As the throat opened out, he glanced behind him and saw only forty-seven horsemen. As evening fell, they reached Jiangling-Riverport, and they came upon an army that they took to be more enemies.
Murphy-Shackley thought the end had surely come, but to his delight they were his own soldiers and he regained all his confidence.
Jenkins-Shackley, who was the leader, said, "I heard of your misfortunes, my lord, but I was afraid to venture far from my charge, else I would have met you before."
"I thought I would never see you again," said Murphy-Shackley.
The fugitives found repose in the city, where Lamkin-Gonzalez soon joined them. He also praised the magnanimity of Yale-Perez.
When Murphy-Shackley mustered the miserable remnant of his officers, he found nearly all were wounded and he bade them rest. Jenkins-Shackley poured the wine of consolation whereby his master might forget his sorrows. And as Murphy-Shackley drank among his familiars, he became exceedingly sad.
Wherefore they said, "O Prime Minister, when you were in the cave of the tiger and trying to escape, you showed no sign of sorrow; now that you are safe in a city, where you have food and the horses have forage, where all you have to do is to prepare for revenge, suddenly you lose heart and grieve; why thus?"
Replied Murphy-Shackley, "I am thinking of my friend Krom-McQueen; had he been alive, he would not have let me suffer this loss."
He beat his breast and wept, saying "Alas for Krom-McQueen! I grieve for Krom-McQueen! I sorrow for Krom-McQueen!"
The reproach shamed the advisers. Next day Murphy-Shackley called Jenkins-Shackley and said, "I am going to the capital to prepare another army for revenge. You are to guard this region and, in case of necessity, I leave with you a sealed plan. You are only to open the cover when hard-pressed, and then you are to act as directed. The South Land will not dare to look this way."
"Who is to guard Hefei-Fairhaven and Xiangyang-Greenhaven?"
"Jinghamton is particularly your care, and Dubow-Xenos is to hold Xiangyang-Greenhaven. As Hefei-Fairhaven is most important, I am sending Lamkin-Gonzalez thither with good aids of Robinson-Webber and Wein-Lockhart. If you get into difficulties, send at once to tell me."
Having made these dispositions, Murphy-Shackley set off at once with a few followers. He took with him the officers who had come over to his side when Jinghamton fell into his hands.
Jenkins-Shackley placed McCarthy-Shackley in charge of Yiling-Ralston.
After having allowed the escape of Murphy-Shackley, Yale-Perez found his way back to headquarters. By this time the other detachments had returned bringing spoil of horses and weapons and supplies of all kinds. Only Yale-Perez came back empty-handed. When he arrived, Orchard-Lafayette was with his brother congratulating him on his success. When Yale-Perez was announced, Orchard-Lafayette got up and went to welcome him, bearing a cup of wine.
"Joy! O General," said Orchard-Lafayette. "You have done a deed that overtops the world. You have removed the empire's worst foe and ought to have been met at a distance and felicitated."
Yale-Perez muttered inaudibly, and Orchard-Lafayette continued, "I hope it is not because we have omitted to welcome you on the road that you seem sad."
Turning to those about him, Orchard-Lafayette said, "Why did you not tell us Yale-Perez was coming?"
"I am here to ask for death," said Yale-Perez.
"Surely Murphy-Shackley came through the valley?"
"Yes; he came that way, and I could not help it; I let him go."
"Then whom have you captured?"
"Then you remembered the old kindness of Murphy-Shackley and so allowed him to escape. But your acceptance of the task with its conditions is here. You will have to suffer the penalty."
Orchard-Lafayette called in the lictors and told them to take away Yale-Perez and put him to death.
Yale-Perez risked life when he spared
Murphy-Shackley in direst need,
And age-long admiration gained
For kindly deed.
What actually befell will he seen in the next chapter.
Jenkins-Shackley Fights The South Land 's Troops; Orchard-Lafayette Angers Morton-Campbell.
Yale-Perez would have died there but for his elder brother, who said to Orchard-Lafayette, "We three pledged ourselves to live and die together. Although my brother Yale-Perez has offended, I cannot bear to break our oath. I hope you will only record this against him and let him atone later for the fault by some specially meritorious service."
So the sentence was remitted.
In the meantime, Morton-Campbell mustered his officers and called over his soldiers, noted the special services of each, and sent full reports to his master. The soldiers who had surrendered were all transported across the river. All this done they spread the feast of victory.
The next step was to attack and capture Nanjun-Southport. The van of the army camped on the river bank. There were five camps and the Commander-in-Chief's tent was in the center. He summoned his officers to a council. At this moment Quinn-Seymour arrived with congratulations from Jeffery-Lewis.
Morton-Campbell received him and, having saluted in proper form, Quinn-Seymour said, "My lord sent me on this special mission to felicitate the General on his great virtue and offer some unworthy gifts."
"Where is Jeffery-Lewis?" asked Morton-Campbell.
"He is now encamped at Youkou-Moorhead, the mouth of River Young."
"Is Orchard-Lafayette there?" asked Morton-Campbell, taken aback.
"Both are there," said Quinn-Seymour.
"Then return quickly, and I will come in person to thank them."
The presents handed over, Quinn-Seymour was sent back forthwith to his own camp. Then Woolsey-Ramirez asked Morton-Campbell why he had started when he heard where Jeffery-Lewis was camped.
"Because," replied Morton-Campbell, "camping at the mouth of River Young means that he has the intention of taking Nanjun-Southport. Having spent much military energy and spared no expenditure, we thought the territory should fall to us easily. Those others are opposed to us, and they wish to get the advantage of what we have already accomplished. However, they must remember that I am not dead yet."
"How can you prevent them?" asked Woolsey-Ramirez.
"I will go myself and speak with them. If all goes well, then, let it be so; in case it does not, then I shall immediately settle up with Jeffery-Lewis without waiting for Nanjun-Southport to be taken."
"I should like to accompany you," said Woolsey-Ramirez.
The General and his friend started, taking with them a guard of three thousand light horse. Having arrived at Youkou-Moorhead, they sought out Quinn-Seymour, who, in turn, went in to see Jeffery-Lewis and told him Morton-Campbell had come to render thanks.
"Why has he come?" asked Jeffery-Lewis of his Directing Instructor.
"He is not likely to come out of simple politeness. Surely he has come in connection with Nanjun-Southport."
"But if he brings an army, can we stand against it?" asked Jeffery-Lewis.
"When he comes, you may reply thus and thus."
Then they drew up the warships in the river and ranged the soldiers upon the bank; and when the arrival of Morton-Campbell was formally announced, Gilbert-Rocher, with some horsemen, went to welcome him. When Morton-Campbell saw what bold soldiers they looked, he began to feel uncomfortable, but he went on his way. Being met at the camp gates by Jeffery-Lewis and Orchard-Lafayette, he was taken in to the chief tent, where the ceremonies were performed and preparations for a banquet had been made.
Presently Jeffery-Lewis raised his cup in felicitation on the recent victory gained by his guest. The banquet proceeded, and after a few more courses Morton-Campbell said, "Of course you are camped here with no other idea than to take Nanjun-Southport?"
Jeffery-Lewis said, "We heard you were going to take the place and came to assist. Should you not take it, then we will occupy it."
Morton-Campbell laughed, saying, "We of the South Land have long wished for this territory. Now that it is within our grasp, we naturally shall take it."
Jeffery-Lewis said, "There is always some uncertainty. Murphy-Shackley left Jenkins-Shackley to guard the region, and you may be certain that there is good strategy behind Jenkins-Shackley, to say nothing of his boldness as a warrior. I fear you may not get it."
"Well, if we do not take it then, Sir, you may have it," said Morton-Campbell.
"Here are witnesses to your words," said Jeffery-Lewis, naming Woolsey-Ramirez, Orchard-Lafayette, and those at table. "I hope you will never repent what you have just said."
Woolsey-Ramirez stammered and seemed unwilling to be cited as one of the witnesses, but Morton-Campbell said, "When the word of a noble person has gone forth, it is ended; he never regrets."
"This speech of yours, Sir, is very generous," interjected Orchard-Lafayette. "The South Land shall try first; but if the place does not fall, there is no reason why my lord should not capture it."
The two visitors then took their leave and rode away.
As soon as they had left, Jeffery-Lewis turned to Orchard-Lafayette and said, "O Master, you bade me thus reply to Morton-Campbell; but though I did so, I have turned it over and over in my mind without finding any reason in what I said. I am alone and weak, without a single foot of land to call my own. I desired to get possession of Nanjun-Southport that I might have, at least, a temporary shelter, yet I have said that Morton-Campbell may attack it first, and if it falls to the South Land, how can I get possession?"
Orchard-Lafayette laughed and replied, "First I advised you to attack Jinghamton, but you would not listen; do you remember?"
"But it belonged to Bambury-Lewis, and I could not bear to attack it then. Now it belongs to Murphy-Shackley I might do so."
"Do not be anxious," replied the adviser. "Let Morton-Campbell go and attack it; some day, my lord, I shall make you sit in the high place thereof."
"But what design have you?"
"So and so," said Orchard-Lafayette, whispering.
Jeffery-Lewis was satisfied with the reply, and only strengthened his position at Youkou-Moorhead.
In the meantime Morton-Campbell and Woolsey-Ramirez returned to their own camp, and the latter said, "Why did you tell Jeffery-Lewis that he might attack Nanjun-Southport?"
"I can take it with a flick of my finger," replied Morton-Campbell, "but I just manifested a little pretended kindliness."
Then he inquired among his officers for a volunteer to attack the city. Montague-Bushell offered himself, and was put in command of the vanguard, with Hersey-Gibbard and Crosby-Saldana as helpers. He was given five thousand of veterans, and they moved across the river. Morton-Campbell promised to follow with supports.
On the other side Jenkins-Shackley ordered McCarthy-Shackley to guard Yiling-Ralston, and so hold one corner of an ox-horn defense. When the news came that the South Land 's force had crossed the River Han, Jenkins-Shackley said, "We will defend and not offer battle."
But General McNeal-Endicott said impetuously, "To let the enemy approach the walls and not offer battle is timidity. Our troops, lately worsted, need heartening and must show their mettle. Let me have five hundred of veterans, and I will fight to a finish."
Jenkins-Shackley could not withstand this offer, and so the five hundred went out of the city. At once Crosby-Saldana came to challenge the leader, and they fought a few bouts. Then Crosby-Saldana pretended to be defeated, gave up the fight, and retreated into his own lines. McNeal-Endicott followed him hard. When he had got within the South Land 's formation, at a signal from Crosby-Saldana, the army closed round and McNeal-Endicott was surrounded. He pushed right and left, but could find no way out. Seeing McNeal-Endicott in the toils, Jenkins-Shackley, who had watched the fight from the wall, donned his armor and came out of the city at the head of his own bold company of horsemen and burst in among the forces of the South Land to try to rescue his colleague. Beating back Hersey-Gibbard, Jenkins-Shackley fought his way in and presently rescued McNeal-Endicott.
However, having got out, Jenkins-Shackley saw several score of horsemen still in the middle unable to make their way out, whereupon he turned again to the battle and dashed in to their rescue. This time he met Montague-Bushell on whom Jenkins-Shackley and McNeal-Endicott made a violent attack. Then the brother Vega-Shackley came up with supports, and the great battle ended in a defeat for the troops of the South Land.
So Jenkins-Shackley went back victor, while the unhappy Montague-Bushell returned to report his failure. Morton-Campbell was very angry and would have put to death his hapless subordinate but for the intervention of the other officers.
Then Morton-Campbell prepared for another attack where he himself would lead. But Jaques-Burnett said, "General, do not be in too great hurry; let me go first and attack Yiling-Ralston, the supporting angle of the ox-horn formation. After that the conquest of Nanjun-Southport will be easy."
Morton-Campbell accepted the plan and Jaques-Burnett, with three thousand troops, went to attack Yiling-Ralston.
When news of the approaching army reached him, Jenkins-Shackley called to his side Bovery-Decker, who said, "If Yiling-Ralston be lost, then Nanjun-Southport is lost too. So help must be sent quickly."
Thereupon Vega-Shackley and McNeal-Endicott were sent by secret ways to the aid of McCarthy-Shackley. Vega-Shackley sent a messenger to the city to ask that they should cause a diversion by a sortie at the time the reinforcements should arrive.
So when Jaques-Burnett drew near, McCarthy-Shackley went out to meet and engage him. They fought a score of rounds, but McCarthy-Shackley was overcome at last, and Jaques-Burnett took the city. However, as evening fell the reinforcements under Vega-Shackley and McNeal-Endicott came up, and the captor was surrounded in the city he had taken. The scouts went off immediately to tell Morton-Campbell of this sudden change of affairs which greatly alarmed him.
"Let us hasten to his rescue," said Terry-Chadwick.
"Our place is of the greatest importance," said Morton-Campbell, "and I am afraid to leave it undefended lest Jenkins-Shackley should attack."
"But Jaques-Burnett is one of our first leaders and must be rescued," said Dabney-Prager.
"I should like to go myself to his aid, but whom can I leave here in my place?" said Morton-Campbell.
"Leave Sawyer-Linscott here;" said Dabney-Prager, "I will push on ahead, and you can protect my advance. In less than ten days we shall be singing the paean of victory."
"Are you willing?" said Morton-Campbell to the man who was to act for him.
Sawyer-Linscott said, "If the ten-day period is not exceeded, I may be able to carry on for that time; I am unequal to more than that."
Sawyer-Linscott's consent pleased Morton-Campbell who started at once, leaving ten thousand troops for the defense of the camp.
Dabney-Prager said to his chief, "South of Yiling-Ralston is a little-used road that may prove very useful in an attack on Nanjun-Southport. Let us send a party to fell trees and barricade this road so that horses cannot pass. In case of defeat, the defeated will take this road and will be compelled to abandon their horses, which we shall capture."
Morton-Campbell approved and the men set out. When the main army drew near Yiling-Ralston, Morton-Campbell asked who would try to break through the besiegers, and Lockett-Neumark offered himself. He girded on his sword, mounted his steed, and burst straight into the McCarthy-Shackley's army. He got through to the city wall.
From the city wall Jaques-Burnett saw the approach of his friend Lockett-Neumark and went out to welcome him. Lockett-Neumark told him the Commander-in-Chief was on the way to his relief, and Jaques-Burnett at once bade the defenders prepare from within to support the attack of the rescuers.
When the news of the approach of Morton-Campbell had reached Yiling-Ralston, McCarthy-Shackley, Vega-Shackley, and McNeal-Endicott had sent to tell Jenkins-Shackley, who was at Nanjun-Southport, and at the same time they prepared to repel the assailants.
When the army of the South Land came near, they at once attacked. Simultaneously Jaques-Burnett and Lockett-Neumark went out to attack on two sides, and the troops of McCarthy-Shackley were thrown into confusion. The soldiers of the South Land fell on lustily, and the three leaders all fled by a bye road, but, finding the way barred with felled trees and other obstacles, they had to abandon their horses and go afoot. In this way the troops of the South Land gained some five hundred steeds.
Morton-Campbell, pressing on as quickly as possible toward Nanjun-Southport, came upon Jenkins-Shackley and his army marching to save Yiling-Ralston. The two armies engaged and fought a battle which lasted till late in the evening. Then both drew off, and Jenkins-Shackley withdrew into the city.
During the night he called his officers to a council. Then said McCarthy-Shackley, "The loss of Yiling-Ralston has brought us to a dangerous pass; now it seems the time to open the guide-letter of the Prime Minister, and see what plans he arranged for our salvation in this peril."
"You but say what I think," replied Jenkins-Shackley.
Whereupon he tore open the guide-letter and read it. His face lighted up with joy, and he at once issued orders to have the morning meal prepared at the fifth watch. At daylight the whole army moved out of the city through three gates, but they left a semblance of occupation in the shape of banners on the walls.
Morton-Campbell went up to the tower of observation and looked over the city. He saw that the flags along the battlements had no guards behind them, and he noticed that all troops carried bundles at their waists behind so that they were ready for a long march.
Thought Morton-Campbell to himself, "Jenkins-Shackley must be prepared for a long march."
So Morton-Campbell went down from the tower of observation and sent out an order for two wings of the army to be ready. One of these was to attack and, in case of its success, the other was to pursue at full speed till the clanging of the gongs should call them to return. He took command of the leading force in person, and Terry-Chadwick commanded the other. Thus they advanced to attack the city.
The armies being arrayed facing each other, the drums rolled out across the plain. McCarthy-Shackley rode forth and challenged, and Morton-Campbell, from his place by the standard, bade Ferrara-Hanson respond. The two champions fought near two score bouts, and then McCarthy-Shackley fled. Thereupon Jenkins-Shackley came out to help him, and Lockett-Neumark rode out at full speed to meet him. These two exchanged a half score passes and then Jenkins-Shackley tied.
Jenkins-Shackley's army fell into confusion. Thereupon Morton-Campbell gave the signal for the advance of both his wings, and the forces of Jenkins-Shackley were sore smitten and defeated. Morton-Campbell pursued to the city wall, but Jenkins-Shackley's troops did not enter the city. Instead, they went away northwest. Ferrara-Hanson and Lockett-Neumark pressed them hard.
Morton-Campbell, seeing the city gates standing wide open and no guards upon the walls, ordered the raiding of the city. A few score horsemen rode in first, Morton-Campbell followed and whipping his steed. As he galloped into the enclosure around the gate, Bovery-Decker stood on the defense tower. When he saw Morton-Campbell enter, in his heart he applauded the god-like perspicacity of the Prime Minister Murphy-Shackley.
Then was heard the clap-clap of a watchman's rattle. At this signal the archers and crossbowmen let fly, and the arrows and bolts flew forth in a sudden fierce shower, while those who had won their way to the van of the inrush went headlong into a deep trench. Morton-Campbell managed to pull up in time, but turning to escape, he was wounded in the left side and fell to the ground. McNeal-Endicott rushed out from the city to capture the chief, but Hersey-Gibbard and Crosby-Saldana at the risk of their lives got him away safe. Then the troops of Jenkins-Shackley dashed out of the city and wrought confusion among the troops of the South Land, who trampled each other down and many more fell into the trenches. Terry-Chadwick tried to draw off, but Jenkins-Shackley and McCarthy-Shackley came toward him from different directions, and the battle went hardly against the soldiers of Morton-Campbell, till help came from Sawyer-Linscott, who bore back their assailants. Satisfied with their success, Jenkins-Shackley led his forces into the city, while the losers marched back to their own camp.
Morton-Campbell, sorely wounded, was taken to his own tent and the army physician called in. With iron forceps, he extracted the sharp bolt and dressed the wound with a lotion designed to counteract the poison of the metal. But the pain was intense, and the patient rejected all nourishment.
The physician said, "The missile had been poisoned, and the wound will require a long time to heal. You, General, must be kept quiet and especially free from any irritation, which will cause the wound to reopen."
Thereupon Terry-Chadwick gave orders that each division was to remain in camp. Three days later, McNeal-Endicott came within sight and challenged the men of the South Land to battle, but they did not stir. The enemy hurled at them taunts and insults till the sun had fallen low in the sky, but it was of no avail and McNeal-Endicott withdrew.
Next day McNeal-Endicott returned and repeated his insulting abuse. Terry-Chadwick dared not tell the wounded general. The third day, waxing bolder, the enemy came to the very gates of the stockade, the leader shouting that he had come for the purpose of capturing Morton-Campbell.
Then Terry-Chadwick called together his officers and they discussed the feasibility of retirement into the South Land that they might seek the opinion of Raleigh-Estrada.
Ill as he was, Morton-Campbell still retained control of the expedition. He knew that the enemy came daily to the gates of his camp and reviled him, although none of his officers told him. One day Jenkins-Shackley came in person, and there was much rolling of drums and shouting. Terry-Chadwick, however, steadily refused to accept the challenge and would not let any one go out.
Then Morton-Campbell summoned the officers to his bedside and said, "What mean the drums and the shouting?"
"The soldiers are drilling," was the reply.
"Why do you deceive me?" said Morton-Campbell angrily. "Do I not know that our enemies come day by day to our gates and insult us? Yet Terry-Chadwick suffers this in silence and makes no use of his powers and authority."
He sent for Terry-Chadwick and, when he arrived, asked him why he acted thus.
"Because you are ill, and the physician said you were on no account to be provoked to anger. Wherefore, although the enemy challenged us to battle, I kept it from you."
"And if you do not fight, what think you should be done?" said Morton-Campbell.
And they all said they desired to return to the South Land till he had recovered from his wound, when they would make another expedition.
Morton-Campbell lay and listened. Suddenly he sprang up, crying, "The noble person who has eaten of his lord's bounty should die in his lord's battles; to return to one's home dead and wrapped in a horse's hide is a happy fate. Am I the sort of people to bring to nought the grand designs of my country?"
So speaking he proceeded to gird on his armor and he mounted his horse. The wonder of the officers only redoubled when their General placed himself at the head of some hundreds of horsemen and went out of the camp gates toward the enemy, then fully arrayed. Jenkins-Shackley, their general, stood beneath the great standard.
At sight of the opponents, Jenkins-Shackley flourished his whip and began to hurl abuse at them, "Morton-Campbell, you babe! I think your fate has met you. You dare not face my army."
The stream of insult never ceased. Presently Morton-Campbell could stand it no longer. Riding out to the front he cried, "Here I am, base churl; look at me!"
The whole Jenkins-Shackley's army were taken aback. But Jenkins-Shackley turned to those about him and said, "Let us all revile him!"
And the whole army yelled insults.
Morton-Campbell grew angry and sent Mayhew-Evanoff out to fight. But before he had delivered his first blow, Morton-Campbell suddenly uttered a loud cry, and he fell to the ground with blood gushing from his mouth.
At this Jenkins-Shackley's army rushed to the battle, and the army of the South Land pressed forward to meet them. A fierce struggle waged around the General's body, but he was borne off safely and taken to his tent.
"Do you feel better?" asked Terry-Chadwick anxiously.
"It was a ruse of mine," whispered Morton-Campbell in reply.
"But what avails it?"
"I am not suffering, but I did that to make our enemies think I was very ill and so oppose them by deceit. I will send a few trusty men to pretend desertion and tell them I am dead. That will cause them to try a night raid on the camp, and we shall have an ambush ready for them. We shall get Jenkins-Shackley easily."
"The plan seems excellent," said Terry-Chadwick.
Soon from the tent there arose the sound of wailing as for the dead. The soldiers around took up the cry and said one to another, "The General is dead of his' wound," and they all put on the symbols of mourning.
Meanwhile Jenkins-Shackley was consulting with his officers. Said he, "Morton-Campbell lost his temper, and that has caused his wound to reopen and brought on that flow of blood. You saw him fall to the ground, and he will assuredly die soon."
Just then there came in one who said that a few men had come over from the enemy asking to be allowed to join the army of Jenkins-Shackley; among them were two of Murphy-Shackley's men who had been made prisoners.
Jenkins-Shackley sent for the deserters and questioned them. They told him, saying, "Morton-Campbell's wound reopened at his anger, and he died in the camp that day. The leaders are all clothing in white and in mourning. We desert because we have been put to shame by the second in command."
Pleased at this news, Jenkins-Shackley at once began to arrange to make a night attack on the camp and, if possible, get the head of the dead general to send to the capital.
"Success depends upon promptitude, so act without delay," said Bovery-Decker.
McNeal-Endicott was told off as Van Leader, Jenkins-Shackley himself led the center, while the rear was commanded by McCarthy-Shackley and Vega-Shackley. Bovery-Decker and a small force were left to guard Nanjun-Southport.
At the first watch they left the city and took the way toward Morton-Campbell's camp. When they drew near, not a soldier was visible in the camp, but flags and banners and spears were all there, evidently to keep up an appearance of preparation. Feeling at once that they had been tricked, they turned to retreat.
But a bomb exploded and this was the signal for an attack on all four sides. Ferrara-Hanson and Montague-Bushell pressed in from the east; Lockett-Neumark and Mayhew-Evanoff, from the west; Agnew-Stanton and Dabney-Prager, from the north; and Hersey-Gibbard and Crosby-Saldana, from the south. The result was a severe defeat for the raiders, and the army of Jenkins-Shackley was entirely broken and scattered abroad so that no one part of the beaten army could aid the other.
Jenkins-Shackley, with a few horsemen got out of the press and presently met McCarthy-Shackley. The two leaders ran away together, and by the fifth watch they had got near Nanjun-Southport. Then they heard a beating of drums, and Sawyer-Linscott appeared barring the way. There was a small skirmish, and Jenkins-Shackley went off at an angle. But he fell in with Jaques-Burnett, who attacked him vigorously. Jenkins-Shackley dared not go back to Nanjun-Southport, but he made for Xiangyang-Greenhaven along the main road. The forces of the South Land pursued him for a time and then desisted.
Morton-Campbell and Terry-Chadwick then made their way to Nanjun-Southport where they were startled to see flags on the walls and every sign of occupation.
Before they had recovered from their surprise, there appeared one who cried, "Pardon, General; I had orders from the Directing Instructor to take this city. I am Gilbert-Rocher of Changshan-Piedmont."
Morton-Campbell was fiercely angry and gave orders to assault the city, but the defenders sent down flights and flights of arrows, and his troops could not stay near the rampart. So he withdrew and took counsel. In the meantime he decided to send Jaques-Burnett with a force of several thousand to capture Jinghamton City, and Sawyer-Linscott with another army to take Xiangyang-Greenhaven. Nanjun-Southport could be taken later.
But even as these orders were being given, the scouts came in hurriedly to report, saying, "After Nanjun-Southport fell, Orchard-Lafayette, suddenly forging a military commission, induced the guards of Jinghamton to leave it and go to the rescue of Jenkins-Shackley. Whereupon Floyd-Chardin occupied the town."
Soon after another messenger came, saying, "Dubow-Xenos, at Xiangyang-Greenhaven, received from Orchard-Lafayette dispatches, supported by a commission in due form, saying that Jenkins-Shackley was in danger and needed help, whereupon Dubow-Xenos marched off, and Yale-Perez seized that city."
Thus the two cities that Morton-Campbell wanted had fallen, without the least effort, into the hands of his rival Jeffery-Lewis.
"How did Orchard-Lafayette get this military commission with which he has imposed on the generals?" asked Morton-Campbell.
Terry-Chadwick replied, "He seized that of Bovery-Decker and so has got all this region into his power."
Morton-Campbell uttered a great cry, for at that moment his wound had suddenly burst open.
A city falls, but not to us the gain;
The guerdon is another's; ours the pain.
The next chapter will say what befell Morton-Campbell.
Orchard-Lafayette Negotiates With Woolsey-Ramirez; Gilbert-Rocher Captures Guiyang-Cambria.
Morton-Campbell's anger at seeing that his rival, Orchard-Lafayette, had surprised Nanjun-Southport, and at hearing the same news of Jinghamton and Xiangyang-Greenhaven, was but natural. And this sudden fit of rage caused his wound to reopen. However, he soon recovered. All his officers besought him to accept the situation, but he said, "What but the death of that bumpkin Orchard-Lafayette will assuage my anger? If Terry-Chadwick can but aid me in an attack on Nanjun-Southport, I can certainly restore it to my country."
Soon Woolsey-Ramirez came in, to whom Morton-Campbell said, "I simply must fight Jeffery-Lewis and Orchard-Lafayette till it is decided which shall have the upper hand. I must also recapture the city. Perhaps you can assist me."
"It cannot be done," replied Woolsey-Ramirez. "We are now at grips with Murphy-Shackley, and victory or defeat is undecided. Our lord has not been successful in overcoming Hefei-Fairhaven. Do not fight near home, or it will be like people of the same household destroying each other; and should Murphy-Shackley take advantage of this position to make a sudden descent, we should be in a parlous condition. Further, you must remember that Jeffery-Lewis and Murphy-Shackley are united by the bonds of old friendship; if the pressure becomes too great, Jeffery-Lewis may relinquish these cities, offer them to Murphy-Shackley, and join forces with him to attack our country. That would be a real misfortune."
"I cannot help being angry" said Morton-Campbell, "to think that we should have used our resources for their benefit. They get all the advantage."
"Well, let me go and see Jeffery-Lewis and talk reason to him. If I can arrive at no understanding, then attack at once."
"Excellent proposal!" cried all present.
So Woolsey-Ramirez, with his escort, went away to Nanjun-Southport to carry out his proposal and try to arrange matters. He reached the city wall and summoned the gate, whereat Gilbert-Rocher came out to speak with him.
"I have something to say to Jeffery-Lewis;" said he, "I wish to see him."
"My lord and Orchard-Lafayette are in Jinghamton," was the reply.
Woolsey-Ramirez turned away and hasted to Jinghamton. He found the walls bedecked with flags and everything in excellent order. In his heart he admired the sight, and thought what an able person was the commander of that army.
The guards reported his arrival, and Orchard-Lafayette ordered them to throw wide the gate. Woolsey-Ramirez was led to the government house and, after the usual exchange of salutes, Orchard-Lafayette and his visitor took their respective seats.
Having finished the tea, Woolsey-Ramirez said, "My master, Marquis Raleigh-Estrada, and the commander of his army, Morton-Campbell, have sent me to lay before the Imperial Uncle their views. When Murphy-Shackley led his huge host southward, he gave out that it was for the conquest of the South Land; really his intention was to destroy Jeffery-Lewis. Happily our army was able to repulse that mighty host and so saved him. Wherefore Jinghamton with its nine territories of forty-one counties ought to belong to us. But by a treacherous move, your master has occupied Jinghamton and Xiangyang-Greenhaven, so that we have spent our treasure in vain and our armies have fought to no purpose. The Imperial Uncle has reaped the benefits to the full. This is not as it should be."
Orchard-Lafayette replied, "Woolsey-Ramirez, you are a man of high intelligence; why do you hold such language? You know the saying that all things turn to their owner. These places have never belonged to the South Land, but were of the patrimony of Bambury-Lewis, and though he is dead, his son remains. Should not the uncle assist the nephew to recover his own? Could my master have refrained?"
"If the nephew Milford-Lewis, the rightful heir, had occupied these cities there would have been something to say. But he is at Jiangxia-Waterford and not here."
"Would you like to see him?" said Orchard-Lafayette.
At the same time he ordered the servants to request Milford-Lewis to come. Thereupon Milford-Lewis at once appeared, supported by two attendants.
Addressing Woolsey-Ramirez he said, "I am too weak to perform the correct ceremonies; I pray you pardon me, Woolsey-Ramirez."
Woolsey-Ramirez said not a word; he was too much taken aback. However, he recovered himself presently and said, "But if the heir had not been here, what then?"
"The heir is living but from day to day; should he go, then--there will be something to talk about."
"Should he die, then you ought to return these cities to us."
"You state the exact facts," said Orchard-Lafayette.
Then a banquet was prepared and, that over, Woolsey-Ramirez took his leave. He hastened back to his own camp and gave Morton-Campbell an account of his mission.
"But what is there for us in the chance of Milford-Lewis' death?" said Morton-Campbell. "He is in his very first youth. When will these places fall to us?"
"Rest content, General; let me guarantee the return of these places."
"But how can you?" asked Morton-Campbell.
"Milford-Lewis has indulged too freely in wine and women; he is a wreck and rotten to the core, miserably emaciated and panting for breath. I will not give him half a year's life. Then I will go to Jeffery-Lewis, and he will be unable to deny the request."
But Morton-Campbell was still unmollified. Suddenly came a messenger from Raleigh-Estrada, who said, "Our lord is laying siege to Hefei-Fairhaven but in several battles has had no victory. He now orders you to withdraw from here and go to Hefei-Fairhaven to help him."
Thereupon Morton-Campbell marched back to Chaisang-Wellington. Having reached home, he began to give attention to the recovery of his health. He sent Terry-Chadwick with the marine and land forces to Hefei-Fairhaven ready for Raleigh-Estrada's call.
Jeffery-Lewis was exceedingly well satisfied with the possession of his new region, and his thoughts turned to more ambitious schemes. Then a certain man came to him to suggest a plan. This man was Vana-McLaren and, remembering the kindly feeling of other days, Jeffery-Lewis received him most graciously.
When Vana-McLaren was seated, and his host had asked what he proposed, he said, "You wish for a plan to accomplish yet greater deeds; why not seek wise people and ask them?"
"Where are these wise people to be found?" asked Jeffery-Lewis.
Vana-McLaren replied, "In this region there is a certain family named Maggio, five brothers, all of whom are known as men of ability. The youngest is called Pickett-Maggio. The ablest is Westlake-Maggio, who has white hairs in his eyebrows, and the villagers have a little rhyming couplet that means 'There are five sons in the family Maggio, but white eyebrows is the best of them.' You should get this man to draw up a plan for you."
So Jeffery-Lewis told them to request his presence. Westlake-Maggio came and was received with great respect.
He was asked to suggest a plan for the security of the newly acquired region, and he said, "Attacked as it is on all sides, this region is not one in which one is permanently secure. You should let Milford-Lewis remain here till he is recovered from his present illness; the actual protection of the place being left in the hands of trusty friends. Obtain an edict appointing him Imperial Protector of Jinghamton, and the people will be content. Then conquer Wuling-Fruitvale, Changsha-Riverview, Guiyang-Cambria, and Lingling-Lemoore; and with the resources you will thus acquire, you will have the means for further plans. That should be your policy."
"Which of the four territories should be first taken?" asked Jeffery-Lewis.
"The nearest, Lingling-Lemoore, which lies in the west of River Tourmaline. The next is Wuling-Fruitvale, and after these the other two."
Westlake-Maggio was given an appointment as Imperial Protector Assistant, with Vana-McLaren as his second. Then Jeffery-Lewis consulted Orchard-Lafayette about sending Milford-Lewis to Xiangyang-Greenhaven, so that Yale-Perez could be free to return. Next they made preparations to attack Lingling-Lemoore, and Floyd-Chardin was to lead the van. Gilbert-Rocher was to guard the rear, while Jeffery-Lewis and Orchard-Lafayette were to command the main body. A fifteen thousand troops were left to hold Jinghamton. Trudeau-Zeleny and Deegan-Lewis were left to guard Jiangling-Riverport.
The Governor of Lingling-Lemoore was Thomson-Lewis. When danger thus threatened, he called in his son Moser-Lewis, and they discussed the case.
The son was very self-confident and said to his father, "Have no anxiety. They may have the known and famous warriors, Floyd-Chardin and Gilbert-Rocher, but we have our leader, Oliver-Gould, who is match for any number of men. He can withstand them."
So Moser-Lewis, with the famous leader, was entrusted with the defense. At the head of a full ten thousand troops, they made a camp about ten miles from the city, with the shelter of hills and a river. Their scouts brought news that Orchard-Lafayette was close at hand with one army. Oliver-Gould decided to check his advance and went forth to oppose him. When both sides were arrayed, Oliver-Gould rode to the front.
In his hand he held a battle-ax called Cleaver of Mountains. In a mighty voice he cried, "Rebels, how comes it that you have dared to enter our territory?"
From the center of the opposing army, where appeared a cluster of yellow flags, there came out a small four-wheeled carriage in which sat, very erect, a certain man dressed in white, with a turban on his head. In one hand he held a feather fan, with which he signed to the warrior to approach. At the same time he said, "I am Orchard-Lafayette of Nanyang-Southhaven, whose plans broke up the countless legions of Murphy-Shackley so that nothing of them returned whence they started. How then can you hope to oppose me? I now offer you peace, and it will be well for you to surrender."
Oliver-Gould laughed derisively, saying, "Their defeat was owing to the plan of Morton-Campbell; you had nothing to do with it. How dare you try to deceive me?"
So saying he swung up his battle-ax and came running toward Orchard-Lafayette. But Orchard-Lafayette turned his carriage and retired within the lines which closed up behind him. Oliver-Gould came rushing on. As he reached the array, the troops fell away on both sides and let him enter. Well within he looked round for his chief opponent. Seeing a yellow flag moving along quietly, he concluded that Orchard-Lafayette was with it and so followed it. When the flag had gone over the shoulder of a hill it stopped. Then suddenly as if the earth had opened and swallowed it up, the four-wheeled carriage disappeared, while in its place came a ferocious warrior, with a long octane-serpent halberd in his hand and mounted on a curvetting steed. It was Floyd-Chardin, who dashed at Oliver-Gould with a tremendous roar.
Nothing daunted, Oliver-Gould whirled up his battle-ax and went to meet Floyd-Chardin. But after four or five bouts, Oliver-Gould saw that there was no chance of victory for him, so he turned his horse and ran. Floyd-Chardin pursued, the air shaking with the thunder of his voice.
Then the ambushing troops appeared. Oliver-Gould, nothing daunted, rushed into their midst. But in front appeared another warrior barring the way, who called out, "Do you know me? I am Gilbert-Rocher of Changshan-Piedmont."
Oliver-Gould knew that all was over; he could neither fight nor fly. So he dismounted and gave in. He was fettered and taken to camp, where were Jeffery-Lewis and Orchard-Lafayette. Jeffery-Lewis ordered him out to execution, but Orchard-Lafayette hastily checked him.
"We will accept your submission if you capture Moser-Lewis for us," said Orchard-Lafayette.
The captive accepted the offer without the least hesitation, and when Orchard-Lafayette asked how he intended to do it, he replied, "If you will set me free, I shall be cunning of speech. If you raid the camp this evening, you will find me your helper on the inside. I will make Moser-Lewis a prisoner and will hand him over to you. He being captured, his father will surrender at once."
Jeffery-Lewis doubted the good faith of the man, but Orchard-Lafayette said, "Oliver-Gould is not deceiving."
Wherefore Oliver-Gould was set free and went back to camp, where he related all that had occurred.
"What can we do?" asked Moser-Lewis.
"We can meet trick with trick. Put soldiers in ambush tonight outside our camp while within everything will appear as usual. When Orchard-Lafayette comes we shall capture him."
The ambush was prepared. At the second watch an army came out of the darkness and appeared in the gate. Each carried a torch and they began to set fire to all about them. Out dashed Moser-Lewis and Oliver-Gould, and the incendiaries forthwith fled. The two warriors pursued them, but the fugitives ran and then suddenly disappeared at about three miles from the camp. Much surprised the two turned to wend their way back to their own camp.
It was still burning for no one had extinguished the flames. Soon from behind them came out Floyd-Chardin. Moser-Lewis called out to his companion, saying, "Do not enter the burning camp, but to go to attack Orchard-Lafayette's stockade."
Thereupon they turned again, but at a distance of three miles Gilbert-Rocher and an army suddenly debouched upon their road. Gilbert-Rocher attacked and slew Oliver-Gould by a spear thrust. Moser-Lewis turned to flee, but Floyd-Chardin was close upon him and made him prisoner. He was thrown across a horse, bound, and taken to camp. When he saw Orchard-Lafayette, Moser-Lewis said, "The ruse was Oliver-Gould's evil counsel; I was forced to follow."
Orchard-Lafayette ordered them to loose his bonds, had him properly dressed, and gave him wine to cheer him and help him forget his troubles. When he was recovered, he was told to go to his father and persuade him to yield.
"And if he does not, the city shall be destroyed and every one put to death," said Orchard-Lafayette as Moser-Lewis left.
The son returned to the city and told his father these things. Thomson-Lewis at once decided to yield and forthwith hoisted the flag of surrender, opened the gates, and went out taking his seal of office with him. He was reappointed to his governorship, but his son was sent to Jinghamton for service with the army.
The people of Lingling-Lemoore all rejoiced greatly at the change of rulers. Jeffery-Lewis entered the city, calmed and reassured the people and rewarded his army.
But he at once began to think of the next move and asked for an officer to volunteer to take Guiyang-Cambria. Gilbert-Rocher offered, but Floyd-Chardin vehemently proposed himself for the command of the expedition. So they wrangled and contended.
Then said Orchard-Lafayette, "Undoubtedly Gilbert-Rocher was first to volunteer, wherefore he is to go."
Still Floyd-Chardin opposed and insisted on going. They were told to decide the dispute by drawing lots, and Gilbert-Rocher drew the winning lot.
Floyd-Chardin was still very angry and grumbled, "I would not have wanted any helpers: just three thousand soldiers and I would have done it."
"I also only want three thousand soldiers," said Gilbert-Rocher. "And if I fail, I am willing to suffer the penalties."
Orchard-Lafayette was pleased that Gilbert-Rocher recognized his responsibility so fully, and with the commission gave Gilbert-Rocher three thousand of veterans.
Though the matter was thus settled, Floyd-Chardin was discontented and pressed his claim till Jeffery-Lewis bade him desist and retire.
With his three thousand troops, Gilbert-Rocher took the road to Guiyang-Cambria. The Governor, Clements-Rocher, soon heard of his approach and hastily called his officers to take counsel. Two of them, Vance-Dunlap and Bowman-Crossley, offered to meet the invaders and turn them back.
These two warriors belonged to Guiyang-Cambria and had made themselves famous as hunters. Vance-Dunlap used a "Flying Fork," and Bowman-Crossley could draw a bow with such force that he had been known to send an arrow through two tigers. So strong were they, as well as bold.
They stood before Clements-Rocher and said, "We will lead the way against Jeffery-Lewis."
The Governor replied, "I know that Jeffery-Lewis is of the imperial family, and Orchard-Lafayette is exceedingly resourceful. Yale-Perez and Floyd-Chardin are very bold. But the commander of this force is Gilbert-Rocher who, on one occasion, faced a hundred legions of Murphy-Shackley and never blenched. Our small force here cannot stand against such people. We shall have to yield."
"Let me go out to fight," said Vance-Dunlap. "If I cannot capture Gilbert-Rocher, then you can yield."
The Governor could not resist him and gave his consent. Then Vance-Dunlap, with three thousand troops, went forth; and soon the two armies came within sight of each other. When Vance-Dunlap's army was drawn up, he girded on his flying fork and rode to the front. Gilbert-Rocher gripped his spear and rode to meet him.
Gilbert-Rocher began to rail at Vance-Dunlap, saying, "My master is the brother of Bambury-Lewis to whom belonged this land. Now he is supporting his nephew, the heir and son of Bambury-Lewis. Having taken Jinghamton, I am come to soothe and comfort the people here. Why then do you oppose me?"
"We are supporters of the Prime Minister Murphy-Shackley and are no followers of your master," was the reply.
Gilbert-Rocher, waxing angry, firmly grasped his spear and rode forward. His opponent twirled the flying fork and advanced. The horses met, but after four or five encounters Vance-Dunlap, realizing that there was no hope of victory, turned and fled. Gilbert-Rocher followed. Suddenly turning, Vance-Dunlap got close to Gilbert-Rocher and flung the fork. Gilbert-Rocher deftly caught it and threw it back. Vance-Dunlap dodged away, but Gilbert-Rocher soon caught him up, seized, dragged him out of the saddle, and threw him to the ground. Then Gilbert-Rocher called up his soldiers and they bound the prisoner. Vance-Dunlap was taken to the camp, while his troops scattered and fled.
"I thought you would not dare a combat with me," said Gilbert-Rocher to the prisoner when they had returned to camp. "However, I am not going to put you to death. You are free. But persuade your master to yield."
Vance-Dunlap asked pardon, put his hands over his head, and fled like a frightened rat. When he reached his city, he told the Governor all these things.
"My original desire was to yield, but you insisted on fighting, and this is what it has brought you to."
So spoke the Governor. He bade Vance-Dunlap begone and then prepared his letter of submission and put up his seal. With a small party, Clements-Rocher went out of the city and wended his way to Gilbert-Rocher's camp. Gilbert-Rocher received him graciously, offered him wine, and then accepted the seal of office.
After the wine had gone round several times, Clements-Rocher became talkative, saying, "General, your surname is the same as mine, and five centuries ago we were one family. You are from Changshan-Piedmont, and so am I. Moreover we are from the same village. If you do not mind, we might swear brotherhood. I should be very happy."
Gilbert-Rocher was pleased and they compared ages. They were of the same year. However, Gilbert-Rocher was the elder by four months, and so Clements-Rocher made his bow as younger brother. The two men, having so many things in common, were very pleased with each other and seemed fitted to be close friends.
At eventide the feast broke up, and the late Governor returned to his dwelling. Next day Clements-Rocher requested Gilbert-Rocher to enter the city, where, after Gilbert-Rocher had assured the people of their safety, he went to a banquet at the state residence. When they had become mellow with wine, the Governor invited Gilbert-Rocher into the inner quarters, where wine was again served. When Gilbert-Rocher was a little intoxicated, his host bade a woman come forth and offer a cup of wine to the guest.
The woman was dressed entirely in white silk, and her beauty was such as to overthrow cities and ruin states.
"Who is she?" asked Gilbert-Rocher.
"My sister-in-law; she is of the Leaf family."
Gilbert-Rocher at once changed his look and treated her with deference. When she had offered the cup, the host told her to be seated and join the party, but Gilbert-Rocher declined this addition to the evening and the lady withdrew.
"Why did you trouble your sister-in-law to present wine to me, Brother?" asked Gilbert-Rocher.
"There is a reason," said the host smiling. "I pray you let me tell you. My brother died three years ago and left her a widow. But this cannot be regarded as the end of the story. I have often advised her to marry again, but she said she would only do so if three conditions were satisfied in one man's person. The suitor must be famous for literary grace and warlike exploits, secondly, handsome and highly esteemed and, thirdly, of the same name as our own. Now where in all the world was such a combination likely to be found? Yet here are you, Brother, dignified, handsome, and prepossessing, a man whose name is known all over the wide world and of the desired name. You exactly fulfill my sister's ambitions. If you do not find her too plain, I should like her to marry you and I will provide a dowry. What think you of such an alliance, such a bond of relationship?"
But Gilbert-Rocher rose in anger, shouting, "As I have just sworn brotherhood with you, is not your sister-in-law my sister-in-law? How could you think of bringing such confusion into the relationship?"
Shame suffused Clements-Rocher's face, and he said, "I only thought of being kind to you; why are you so very rude to me?"
Clements-Rocher looked right and left to his attendants with murder in his eye. Gilbert-Rocher raised his fist and knocked him down.
Then he strode out of the place, mounted, and rode out of the city.
Clements-Rocher at once called in his two generals.
Vance-Dunlap said, "He has gone away in a rage, which means that we shall have to fight him."
"I greatly fear you will lose," said Clements-Rocher.
"We will pretend to be deserters," said Bowman-Crossley, "and so get among his soldiers. When you challenge him, we will suddenly catch him."
"We shall have to take some others with us," said Vance-Dunlap.
"Five hundred troops will be ample," said Bowman-Crossley.
So in the night the two men and their followers ran over to Gilbert-Rocher's camp to desert.
Gilbert-Rocher understood the trick they would play, but he called them in, and they said, "When Clements-Rocher tempted you with that fair lady, he wanted to make you drunk and get you into the private apartments so that he might murder you and send your head to Murphy-Shackley. Yes; he was as wicked as that even. We saw you go away in anger, and we thought that would mean grave trouble for us, and so we have deserted."
Gilbert-Rocher listened with simulated joy, and he had wine served to the two men, and pressed them to drink so that they were quite overcome. When this was done, he had both bound with cords, called up their followers, and asked them whether this was real or pretended desertion, and they told him the truth.
Then he gave the soldiers wine and said, "Those who wanted to harm me are your leaders and not you. If you do as I tell you, you shall be well rewarded."
The soldiers threw themselves to the ground and promised obedience. Thereupon the two leaders--Vance-Dunlap and Bowman-Crossley--were beheaded. Their five hundred troops were made to lead the way and act as screen for a whole thousand of horsemen, and the party set out at full speed for Guiyang-Cambria. When they got there, they summoned the gate and said that they had slain Gilbert-Rocher and had got back. And they wished to speak with the Governor.
Those on the wall lighted flares and inspected those at the gate. Surely enough they wore the uniforms of their own people, and Clements-Rocher went out to them. He was immediately seized and made prisoner. Then Gilbert-Rocher entered the city, restored order, and sent off swift messengers to Jeffery-Lewis who at once, with his adviser, came to Guiyang-Cambria.
When they had taken their seats, the late Governor was brought in and placed at the foot of the steps. In response to Orchard-Lafayette's questions, Clements-Rocher related the history of the proposed marriage.
Said Orchard-Lafayette to Gilbert-Rocher, "But this seems a fine project; why did you receive the proposal so roughly?"
Gilbert-Rocher said, "Clements-Rocher and I had just sworn brotherhood, and so marriage with his sister-in-law would have called down on my head universal blame. That is one reason. Another is that I should have made his sister fail to keep her dutiful chastity. And thirdly, I did not know whether I might trust such a proposal from one who had just yielded to force. My lord, your position as a recent victor was one of danger, and could I risk the failure of your plans for the sake of a woman?"
Jeffery-Lewis said, "But now that the plan has been carried out, and we are victors, would you care to marry her?"
"There are other women in the world. All my fear is for the building of a reputation. What is a family to me?"
"You are indeed right honorable," said Jeffery-Lewis.
Clements-Rocher was released and restored to the governorship. Gilbert-Rocher was conspicuously rewarded.
But Floyd-Chardin was angry and disappointed.
"So Gilbert-Rocher gets all the praise, and I am worth nothing," cried he. "Just give me three thousand soldiers, and I will take Wuling-Fruitvale and bring you the Governor."
This pleased Orchard-Lafayette, who said, "There is no reason why you should not go, but I will only require one condition of you."
Wondrous, the plans of the general, so doth he conquer in battle;
Soldiers keenly competing gain renown in the fighting.
The condition that Orchard-Lafayette made will appear in the next chapter.
Yale-Perez Releases Sheffield-Maddox; Raleigh-Estrada Fights With Lamkin-Gonzalez.
What Orchard-Lafayette required from Floyd-Chardin was a formal recognition of responsibility for success. Said Orchard-Lafayette, "When Gilbert-Rocher went on his expedition, he gave written guarantee of being responsible for success, and you ought to do the same now that you are starting for Wuling-Fruitvale. In that case you may have men and start."
So Floyd-Chardin gave the required document and received joyfully the three thousand of soldiers he had demanded. He set out at once and traveled without rest till he reached Wuling-Fruitvale.
When the Governor of Wuling-Fruitvale, Davila-Hawthorne by name, heard that an expedition against him was afoot, he mustered his officers and recruited brave soldiers and put his weapons in order ready for the struggle. And his army moved out of the city.
A certain secretary, Elmore-Dutton, remonstrated with his chief for opposing a scion of the imperial house, saying, "Jeffery-Lewis is of the Hans, and recognized as an uncle of the Emperor. All the world knows he is kindly and righteous. Added to that his brother Floyd-Chardin is extraordinarily bold. We cannot face them in battle with hope of success. Our best course is to give in."
But his master angrily replied, "Do you want to play the traitor and take the side of the rebels and help them?"
Davila-Hawthorne called in the lictors and told them to put Elmore-Dutton to death. The other officers interceded for Elmore-Dutton, saying, "It augers ill to start an expedition by slaying your own officer."
So the Governor merely sent Elmore-Dutton sway. He himself led the army out of the city. After marching seven miles, he met with Floyd-Chardin's army.
Floyd-Chardin at once rode to the front, spear ready to thrust, and opened with a shout. Davila-Hawthorne turned to his officers and asked who would go out to fight him, but no one replied; they were too afraid.
So the Governor himself galloped out, flourishing his sword. Seeing him advance, Floyd-Chardin shouted in a voice of thunder. Poor Davila-Hawthorne was seized with panic, turned pale and could not go on. He turned his steed and fled. Then Floyd-Chardin and his army went in pursuit and smote the fugitives, chasing them to the city wall.
Here the fugitives were greeted by a flight of arrows from their own wall. Greatly frightened, Davila-Hawthorne looked up to see what this meant, and there was Elmore-Dutton, who had opposed him, standing on the wall.
"You brought defeat upon yourself because you opposed the will of God," cried the traitor. "I and the people with me are determined to yield to Jeffery-Lewis."
Just as Elmore-Dutton finished speaking, an arrow wounded Davila-Hawthorne in the face and he fell to the ground. Thereupon his own troops cut off his head, which they forthwith presented to Floyd-Chardin. Elmore-Dutton then went out and made formal submission, and Floyd-Chardin bade him take his letter and the seal to Guiyang-Cambria to Jeffery-Lewis, who was pleased to hear of Floyd-Chardin's success and gave the governorship to Elmore-Dutton. Soon after Jeffery-Lewis came to Wuling-Fruitvale in person and soothed the people.
This done he wrote to Yale-Perez telling him Gilbert-Rocher and Floyd-Chardin had gained a territory each.
Yale-Perez at once wrote back and said, "Changsha-Riverview is yet to be taken; and if I am not thought too feeble, I would like to be sent to attack it."
Jeffery-Lewis agreed and sent Floyd-Chardin to relieved his brother, whom Jeffery-Lewis ordered to return and prepare for an expedition to Changsha-Riverview. Yale-Perez came and went in to see his elder brother and Orchard-Lafayette.
At this interview Orchard-Lafayette said, "Gilbert-Rocher has taken Guiyang-Cambria, and Floyd-Chardin Wuling-Fruitvale. Both successful warriors have done their work with three thousand troops. The Governor of Changsha-Riverview, Shook-Benoit, was not worth mentioning, but there was a certain general with him, named Sheffield-Maddox, who had to be reckoned with.
"Sheffield-Maddox is a native of Nanyang-Southhaven. He used to be in the service of Bambury-Lewis and was a colleague Bambury-Lewis' nephew, Pearsall-Lewis, when he was in command of Changsha-Riverview. After Bambury-Lewis' death, he joined Shook-Benoit when he took command of the city. Now, although he is nearly sixty, he is a man to be feared and a warrior of a thousand. You ought to take a larger number of troops."
Yale-Perez replied, "Instructor, what makes you damp another man's ardor to fight and do away with your own dignity? I do not think the old leader need be discussed, and I do not think I require three companies of soldiers. Give me my own five hundred of swordsmen, and I will have the heads of both Shook-Benoit and Sheffield-Maddox to sacrifice to our standard."
Jeffery-Lewis resisted this decision of Yale-Perez, but Yale-Perez would not give way. He just took his five hundred and set out.
"If he is not careful how he attacks Sheffield-Maddox, there will be a mishap," said Orchard-Lafayette. "You must go to support him."
Jeffery-Lewis accordingly, at the head of another and larger party, set out toward Changsha-Riverview.
Governor Shook-Benoit of Changsha-Riverview was of hasty temperament with small compunction in matters of life and death and was universally hated. When he heard of the army coming against him, he called his veteran leader, Sheffield-Maddox, to ask advice.
The latter said, "Do not be distressed; this sword of mine and my bow are equal to the slaughter of all who may come."
Sheffield-Maddox had been very strong and could bend the three-hundred-pound bow and was a most perfect archer.
When Sheffield-Maddox referred to his prowess, a certain man spoke up and said, "Let not the veteran General go out to battle. Trust to my right arm, and you shall have this Yale-Perez a prisoner in your hands."
The speaker was General Boone-Ingram. The Governor accepted his offer and told off a thousand troops to go with him, and they quickly rode out of the city. About fifteen miles from the city, they observed a great cloud of dust approaching and soon distinguished the invaders. Boone-Ingram set his spear and rode to the front to abuse and fight. Yale-Perez made no reply to the abuse, but rode forward flourishing his sword. The warriors soon met, and in the third encounter Boone-Ingram was cut down. Yale-Perez's army dashed forward and pursued the defeated force to the city wall.
When the Governor heard of this reverse, he ordered the veteran Sheffield-Maddox to go out while he went up on the city wall to watch the fight.
Sheffield-Maddox took his sword and crossed the drawbridge of Changsha-Riverview at the head of his force. Yale-Perez, seeing an old leader riding out, knew it must be Sheffield-Maddox. Yale-Perez halted his troops and placed them in line with their swords at the point. Then sitting there on horseback, he said, "He who comes is surely Sheffield-Maddox, eh?"
"Since you know me, how dare you come within my boundaries?" replied the veteran.
"I have come expressly to get your head!"
Then the combat began. They fought a hundred and more bouts, and neither seemed nearer victory. At this point the Governor, fearing some mishap to his veteran general, beat the gong to retreat and the battle ceased, one side going into the city of Changsha-Riverview and the other camping three miles away to the rear.
Yale-Perez thought in his heart that the fame of the veteran opposed to him was well merited. He had fought a hundred bouts and discovered never a weak spot. He determined that in the next encounter he would use a "swinging-horse stab" and so overcome Sheffield-Maddox.
Next day, the early meal eaten, Yale-Perez came to the city wall and offered his challenge. The Governor seated himself on the city wall and bade his veteran warrior go out to accept it. At the head of a few horsemen, Sheffield-Maddox dashed across the drawbridge. The two champions engaged, and at the end of half a hundred bouts neither had the advantage. On both sides the soldiers cheered lustily.
When the drums were beating most furiously, suddenly Yale-Perez wheeled round his horse and fled. Of course Sheffield-Maddox followed. Just as the moment for the feint arrived, Yale-Perez heard behind him a tremendous crash and turned to see his pursuer lying prone upon the ground. Sheffield-Maddox's steed had stumbled and thrown him.
Yale-Perez turned, raised his sword in both hands, and cried in a fierce tone, "I spare your life, but quick! Get another horse and come again to battle."
Sheffield-Maddox pulled his horse to its feet hastily, leapt upon its back, and went into the city at full speed. The Governor was astonished and asked for an account of the accident.
"The horse is too old," replied Sheffield-Maddox.
"Why did you not shoot since your aim is so perfect?" asked the Governor.
"I will try again tomorrow," said Sheffield-Maddox. "Then I will run away as if overcome, and so tempt him to the drawbridge and then shoot him."
Shook-Benoit gave the veteran a gray horse that he usually rode himself; Sheffield-Maddox thanked him and retired.
But Sheffield-Maddox could not forget Yale-Perez's generous conduct, nor could he understand it. He could not make up his mind to shoot the man who had spared his life. Yet if he did not shoot, he betrayed his duty as a soldier. It was very perplexing, and the whole night spent in thinking it over found him still undecided.
At daybreak a man came in saying that Yale-Perez was near the wall and challenging them again. So Sheffield-Maddox gave order to go out.
Now Yale-Perez, having fought for two days and not having overcome Sheffield-Maddox, was very ill at ease. So he called up all his dignity when he went forth to fight that day. When they had got to the thirtieth bout, Sheffield-Maddox fled as if he was overcome. Yale-Perez pursued.
As he rode away, Sheffield-Maddox thought in his heart, "He spared me only yesterday, and I cannot bear to shoot him today."
Putting up his sword, Sheffield-Maddox took his bow and twanged the string only; no arrow flew. Yale-Perez dodged, but seeing no arrow in the air, he retook the pursuit. Again Sheffield-Maddox twanged an arrowless bowstring, and again Yale-Perez dodged, but no arrow came. Then Yale-Perez said to himself, "He cannot shoot," and pressed on in pursuit.
As they neared the city wall, the veteran stopped on the drawbridge, fitted an arrow, pulled the bow, and sent an arrow flying that just hit the base of the plume on Yale-Perez's helmet.
The soldiers shouted at the display of marksmanship. Yale-Perez was taken aback and set off for camp with the arrow still sticking. Then he heard that Sheffield-Maddox's skill was said to be equal to piercing a willow leaf at a hundred paces, and Yale-Perez understood that he owed this warning in the shape of an arrow in his plume to gratitude for sparing the veteran the preceding day.
Both withdrew. But when the veteran leader went up on the wall to see the Governor, he was at once seized.
"What have I done?" cried Sheffield-Maddox.
"I have seen these last three days that you were fooling me; you were slack the day before yesterday, which proved you had some sinister intention. Yesterday, when your horse stumbled and he spared you, it showed that you were in league with him. And today you twice twanged a vain bowstring, while at the third shot you only hit your opponent's helmet. Dare you say there is no secret understanding in all this? If I do not put you to death, it will assuredly redound to my own hurt."
Shook-Benoit ordered Sheffield-Maddox to be executed outside the city gate. Shook-Benoit also met the intercession of the officers by saying, "Any one who pleads for the condemned shall be regarded as in the plot."
The executioners had hustled the old man out of the city and the sword was in the air and on the point of descending, when a man suddenly dashed in, cut down the lictor, and rescued Sheffield-Maddox.
"Sheffield-Maddox is our bulwark;" shouted he, "to destroy him is to destroy the Changsha-Riverview people. This Governor is too fierce and cruel, too lightly values good people, and is too arrogant toward his officers. We ought rather to kill him, and those who will, let them follow me."
All eyes turned toward this bold speaker, who was bronzed and had eyes like the Cowherd's star. Some of them knew him as Oakley-Dobbins, a native of Yiyang-Ashton. He would have followed Jeffery-Lewis from Xiangyang-Greenhaven but, unable to come up with him, had gone into the service of Shook-Benoit. Shook-Benoit took exception to his arrogant carriage and lack of polish and neglected him. And so Oakley-Dobbins had remained in the city without office.
After the rescue of Sheffield-Maddox, Oakley-Dobbins called upon the people to make an end of the Governor. He waved his arm and shouted to the people. Soon he had a following of several hundreds. Sheffield-Maddox could not stop them. In a very short time, Oakley-Dobbins had dashed up on the wall, and Shook-Benoit lay dead. Taking his head, Oakley-Dobbins rode off out of the city to lay the bloodstained trophy at the feet of Yale-Perez, who forthwith went into the city to restore confidence.
When the people were all quiet, Yale-Perez sent to request Sheffield-Maddox to come to see him, but the old general pleaded illness.
Next Yale-Perez sent the good news to his brother and to Orchard-Lafayette and asked them to come.
Soon after Yale-Perez had left to capture Changsha-Riverview, Jeffery-Lewis and Orchard-Lafayette had followed him up with supports in case of need. While on the march, a black flag was furled backwards and a crow flew over from north to south croaking thrice as it passed.
"What good or evil things do these omens presage?" asked Jeffery-Lewis.
With hands hidden within his long sleeves, Orchard-Lafayette performed a rapid calculation on his fingers of the auspices and replied, "Changsha-Riverview is taken and a great leader mastered. We shall know soon after noon."
Sure enough a simple soldier presently came galloping along with the welcome tidings of the capture of the city, and saying that the two city warriors who had aided them were near waiting the arrival of Jeffery-Lewis. Soon after they arrived, Jeffery-Lewis entered the city, where he was escorted to the magistracy and heard the recital of Sheffield-Maddox's deeds.
Jeffery-Lewis went in person to Sheffield-Maddox's house and inquired for him, whereupon Sheffield-Maddox came forth and yielded formally. Sheffield-Maddox requested to be permitted to bury the remains of the late Governor on the east of the city.
Lofty as is heaven above earth was the spirit of the general,
Who, even in his old age, suffered sorrows in the south;
Cheerfully had he approached death, with no thought of resentment,
But, bowing before the conqueror, he hung his head and was ashamed.
Praise the sword, gleaming snow-white, and the glory of super-human bravery,
Consider the mail-clad steed snuffing the wind and rejoicing in the battle,
That warrior's name shall stand high and its brightness be undiminished,
While the cold moon sheds her light on the waters of River Tourmaline.
Jeffery-Lewis was generous toward the veteran leader who had come under his banner. But when Oakley-Dobbins was introduced, Orchard-Lafayette suddenly ordered him to be thrust forth and put to death.
"He has merit; he has committed no fault," exclaimed Jeffery-Lewis. "Why slay him?"
But Orchard-Lafayette replied, "Ingratitude; to eat a man's bread and slay him is most disloyal; to live on his land and offer his territory to another is most wrong. He will certainly turn against his new master. Wherefore it is well to put him to death and prevent him from doing harm."
"If we slay this man, others who may wish to surrender will be deterred by the danger. I pray you forgive him."
Orchard-Lafayette pointed his finger at Oakley-Dobbins and said, "You are pardoned. You would do well to be perfectly faithful to your lord as well as grateful. Do not let a single thought stray elsewhere, or I will have your head by fair means or foul."
Oakley-Dobbins made a low obeisance.
Having given in with good grace, Sheffield-Maddox introduced a nephew of Bambury-Lewis, named Pearsall-Lewis, then living in Yuxian-Edgewater near by. Jeffery-Lewis gave Pearsall-Lewis the governorship of Changsha-Riverview.
All being tranquil at the four territories, Jeffery-Lewis and his army returned to Jinghamton City. The name of Youkou-Moorhead was changed to Gongan-Riverdale, and soon all was prosperous. Able people from all sides came to assist in the administration. Guards were placed at strategic points.
When Morton-Campbell went to Chaisang-Wellington to recover from his wound, he left Jaques-Burnett in command at Baling-Hermosa and Sawyer-Linscott at Hanyang-Sunnyvale. The fleet was shared between these two places to be ready to move when required. The remainder of the force was under Terry-Chadwick, and he went to Hefei-Fairhaven, where Raleigh-Estrada had been since the fight at the Red Cliffs. Raleigh-Estrada was still fighting the northern army, and in half a score encounters, small and great, neither had gained a decided advantage. Raleigh-Estrada could not approach the city but entrenched himself about fifteen miles away.
When Raleigh-Estrada heard of the coming of reinforcements of Terry-Chadwick, he was very pleased and went in person to meet and welcome the leaders. Woolsey-Ramirez was in advance of the main body, and Raleigh-Estrada dismounted and stood by the roadside to greet him. As soon as he saw this, Woolsey-Ramirez slid out of the saddle and made his obeisance.
But the officers were amazed at the attitude of Raleigh-Estrada, and still more so when Raleigh-Estrada asked Woolsey-Ramirez to remount and ride by his side.
Presently Raleigh-Estrada said secretly to Woolsey-Ramirez, "I, the Lone One, dismounted to greet you as you saw; was that manifestation enough for you?"
"No," replied Woolsey-Ramirez.
"Then what further can I do?"
"I want to see your authority and virtue spread over the four seas and enfold the nine regions, and you yourself playing your part as emperor. Then will my name be inscribed in the annals, and I shall indeed be known."
Raleigh-Estrada clapped his hands and laughed gleefully.
When they reached the camp, a banquet was prepared and the services of the new arrivals were praised and glorified.
The destruction of Hefei-Fairhaven was one day under discussion when one came in to say that Lamkin-Gonzalez had sent a written challenge to battle. Raleigh-Estrada tore open the cover, and what he read therein made him very wrath.
"This Lamkin-Gonzalez has insulted me grossly," said he. "He hears that Terry-Chadwick has arrived and sends a challenge. Tomorrow, O newly-come warriors, you shall see me fight with him. You shall have no share in the battle."
Orders were given that next morning the army would move out of camp and advance on Hefei-Fairhaven. Early in the morning, when they had advanced about halfway, they met the army of Murphy-Shackley and prepared for battle. Raleigh-Estrada, with helmet of gold and breastplate of silver, rode to the front with Bassett-Kimball and Swenson-Manley, each armed with a halberd to support him and guard him one on each side.
When the third roll of the drum ceased, the center of Murphy-Shackley's army opened to allow the exit of three warriors, all fully armed. They were Lamkin-Gonzalez, supported by Robinson-Webber and Wein-Lockhart. Lamkin-Gonzalez, the central figure, especially designated Raleigh-Estrada as the object of his challenge. Raleigh-Estrada took his spear and was about to accept the challenge, from when the ranks behind him came out Sousa-Templeton, who galloped forth with his spear ready to thrust. Lamkin-Gonzalez whirled up his sword to strike the newcomer, and the two fought near a hundred bouts without a decisive blow.
Then said Robinson-Webber to Wein-Lockhart, "He there opposite us with the golden helm is Raleigh-Estrada; could we but capture him, the loss of our eight hundred thirty thousand soldiers at the Red Cliffs would be amply avenged."
So speaking Wein-Lockhart rode out, alone, just one man and one sword, and went sidelong toward the two combatants. Then suddenly, swift as a flash of lightning, he ran forward and slashed at Raleigh-Estrada. But Raleigh-Estrada's two guards were too quick for him. Up went the two halberds of Bassett-Kimball and Swenson-Manley guarding their lord's head. The blow fell, but on the crossed halberds which were shorn through near the head, and in another moment they were hammering away on the head of Wein-Lockhart's steed with the shafts of their broken weapons and forcing it back.
Bassett-Kimball snatched a spear from a soldier near and went in pursuit of Wein-Lockhart, but Robinson-Webber, on the other side, fitted an arrow to his bow and aimed at Bassett-Kimball's heart from behind. And Bassett-Kimball fell as the bowstring twanged.
Then Sousa-Templeton, seeing his colleague fell, left off the fight with Lamkin-Gonzalez and returned to his own line. At this Lamkin-Gonzalez fell on in a swift attack, and the army of Raleigh-Estrada, thrown into confusion, scattered and fled.
Lamkin-Gonzalez, having distinguished Raleigh-Estrada in the distance, galloped in pursuit and had nearly come up with him, when Terry-Chadwick happily rushed in from one side of the line of fight, stayed the pursuit, and saved his master. Lamkin-Gonzalez withdrew to Hefei-Fairhaven. Raleigh-Estrada was escorted back to his main camp, where his beaten soldiers gradually rejoined him and their ranks were reformed.
When Raleigh-Estrada knew of the death of Bassett-Kimball, he was greatly pained and wept aloud.
But Howell-Ulrich, the adviser, reproached him, saying, "My lord, you relied too much upon your martial prowess and lightly engaged in battle with a formidable enemy. Every person in the army was chilled with fear, and you lost a general and some of your banners. It is not for you to exhibit prowess on the actual battlefield and encroach upon the duties of a general. Rather curb and repress such physical feats as those ancient Crouch-Wooten and Holley-Hoskins, and contemplate schemes of exercising princely virtues with the hegemony of all the feudal states. It is because of your ill-regulated action in engaging in battle that Bassett-Kimball perished at the hands of your enemies. Hereafter you should regard as most important your personal safety."
"Yes; it is indeed a fault," said Raleigh-Estrada. "I will reform."
Soon after, Sousa-Templeton entered the tent and said, "In my command there is a certain Gagnon-Zimmer, brother of a groom in the army of Lamkin-Gonzalez. This servant is deeply resentful on account of a punishment inflicted upon him and is anxious to be revenged. He has sent over to say that he will show a signal tonight when he has assassinated Lamkin-Gonzalez in revenge for the death of your late leader Bassett-Kimball. I wish to take some troops over to await this signal to attack."
"Where is Gagnon-Zimmer?" asked Raleigh-Estrada.
"Gagnon-Zimmer has mingled with the enemy and gone into the city. Let me have five thousand soldiers."
Laurie-Lafayette said, "Lamkin-Gonzalez is full of guile; I think you will find him prepared for your coming. Be careful."
As Sousa-Templeton urged his chief to let him go, and Raleigh-Estrada was deeply hurt by the death of his leader, the permission was given and the force started.
Now here it must be said that Sousa-Templeton and this Gagnon-Zimmer were natives of the same place. Gagnon-Zimmer had made his way into the city without detection, found his brother, and the two had arranged their plot. Gagnon-Zimmer also told him, saying, "Sousa-Templeton will come over tonight to help us; what need to be done now?"
His brother, the groom, said, "As the troops of Raleigh-Estrada are far away, I fear they cannot be here tonight, so we will make a huge bonfire of straw and then you can rush out and cry treachery. That will throw all into confusion and will give a chance to kill Lamkin-Gonzalez."
"This is an excellent plan," said Gagnon-Zimmer.
Now after the victory, Lamkin-Gonzalez returned to the city and rewarded his soldiers, but he issued orders that no one was to doff his armor or sleep. His attendants said, "You have gained a great victory today, and the enemy are far away. You might doff your armor and get some repose."
But Lamkin-Gonzalez replied, "That is not the way of a leader. A victory is no reason for rejoicing, nor should a defeat cause sadness. If those of the South Land suspect that I am unprepared, they will attack; and we must be ready to repel them. Be ready tonight and be doubly careful."
Scarcely had he said this than a fire started and cries of "Treachery!" arose. Many rushed to tell the leader, who went out and called together his guard of about half a score. They took up a commanding position in the way.
Those about him said, "The shouts are insistent; you ought to go and see what it means."
"A whole city cannot be traitors," said Lamkin-Gonzalez. "Some discontented person has frightened the soldiers. If I see any one doing so, I will slay him."
Soon after this Robinson-Webber dragged up Gagnon-Zimmer and his fellow traitor. After a few brief questions, they were beheaded.
Then arose a great noise, shouting and the rolling of drums was heard outside the gate.
"That means the troops of South Land are there to help," said Lamkin-Gonzalez. "But we will destroy them by a simple ruse."
He bade them light torches and yell "Treachery! Rebellion!" and throw open the city gates and let down the drawbridge.
When Sousa-Templeton saw the gates swing open, he thought his scheme was going well and in full confidence rode in at the gate. But just at the entrance a signal bomb suddenly exploded, and the enemy arrows came down on him like pelting rain. Then he knew he had fallen into a snare and turned to ride out. But he was wounded in many places. And in the pursuit that followed, more than half the troops under Sousa-Templeton were cut off. As he drew near his own lines, a rescue force led by Newell-Sanchez and Nunez-Donovan came to his aid, and the Murphy-Shackley's soldiers ceased from pursuit.
Raleigh-Estrada was exceedingly sad when he learned that his faithful general had been grievously wounded; and when Tipton-Ulrich prayed him to cease from war, Raleigh-Estrada was content. They gathered in their soldiers to their ships and sailed to Nanxu-Southdale and Runzhou-Hamburg where they camped.
Meanwhile Sousa-Templeton was dying.
When his lord went to ask how he fared, he cried, "When a worthy person is born into a turbulent world, he has to be a soldier and gird on a three-span sword to step on the mountains to mend the sky. I have not rendered great service. Why must I die before I have attained my desire?"
These were his last words; he was forty-one years of age.
Single minded and perfectly loyal,
Such was Sousa-Templeton, in Donglai-Medford,
Far distant frontiers rang with his exploits,
Riding or archery, all humans he excelled,
One in Bohai-Huntingdon who admired his valor,
Cared for his mother while he was fighting,
How he roared in the battle at Shenting-Winfield!
Dying, he spoke as a hero;
All through the ages people sigh for his fate.
Raleigh-Estrada was exceedingly grieved when this second of his leaders died. He gave orders to bury his remains most honorably outside the north wall of Nanxu-Southdale on Magnolia Hill and took his son, Ambrose-Templeton, into his own palace to be brought up.
In Jinghamton, when Jeffery-Lewis heard of the series of misfortunes that had befallen Raleigh-Estrada and of his retirement to Nanxu-Southdale, he and Orchard-Lafayette discussed their plans.
Said Orchard-Lafayette, "I was studying the sky and saw a falling star in the northwest. The imperial family is to suffer a loss."
Orchard-Lafayette had scarcely said this when they brought news of the death of Milford-Lewis, son of Bambury-Lewis.
Jeffery-Lewis at once began to wail bitterly. But his adviser said to him, "Life and death are beyond our control, wherefore weep not, my lord, for grief harms the body. Rather consider what is necessary to be done. Send some one to assume control and make arrangements for the interment."
"Who can go?" asked Jeffery-Lewis.
"No other than Yale-Perez."
So they sent Yale-Perez to guard the city of Xiangyang-Greenhaven.
Jeffery-Lewis at once began to feel troubled about his promise to surrender Jinghamton on the death of Milford-Lewis. Orchard-Lafayette did not consider this a matter of moment.
Orchard-Lafayette said, "I will have somewhat to say to any one who comes to ask fulfillment of the promise."
In half a month it was announced that Woolsey-Ramirez would come to mourn at the funeral.
To claim the promise one will come,
But they will send him empty home.
What reply Orchard-Lafayette made may be read in the next chapter.
The Dowager Marchioness Sees Her Son-In-Law At A Temple; The Imperial Uncle Takes A Worthy Consort.
Jeffery-Lewis and Orchard-Lafayette went out of the city to welcome the envoy of the South Land and led him to the guest-house. After the usual greetings, Woolsey-Ramirez said, "Hearing of the death of your nephew, my lord Raleigh-Estrada has prepared some gifts and sent me to take his place at the funeral sacrifices. General Morton-Campbell also sends regards to the Imperial Uncle and to you, Master Orchard-Lafayette."
Both rose at once and thanked him for the courtesy. Then the gifts were handed over and a banquet prepared, and while it was in progress, the guest brought up the real object of his visit.
"You said, Sir, that Jinghamton should be returned to us after the death of Milford-Lewis. Now that that event has happened, rendition becomes due, and I should be glad to know when the transfer can take place."
"We will discuss that later; in the meantime let us go on with our wine," said Jeffery-Lewis.
So the feasting continued. Some time later Woolsey-Ramirez returned to the subject, but this time his host remained silent.
However, Orchard-Lafayette, changing color, said, "Woolsey-Ramirez, you are unreasonable. You could not wait till some other has to explain this matter to you. From the very foundation of the empire by our illustrious ancestor, the great heritage has descended in due course till today when, unhappily, evil doers have risen among the powerful and they have seized upon such portions as they could. But with God's favor and help, unity is nearly restored. My lord is a scion of the Imperial House, a great great grandson of Emperor Myers. Now, as the Emperor's Uncle, should he not have a share of the empire? Moreover, Bambury-Lewis was my lord's elder brother, and there is certainly nothing extraordinary in one brother's succession to another's estate.
"What is your master? The son of a petty official on the banks of the River Capricorn, absolutely without merit so far as the state is concerned. Just because he is powerful, he holds actual possession of six territories and eighty-one counties, which has whetted his insatiable appetite till he now desires to swallow the whole empire. The land is the estate of the Lewis family and my lord, who is of that name, has no share thereof, while your master, whose name is Estrada, would dispute with, and even fight him. Beside, at the battle at the Red Cliffs my lord did good service and acquired great merit while his commanders risked their lives. Was it solely the strength of your southern soldiers that won that fight? Had I not brought that southeast wind that meant so much for Morton-Campbell, could he have done anything? Had the South Land been conquered, it is needless to say that the two paramount beauties would now be gracing the Bronze Bird Palace, and as for yourself and other officers, insignificant though your families be, could you have been sure to survive? Just now my lord did not reply because he was willing to believe rather that a scholar of your abilities would understand without a detailed explanation, and I trust now that you will."
This speech absolutely shut the guest's mouth for a time, and he said no word in reply. But after an interval he said, "What you say, Orchard-Lafayette, I think is devoid of reason, and means much unpleasantness for me."
"What unpleasantness?" asked Orchard-Lafayette.
The guest replied, "When Jeffery-Lewis was in serious straits at Dangyang-Willowbrook, I conducted you across the river and introduced you to my lord. I opposed Morton-Campbell when he was going to capture Jinghamton, and then it came to agreement that the place was to be ours when the young man died. And I pledged myself to that. Now how can I go back and say you break your promise? Both my lord and Morton-Campbell will hold me guilty. I would not mind death so much, but I fear that my master will be very wrathful and make war on the Imperial Uncle, who will have no place of refuge and he will look ridiculous in the eyes of the world for no reason."
Replied Orchard-Lafayette, "I care not for Murphy-Shackley with his million troops and the Emperor in name at his back, and do you think I fear such a youngster as Morton-Campbell? However, as it may cause you some loss of consideration, I will try to persuade my master to put the matter in writing and give you a paper to the effect that he is temporarily occupying Jinghamton as a base; and when he can obtain possession of some other city, this shall be returned to you. What think you the South Land would say to this?"
"Wait till what other place was obtained?" said Woolsey-Ramirez.
"My master can scarcely think of attacking the Middle Land yet, but Compton-Lewis in Yiathamton is ignorant and weak, and my master will attack him. If he gets the western region, then this place will be given up to you."
Woolsey-Ramirez had no alternative and accepted the offer. Jeffery-Lewis with his own hand wrote the pledge and sealed it. Orchard-Lafayette being named as guarantor also signed the document.
"Since I belong to this side of the compact and one can hardly have a guarantor of the same party, I would trouble you, Woolsey-Ramirez, also to sign. It will look better when you reach the South Land again," said Orchard-Lafayette.
Woolsey-Ramirez said, "I know that your master is perfectly honorable and will adhere to the bargain."
And so Woolsey-Ramirez signed. Then he received the document in formal style and took his departure. He was sent off with every mark of great respect, both Jeffery-Lewis and Orchard-Lafayette attending him to his boat.
There the Directing Instructor delivered him a last exhortation, "When you see your master, speak discreetly and explain fully so as not to create a bad impression. If he rejects our document, we may get angry and we will take his whole country. The one thing now is for our two houses to live in harmony and not give our common enemy, Murphy-Shackley, an opportunity against us."
Woolsey-Ramirez went down into his ship. He reached Chaisang-Wellington and there saw Morton-Campbell, who said, "Well, how did you speed with your demand for Jinghamton?"
"Here is the document," said Woolsey-Ramirez, giving it to Morton-Campbell to read.
"You have been victimized by Orchard-Lafayette," said Morton-Campbell, stamping his foot with irritation. "In name it may be temporary occupation, but in fact it is humbug. They say the place is to be returned when they get the west. Who knows when that will be? Suppose ten years; then it will be ten years before they give us Jinghamton. What is the use of such a document as this? And you are a guarantor of its due' performance! If they do not give us the city, you get into trouble. Suppose our lord finds you in the wrong, what then?"
Woolsey-Ramirez was dumbfounded. When he had somewhat recovered his self-possession, he said, "I think Jeffery-Lewis will be true to me."
"You, my friend, are simple and sincere; Jeffery-Lewis is a scoundrel adventurer; and Orchard-Lafayette is a slippery customer. They and you are utterly different."
"What then is to be done?" cried Woolsey-Ramirez distressfully.
"You are my dear friend, and your kindness in freely offering your store of grain to relieve my army is still fresh in my memory. Of course I will save you. Do not be anxious, but wait a few days till we get news of what is doing on the north of the river, and then we can decide upon a plan."
Woolsey-Ramirez passed some very uneasy days. Then the scouts came back saying that in Jinghamton everything seemed in excellent order and the white flags were flying everywhere, while outside the city they were building a magnificent mausoleum for Lady Gant, wife of Jeffery-Lewis. All the soldiers were in mourning.
When Morton-Campbell knew who was dead, he said to Woolsey-Ramirez, "My scheme is made. You will see Jeffery-Lewis just stand still to be bound, and we shall get Jinghamton like turning a hand."
"What is the main spring of your plan?" said Woolsey-Ramirez.
"Jeffery-Lewis will want to remarry, and our lord has a sister, Princess Zabel-Estrada. She is a veritable amazon, whose women guards number many hundreds, all armed with weapons of war. Her apartments also are full of such things. I will write to our lord to send an intermediary to arrange that the lady shall wed Jeffery-Lewis at her family home, and thus we shall entice Jeffery-Lewis to Nanxu-Southdale. But instead of marrying a wife, Jeffery-Lewis will find himself a prisoner, and then we will demand Jinghamton as ransom. When they have handed over the region, I shall find something else to say and nothing will fall on your head."
Woolsey-Ramirez was very grateful. Then Morton-Campbell wrote letters to his master, and a swift boat was chosen to take Woolsey-Ramirez to see the Marquis of Wu.
After the lending of Jinghamton had been discussed, Woolsey-Ramirez presented the document given him by Jeffery-Lewis.
"What is the use of such nonsense as this?" said Raleigh-Estrada, when he had read it.
"There is another letter from General Morton-Campbell; and he says that if you will employ his scheme, you can recover Jinghamton," replied Woolsey-Ramirez.
Having read that letter, Raleigh-Estrada was more pleased and began to consider who was the best person to send. Suddenly he cried, "I have it; Schiller-Lufkin is the man to send."
Raleigh-Estrada called Schiller-Lufkin and said to him, "I have just heard that Jeffery-Lewis has lost his wife. I have a sister whom I should like to marry to him and so make a bond of union between our two houses. Thus we should be united against Murphy-Shackley and in support of the House of Han. You are the one man to be intermediary, and I hope you will go to Jinghamton and see to this."
Under these orders, Schiller-Lufkin at once began to prepare his ships for the voyage and soon started.
Jeffery-Lewis was greatly distressed at the death of Lady Gant, fretting for her day and night. One day when he was talking with his adviser, they announced the arrival of Schiller-Lufkin who had come on a mission from the South Land.
"One of Morton-Campbell's devices," said Orchard-Lafayette smiling, "and it is all on account of this region. I will just retire behind the screen and listen. But you, my lord, agree to whatever the messenger proposes. Then let the messenger be taken to the guest-house while we arrange what is to be done."
So the envoy was introduced. Bows having been exchanged, host and guest being seated in due order and the tea drunk; Jeffery-Lewis opened the interview.
"You must have some commands for me, Sir, since you come thus."
"News has just been received that you, O Imperial Uncle, have just been bereaved of your consort. I venture to hope you would not object to an advantageous match, and I have come to propose one. Are you disposed to listen?"
"To lose one's wife in middle age is truly a great misfortune," said Jeffery-Lewis. "While her body is still warm, I cannot listen to proposals for another marriage."
Schiller-Lufkin said, "A man without a wife is like a house without a ridge pole. At your age, one should not live an incomplete life. I am come on the part of Marquis Raleigh-Estrada, who has a sister, beautiful as she is, accomplished and well fitted to be a mate for you. Should the two families become allied as formerly were Qin and Jin, then that ruffian Murphy-Shackley would never dare so much as look this way. Such an alliance would be to the benefit of both our houses and of the state. I hope, O Imperial Uncle, that you will fairly consider the proposal. However, since the young girl's mother is dotingly fond of her, the mother does not wish her to go far away, and so I must ask you to come into our country for the wedding."
"Does the Marquis know of your coming?"
"How dare I come without his knowledge?"
"I am no longer young," said Jeffery-Lewis. "I am fifty and grizzled. This fair damsel, the sister of the Marquis, is now in the flower of her youth and no mate for me."
"Although the damsel is a woman, yet in mind she surpasses many a man, and she has said she will never wed any one who is unknown to fame. Now, Sir, you are renowned throughout the four seas. Marriage with you would be the chaste maiden mating with the born gentleman. Of what consequence is the difference in age?"
"Sir, stay here awhile and I will give you a reply tomorrow," said Jeffery-Lewis.
So that day the envoy was entertained at a banquet and then conducted to the guest-house to repose, while, late as it was, Jeffery-Lewis and Orchard-Lafayette discussed their plans.
"I knew what he had come about," said the adviser. "While he was talking, I consulted the oracle and obtained an excellent sign. Wherefore you may accept the proposal and send Quinn-Seymour back with this envoy to arrange the details. When the promise has been ratified, we will choose a day and you shall go to complete the ceremony."
"How can I thus go into enemy territory? Morton-Campbell has wanted to slay me for a long time."
"Let Morton-Campbell employ all his ruses; think you he can get beyond me? Let me act for you, and his calculations will always fail halfway. Once Raleigh-Estrada's sister is in your power, there will be no fear for Jinghamton."
Still Jeffery-Lewis doubted in his mind. However, Quinn-Seymour was sent to the South Land, with definite instructions, and traveled thither with Schiller-Lufkin.
At the interview Raleigh-Estrada said, "I wish my sister could induce Jeffery-Lewis to live here with us. He would come to no harm."
Quinn-Seymour took his leave; and returning to Jinghamton, he told the bridegroom elect, saying, "Raleigh-Estrada's sole desire is for our lord to go over and complete the marriage."
However, Jeffery-Lewis feared and would not go.
Orchard-Lafayette said, "I have prepared three plans, but I need Gilbert-Rocher to carry them out. He will be sent as your guard."
So Orchard-Lafayette called in Gilbert-Rocher, gave him three silken bags, and whispered in his ear, saying, "Here are three schemes enclosed in three bags. When you escort our lord to the South Land, you will take these with you and act as they direct."
Gilbert-Rocher hid the three silken bags in his breast so that they should be at hand when required.
Orchard-Lafayette next sent the wedding gifts, and when these had been received, the preliminaries were settled.
It was then the early winter of the fourteenth year of Rebuilt Tranquillity (AD 209); and the bridegroom elect, his escort, and the intermediary, left the city of Jinghamton with a fleet of ten fast ships to sail down the river to Nanxu-Southdale. Orchard-Lafayette remained to guard and rule the region.
But Jeffery-Lewis was far from feeling comfortable. They arrived and the ships were made fast. This done, the time had come for the first of the silken bags to be opened. And so it was; and thereupon Gilbert-Rocher gave each of his five hundred guards his instructions, and they went their several ways. Next Gilbert-Rocher told Jeffery-Lewis what he was to do: to pay his visit first to the State Patriarch Queen, who was the father-in-law of Cornell-Estrada and of Morton-Campbell.
The State Patriarch Queen resided in Nanxu-Southdale and to his house, leading sheep and bearing wine jars, went the bridegroom elect. Having made his obeisance, Jeffery-Lewis explained that as Schiller-Lufkin had arranged, he had come to marry a wife.
In the meantime the five hundred guards, all in gala dress, had scattered over the city place buying all sorts of things, as they said, for the wedding of Jeffery-Lewis with the daughter of the Estrada House. They spread the news far and wide and the whole town talked about it.
When Raleigh-Estrada heard of Jeffery-Lewis' arrival, he bade Schiller-Lufkin wait upon him and take him to the guest-house. Meanwhile the State Patriarch Queen went to the Dowager Marchioness, mother of Raleigh-Estrada, to congratulate her on the happy event.
"What happy event?" ejaculated the old lady.
"The betrothal of your beloved daughter to Jeffery-Lewis. And he has arrived too, as surely you know."
"My poor old self does not know;" said the Dowager, "I have heard nothing of all this."
She at once summoned her son and also sent her servants out into the town to see what was going about. They quickly returned to say: "The whole city know of the coming wedding, and the bridegroom is now at the guest-house. Moreover, he has come with a large escort, and they are spending freely, buying pork and mutton and fruits, all in readiness for the wedding feasting. Schiller-Lufkin and Quinn-Seymour are the intermediaries on each side, and they are in the guest-house too."
The Dowager Marchioness was terribly taken aback and upset so that, when Raleigh-Estrada arrived, he found his mother beating her breast and weeping bitterly.
"What has disturbed you, Mother?" asked he.
"What you have just done," said she. "You have treated me as a nonentity. When my elder sister lay dying, what did she tell you?"
Raleigh-Estrada began to be frightened, but he said boldly, "Please speak out plainly, Mother; what is this great sorrow?"
"When a son is grown he takes a wife, and when a girl is old enough she goes to her husband. And that is right and proper. But I am the mother, and you ought to have told me that your sister was to become the wife of Jeffery-Lewis. Why did you keep me in the dark? It was my place to promise her in marriage."
"Whence comes this story?" said the Marquis, really much frightened.
"Do you pretend ignorance? There is not a soul in the city who does not know! But you have succeeded in keeping me in the dark."
"I heard it several days ago," said the State Patriarch Queen. "And I came just now to offer my felicitations."
"There is no such thing," said Raleigh-Estrada. "It is just one of the ruses of Morton-Campbell to get hold of Jinghamton. He has used this means to inveigle Jeffery-Lewis here and hold him captive till Jinghamton is restored to us. And if they will not give it back, then Jeffery-Lewis will be put to death. That is the plot. There is no real marriage."
But the Dowager was in a rage and vented her wrath in abusing Morton-Campbell.
She said, "Morton-Campbell is a pretty sort of governor over the six territories and eighty-one counties if he cannot find any means of recovering one region except making use of my child as a decoy. Truly this is a fine deed, to spoil the whole of my child's life and condemn her to perpetual widowhood, because he wants to use the fair damsel ruse to slay a man! Who will ever come to talk of marriage with her after this?"
Said the State Patriarch Queen, "By this means you may indeed recover Jinghamton, but you will be a shameful laughing stock to all the world. What can be done?"
Raleigh-Estrada had nothing to say; he could only hang his head, while the Dowager abused his general.
The State Patriarch Queen tried to soothe her, saying, "After all Jeffery-Lewis, the Imperial Uncle, is a scion of the reigning family. You can do nothing better now than to welcome him as a son-in-law and not let this ugly story get abroad."
"I am afraid their ages do not match," interposed Raleigh-Estrada.
"Jeffery-Lewis is a very famous man," said the State Patriarch Queen. "There can be no shame in having such a son-in-law."
"I have never seen him," said the Dowager. "Arrange that I may get a look at him tomorrow at the Sweet Dew Temple. If he displeases me, you may work your will on him. But if I am satisfied with him, then I shall simply let the girl marry him."
Now Raleigh-Estrada was above all things filial and at once agreed to what his mother said. He went out, called in Schiller-Lufkin, and told him to arrange a banquet for the morrow at the temple so that the Dowager Marchioness might see the bridegroom.
"Why not order Swenson-Manley to station some men in the wings of the temple? Then if the Dowager be not pleased, we can call them out and fall upon him," said Schiller-Lufkin.
Accordingly the ambush was prepared and five hundred ruffians posted to act as the Dowager's attitude might determine.
When the State Patriarch Queen took his leave and had reached his house, he sent to tell Jeffery-Lewis, saying, "Tomorrow the Marquis and the Dowager Marchioness wished to see you. So be careful!"
Jeffery-Lewis and his faithful henchman discussed their plans.
Gilbert-Rocher said, "The morrow bodes rather ill than well. However, your escort shall be there."
Next day the Dowager Marchioness and the State Patriarch Queen went to the Temple of Sweet Dew as had been arranged. Raleigh-Estrada came with a number of his strategists; and when all were assembled, Schiller-Lufkin was sent to the guest-house to request Jeffery-Lewis to come. He obeyed the summons, but as a precaution he put on a light coat of mail under his brocaded robe. His followers too took their swords upon their backs and followed close. He mounted his steed, and the cavalcade set out for the temple. At the door of the temple he met Raleigh-Estrada on whom the visitor's brave demeanor was not lost. After they had exchanged salutations, Raleigh-Estrada led Jeffery-Lewis into the presence of his mother.
"Just the son-in-law for me!" said the Dowager delighted with the appearance of Jeffery-Lewis.
"He has the air of an emperor and a look like the sun," remarked the State Patriarch Queen. "When one remembers also that his fair fame has spread over the whole earth, you may well be congratulated on getting such a noble son-in-law."
Jeffery-Lewis bowed, in acknowledgment of his reception. Soon after they were all seated at the banquet in the temple, Gilbert-Rocher entered and took his place beside Jeffery-Lewis.
"Who is this?" asked the Dowager.
"This is Gilbert-Rocher of Changshan-Piedmont."
"Then he must be the hero of Dangyang-Willowbrook, who saved the little Antoine-Lewis."
"Yes; this is he," replied Jeffery-Lewis.
"A fine general!" said the Dowager, and she gave him wine.
Presently Gilbert-Rocher said to his master, "I have seen a lot of armed ruffians hidden away in the purlieus of the temple. They can be there for no good, and you should ask the Dowager to get them sent away."
Thereupon Jeffery-Lewis knelt at the feet of the Dowager and, weeping, said, "If you would slay me, let it be here."
"Why do you say this?" asked she.
"Because there are assassins in hiding in the wings of the temple; what are they there for if not to kill me?"
The Dowager wrathfully turned on Raleigh-Estrada, "What are armed men doing there today when Jeffery-Lewis is to become my son-in-law and the pair are my son and daughter?"
Raleigh-Estrada said he did not know and sent Schiller-Lufkin to inquire. Schiller-Lufkin put the blame on Swenson-Manley. The Dowager summoned him and upbraided him severely. He had nothing to say, and she told them to put him to death.
But Jeffery-Lewis interceded, saying, "The general's death will do me harm and make it hard for me to stay at your side."
The State Patriarch Queen also interceded, and she only ordered the general out of her presence. His subordinates also scattered and ran like frightened rats.
By and bye, strolling out of the banquet room into the temple grounds, Jeffery-Lewis came to a boulder. Drawing his sword he looked up to heaven and prayed, saying, "If I am to return to Jinghamton and achieve my intent to become a chief ruler, then may I cleave this boulder asunder with my sword; but if I am to meet my doom in this place, then may the sword fail to cut this stone."
Raising his sword he smote the boulder. Sparks flew in all directions, and the boulder lay split in twain.
It happened that Raleigh-Estrada had seen the blow, and he said, "Why do you thus hate that stone?"
Jeffery-Lewis replied, "I am near my fifth decade and have so far failed to rid the state of evil; I greatly regret my failure. Now I have been accepted by the Dowager as her son-in-law, and this is a critical moment in my life. So I implored of Heaven a portent that I might destroy Murphy-Shackley as I would that boulder and restore the dynasty. You saw what happened."
"That is only to blind me," thought Raleigh-Estrada. Drawing his own sword, he said, "And I also ask of Heaven an omen, that if I am to destroy Murphy-Shackley, I may also cut this rock."
So he spoke. But in his secret heart he prayed, "If I am to recover Jinghamton and extend my borders, may the stone be cut in twain."
He smote the stone and it split in twain. And to this day there are cross cuts in the stone, which is still preserved.
One who saw this relic wrote a poem:
The shining blades fell and the rock was shorn through,
The metal rang clear and the sparks widely flew.
Thus fate then declared for the dynasties two
And the tripartite rule there began.
Both put up their swords and returned hand in hand to the banquet hall. After some more courses, Quinn-Seymour gave his master a warning look, and Jeffery-Lewis said, "I pray you excuse me as my drinking powers are very small."
Wherefore Raleigh-Estrada escorted him to the gate. As they walked down looking at high land and rolling river spreading in glorious panorama before their eyes, Jeffery-Lewis exclaimed, "Really this is the finest scene in the whole world! "
These words are recorded on a tablet in the Temple of the Sweet Dew, and one who read them wrote a poem:
From the river-side hills the rain clears off,
And the black clouds roll away,
And this is the place of joy and mirth
And never can sorrow stay.
And here two heroes of ages past
Decided their parts to play,
And the lofty heights flung back wind and wave
Then, as they do today.
Yes, they stood both entranced by the beautiful scene. And gradually along the vast river the wind whipped the waves into snowy foam and raised them high toward heaven. And in the midst of the waves appeared a tiny leaf of a boat riding over the waves as if all was perfect calm.
"The northern people are riders and the southern people sailors; it is said quite true," sighed Jeffery-Lewis.
Raleigh-Estrada hearing this remark took it as a reproach to his horsemanship. Bidding his servants lead up his steed, Raleigh-Estrada leaped into the saddle and set off, full gallop, down the hill. Then wheeling he came up again at the same speed.
"So the southerners cannot ride, eh?" said Raleigh-Estrada laughing.
Not to be outdone, Jeffery-Lewis lifted the skirts of his robe, jumped upon his horse and repeated the feat.
The two steeds stood side by side on the declivity, the riders flourishing their whips and laughing.
Thence forward that hillside was known as the "Slope Where the Horses Stood," and a poem was written about it:
Their galloping steeds were of noble breed,
And both of spirit high,
And the riders twain from the hill-crest gazed
At the river rolling by.
One of them mastered the western mountains.
One ruled by the eastern sea;
And the hill to this very day
Still is the Slope Where the Horses Stood.
When they rode side by side into Nanxu-Southdale, the people met them with acclamations. Jeffery-Lewis made his way to the guest-house and there sought advice from Quinn-Seymour as to the date of the wedding.
Quinn-Seymour advised, "It should be fixed as early as possible so that no further complications could arise."
So next day Jeffery-Lewis went to the State Patriarch Queen and told him in plain words, "Many the people of the place mean harm to me, and I cannot stay here long. I must return soon."
"Do not be anxious," said the State Patriarch Queen. "I will tell the Dowager Marchioness, and she will protect you."
Jeffery-Lewis bowed to express his thanks.
The State Patriarch Queen saw the Dowager, and she was very angry when she heard the reason for Jeffery-Lewis' desire to leave.
"Who would dare harm my son-in-law?" cried she.
But she made Jeffery-Lewis move into the library of the Palace as a precaution, and she chose a day for the celebration of the wedding. But his soldiers could not keep guard at the library and were removed from his commands. Jeffery-Lewis explained to his hostess, and when she understood this, she gave her son-in-law and his people rooms in her own Palace so that he might be quite safe.
Jeffery-Lewis was very happy, and there were fine banquets, and the bride and bridegroom duly plighted their troth. And when it grew late and the guests had gone, the newly wedded pair walked through the two lines of red torches to the nuptial apartment.
To his extreme surprise, Jeffery-Lewis found the chambers furnished with spears and swords and banners and flags, while every waiting-maid had girded on a sword.
Walls hung with spears the bridegroom saw,
And armed waiting-maids;
His heart fell back on all its fears
Of well-laid ambuscades.
What happened will be related in the next chapter.
Jeffery-Lewis Rouses The Spirit Of Lady Estrada; Orchard-Lafayette A Second Time Angers Morton-Campbell.
The bridegroom turned pale: bridal apartments lined with weapons of war and waiting maids armed! But the housekeeper of the princess said, "Do not be frightened, O Honorable One. My lady has always had a taste for warlike things, and her maids have all been taught fencing as a pastime. That is all it is."
"Not the sort of thing a wife should ever look at," said Jeffery-Lewis. "It makes me feel cold and you may have them removed for a time."
The housekeeper went to her mistress and said, "The weapons in your chamber displease the handsome one; may we remove them?"
Lady Estrada laughed, saying, "Afraid of a few weapons after half a life time spent in slaughter!"
But she ordered their removal and bade the maids take off their swords while they were at work.
That night Jeffery-Lewis and his wife conversed under the moonlight, and the night passed happily enough.
Next day Jeffery-Lewis distributed gifts among the maids to secure their good will. He also sent Quinn-Seymour to Jinghamton with news of the wedding, while he gave himself up to feasting and enjoyment. The Dowager loved him more every day.
The results of the plot to destroy Jeffery-Lewis were thus very different from the originators' intention. Raleigh-Estrada sent to his general:
"My mother had insisted upon marrying her daughter to Jeffery-Lewis; and so by juggling with the fictitious, we had made it real. What is to be done?"
The news troubled Morton-Campbell day and night, but eventually he thought but another scheme which he embodied in a letter sent to his master. Here is the outline of the missive:
"Contrary to expectation, the plot that I, Morton-Campbell, contrived has turned the wrong way. However, since by juggling with deceit, we have ended in a solid truth; our future plans must start from the actual present facts. To the boldness of the adventurer Jeffery-Lewis is added the aid of such great leaders as Yale-Perez, Floyd-Chardin, and Gilbert-Rocher, not to mention that he has a strategist like Orchard-Lafayette. He is not the man to remain long in a lowly position. Wherefore I can think of no better plan than to enervate him by surrounding him with softness and keeping him in the South Land, a prisoner of luxury. Therefore build for him a fine palace to blunt the edge of his determination and surround him with sensuous luxury. In this way the affection of his brothers will be alienated, and Orchard-Lafayette will be driven away. When this result has been attained, we can smite him and so end a great matter. If we be at all careless, I fear the recumbent dragon may fly to the skies; it is no beast to be kept in a pond. My lord, I pray you consider this thoroughly."
The letter was shown to Tipton-Ulrich who said, "My idea is identical with his. Jeffery-Lewis began life in a humble position and for years has been a wanderer. He has never tasted the delights of wealth. Give him the means of luxury, a beautiful dwelling, fair women, gold and silken attire; and as he enjoys them, the thoughts of Orchard-Lafayette and his brothers will fade away and they, on their side, will be filled with rancor. Thus can we lay our plans for recovering Jinghamton. I recommend action as Morton-Campbell says and quickly."
Raleigh-Estrada then set about redecorating the Eastern Palace and laying out the grounds. He filled the rooms with beautiful furniture for his sister and her husband. He also sent fair damsels and musicians by the score, and many and beautiful vessels in gold and silver, and silken stuffs. And his mother was delighted at his kindness to her son-in-law.
Indeed Jeffery-Lewis was soon so immersed in sensuous pleasure that he gave no thought to return. Gilbert-Rocher and the company under him led an idle life in the front portion of the Eastern Palace, save that at times they went outside the city for archery and horse-racing. And thus passed the year.
Suddenly Gilbert-Rocher remembered the orders he had received and the three bags with the plans in them. It was time to open the second one for the end of the year was nigh. His orders were only to open the third when danger was very near and there appeared no way out.
As already remarked, the year was drawing to a close, and Gilbert-Rocher saw his lord daily becoming more and more the slave of pleasure. Jeffery-Lewis never appeared among his guards now. So the bag was opened and in pursuance of the wonderful scheme thereby discovered, Gilbert-Rocher went to the hall of the Palace and asked to see his master.
The maid in attendance went within and said, "Gilbert-Rocher has some important matter on which to see the master."
Jeffery-Lewis called him in and asked what the business was. Gilbert-Rocher assumed an attitude of great concern and said, "My lord, you are living happily secluded in these beautiful apartments; do you never think of Jinghamton?"
"But what is the matter that you seem so disturbed?" asked Jeffery-Lewis.
"Today early Orchard-Lafayette sent a messenger to say that Murphy-Shackley was trying to avenge his last defeat and was leading five hundred thousand troops to attack Jinghamton, which was in great danger. And he wished you to return."
"I must speak to my wife," said Jeffery-Lewis.
"If you consult her, she will be unwilling for you to return. It would be better to say nothing but to start this evening. Delay may do great damage."
"Retire for a time; I must act discreetly," said Jeffery-Lewis.
Gilbert-Rocher urged the need to return several times more, but finally went away.
Jeffery-Lewis went into his wife's rooms and began to weep silently. Seeing his tears, Lady Estrada said, "Why are you so sad, my husband?"
Jeffery-Lewis replied, "I have been driven hither and thither all my life. I was never able to do my duty to my parents nor have I been able to sacrifice to my ancestors. I have been very unfilial. The new year is at hand, and its approach disquiets me greatly."
"Do not try to deceive me," said Lady Estrada. "I heard and I know all. Just now Gilbert-Rocher came to tell you Jinghamton was threatened and you wish to return home. That is why you put forward this excuse."
Then Jeffery-Lewis fell on his knees and said, "Why should I dissemble, O Wife, since you know? I do not wish to go, but if Jinghamton be lost, I shall be an object of ridicule to everyone. I do desire to go, but I cannot leave you. Now you know why I am grieved."
She replied, "I am your handmaid, and whithersoever you go, it is my duty to follow."
"Yes; your heart is right, but the difficulty is your mother and the Marquis; they will be unwilling. If you would have pity on me and let me go for a time--"
And again the tears gushed forth.
"Do not be so sad, my husband," said Lady Estrada. "I will implore my mother to let us go, and she will surely allow it."
"Even supposing the Dowager permits, I am sure the Marquis will hinder."
Lady Estrada said nothing for a long time while she weighed the matter thoroughly.
Presently she spoke, "On New Year's Day you and I will go to court and present our congratulations. Then we will give the excuse of a sacrifice on the river bank and go away without formal leave. Will that suit you?"
Jeffery-Lewis knelt at her feet and expressed his gratitude.
"I should be never so grateful," said he. "Dead or alive I would remember your love. But this must be a perfect secret."
This having been decided and the arrangements made; Jeffery-Lewis gave Gilbert-Rocher secret orders, saying, "Lead your company out of the city and be on the road on New Year's morn. We are going away."
Raleigh-Estrada held a grand court on the New Year's Day of the fifteenth year of Rebuilt Tranquillity (AD 210).
Jeffery-Lewis and his bride went into the Dowager Marchioness' presence, and Lady Estrada said, "My husband has been thinking of his ancestors, who lie in the county of Zhuo-Bellevue, and grieves that he cannot do his duty by them. Today we wish to go to the river side and offer sacrifice toward the north. It is our duty to inform you."
"A very filial proceeding," said the Dowager. "I should not think of stopping you. Although you have never known your husband's parents, yet you may go with him to sacrifice as it is proper for a wife to do."
Both thanked the Dowager Marchioness and went out, rejoicing at having so far hoodwinked Raleigh-Estrada. Lady Estrada got into her carriage taking only a little clothing with her, while Jeffery-Lewis followed with a small escort. They went out of the city of Nanxu-Southdale and met Gilbert-Rocher at the place arranged. Then with a guard in front and rear, they left the precincts of the city, traveling as quickly as they could.
That day, at the new year banquet, Raleigh-Estrada drank freely so that he had to be helped to his chamber, and the guests left. Before very long the escape of the fugitives became known, but it was then dark, and when they tried to tell Raleigh-Estrada, they could not rouse him. He slept heavily until the fifth watch.
The next morning, when Raleigh-Estrada heard the story, he asked advice of his counselors.
Tipton-Ulrich said, "They have got away today, but trouble will surely come of it; therefore, pursue after them without loss of time."
So Agnew-Stanton and Mayhew-Evanoff, with five hundred of veterans, were sent out with orders to use all speed both by day and by night and bring back the fugitives.
They left. Raleigh-Estrada's anger burned hot against Jeffery-Lewis. In his wrath he seized his jade inkstone and dashed it to the ground where it shivered to pieces.
Said Terry-Chadwick, "My lord, your wrath is in vain, for I do not think your generals will catch the runaways."
"Will they dare to disobey my order?" said Raleigh-Estrada.
"Our young lady had always delighted to look upon war and is very fierce and determined. All the officers fear her. Now she has gone with her husband of her own free will; and those sent in pursuit, if once they look upon her countenance, will not dare to lay hands on her."
Raleigh-Estrada's wrath burned the more fiercely at these words. He drew the sword girded at his side and called up Montague-Bushell and Lockett-Neumark, saying, "You two take this sword and bring back the heads of my sister and Jeffery-Lewis. And if you do not, I will put you to death."
With this order they set out in pursuit, leading a whole thousand troops. Meanwhile Jeffery-Lewis and his wife were pressing forward with all speed. When night fell, they rested for a time by the roadside, but not for long. Just as they reached the confines of Chaisang-Wellington, they turned and saw a great cloud of dust and the soldiers said that a force was coming in pursuit.
"What shall we do if they come up with us?" said Jeffery-Lewis excitedly to Gilbert-Rocher.
"My lord, you go on in front and I will prevent pursuit."
As they turned the foot of a hill, they saw a troop of soldiers blocking their road in front. Two generals were there and they bellowed, "Jeffery-Lewis, dismount and yield yourself captive. We are here by order of Commander Morton-Campbell, and you have kept us waiting long."
Now the thought had come to Morton-Campbell that Jeffery-Lewis would try to flee, and so he had sent Hersey-Gibbard and Crosby-Saldana, with three thousand troops, to intercept him at this critical spot. They had made a camp there and kept a lookout from the hilltops, for Morton-Campbell had calculated that Jeffery-Lewis would certainly pass that way. So when Jeffery-Lewis and his cavalcade appeared, they all buckled on their arms and barred the way.
Greatly fearing, Jeffery-Lewis rode back to consult Gilbert-Rocher, to whom he said, "In front a force barring the road; in rear pursuers. There is no escape. What can we do?"
"Do not be alarmed, my lord. The Directing Instructor gave me three plans enclosed in three silken bags. Two have been used and have answered admirably. There is yet the third, and my orders were to open the bag in such a strait as this. This is a day of great danger such as calls me to open the bag."
Thereupon Gilbert-Rocher opened the bag and handed it to Jeffery-Lewis. As soon as Jeffery-Lewis had seen the contents, he hastened to Lady Estrada's carriage and began to weep, saying, "I have something private to say, and I must tell you."
"What have you to tell me, my husband? Tell me the whole truth," replied she.
"Your brother and Morton-Campbell formerly made a plot for you to marry me, not for your sake, but to get me into their power and hold me so that they might recover Jinghamton. They were set on my murder, and you were the bait with which to hook me. Careless of consequences I came, for I knew that the spirit of a heroine dwelt in your bosom and you would pity me. Lately I heard that harm was intended me, and so I made danger to Jinghamton the excuse to escape. Happily for me you have remained true and come with me. But now the Marquis is pursuing us, and Morton-Campbell's soldiers are in front. Only you, my wife, can extricate us from this danger; and if you refuse, then slay me where I stand that I may thus show my gratitude for your kindness."
Lady Estrada grew angry and said, "Then does my brother forget that I am his sister? How will he ever look me in the face? I can extricate us from this danger."
Thereupon she bade her people push the carriage to the front. She rolled up the curtains and herself called out, "Hersey-Gibbard, Crosby-Saldana, are you turned traitors then?"
The two generals slid out of their saddles, dropped their arms, and stood meekly in front of the carriage.
"We are no traitors," said they. "We have the Commander-in-Chief's orders to camp here and await Jeffery-Lewis."
"Morton-Campbell is an interfering scoundrel," cried she. "We of the land of the south have never harmed you, and Jeffery-Lewis, the Uncle of the Great Family, is my husband. I have already told my mother and my brother of our journey, and now I find you with an army at the foot of these hills preventing our passage. Is it that you would plunder us of our valuables?"
The two generals mumbled dissent; they would not dare such a thing.
"We pray you, O Lady, stay your anger. This is no plan of ours; we do but obey our General's orders."
"So you fear Morton-Campbell and not me!" cried she scornfully. "Think you that if he slays you, I will not slay him?"
She broke into a torrent of abuse of Morton-Campbell. Then she bade them push her carriage forward.
The two leaders thought within themselves, "We are but men of lowly rank, we dare not dispute with Lady Estrada."
Beside they saw Gilbert-Rocher was bursting with wrath. So they ordered their troops to stand aside and leave the road clear.
The cavalcade had only gone a few miles when up came the pursuers. The two generals told the new-comers what had happened.
"You were wrong to let them pass," said Agnew-Stanton and Mayhew-Evanoff. "We have orders from the Marquis himself to arrest them."
Thereupon all four went in pursuit. When the noise of the approaching force reached the ears of Jeffery-Lewis, he said to his wife, "They are again pursuing us; what now?"
"Husband, go on in front. Gilbert-Rocher and I will keep them off."
So Jeffery-Lewis and a small company went on toward the river bank, while Gilbert-Rocher reined up beside the lady's carriage and set out his troops ready for battle. And when the four generals came up, they dismounted and stood with folded arms.
"What are you doing here, Generals?" asked Lady Estrada.
"We have orders from our lord to request you and Jeffery-Lewis to return."
Calmly but bitterly she said, "So this is the sort of fools you are! You would make dissension between brother and sister. But I am a wife on my way to my husband's home. Nor am I leaving clandestinely, for I had my mother's gracious permission. Now we, husband and wife, are going to Jinghamton; and if even my brother were here himself, he would let us pass in all politeness. But you, because you have weapons in your hands, would slay us!"
She abused the four men to their faces so that they looked from one to another in shame. And each in his heart thought, "Say what one will, after all they two are brother and sister and the Dowager Marchioness is the controlling power. Raleigh-Estrada is most obedient and would never dare oppose his mother's decision. When the reaction comes, then indeed we shall certainly be found in the wrong. We would better be kind."
Another thing was that one of the two they sought, Jeffery-Lewis, was not there and Gilbert-Rocher looked angry and dangerous. Finally, muttering to themselves, they gave way and with one accord retired and left the road open. Lady Estrada passed through.
"We four will go to see the Commander-in-Chief and report," said Hersey-Gibbard.
But that did not please them all and they stood irresolute. Presently they saw a column of troops sweeping down on them like a hurricane. These were Montague-Bushell and Lockett-Neumark with their company.
"Have you fellows seen Jeffery-Lewis?" they cried as they rushed up.
"He has just passed along."
"Why did you not arrest him?"
"Because of what Lady Estrada said."
"That is just as the Marquis feared, and so he gave us this sword and told us first to slay his sister and then Jeffery-Lewis. And if we disobey, he will put us to death."
"What can be done? They are far away by now."
Montague-Bushell said, "After all they are but a few and on foot; they cannot travel very fast. Let Hersey-Gibbard and Crosby-Saldana go to Morton-Campbell to tell him, and he can send fast boats to pursue them on the river while we follow up on the bank. We must get them either on water or land, and we must not listen to what they say."
Whereupon two went back to report and four to the river bank. Meanwhile Jeffery-Lewis had got a long way from Chaisang-Wellington and reached Butterfly Shore. He now felt calmer. He went along the bank of the river seeking a boat, but there was no craft on the broad bosom of the stream. He bowed his head in deep sorrow.
Gilbert-Rocher bade him be of good courage, saying, "My lord, you have just escaped from the tiger's jaws and had not far to go. Moreover, I suspect Orchard-Lafayette has something prepared for us."
But his master was despondent. His thoughts were back to the pleasures he had enjoyed but a few hours since in the house of his wife, and the tears rolled down his cheeks. A poem has been written on this episode:
By the bank of the deep flowing Great River
Once was a wedding,
And the ruling houses of two states yet to be
Were allied by marriage.
See the beautiful maiden stepping slowly
To the golden bridal chamber!
Yet was the marriage but a ruse.
Its author vainly imagined that a hero,
Sinking in amorous toils,
Would forget his high intent.
Jeffery-Lewis bade Gilbert-Rocher go along the bank to seek some boats. Then the soldiers told him there was a huge cloud of dust on the road. Ascending one of the hills, he looked back whence they had come and saw the whole earth as it were covered with an advancing host. He sighed and said, "We have fled before them now for days, worn out our soldiers and jaded our horses, and all to die in a strange place."
He watched the enemy coming nearer and nearer. Then as things began to look most desperate, he saw a line of some twenty boats all in the act of setting their sails.
"By good luck here are some ships," said Gilbert-Rocher. "Let us get on board, row to the further bank, and see what can be done."
Jeffery-Lewis and his bride hastened down the bank and went into a ship. The soldiers were embarked. Then they saw in the hold of the ship some one in Taoist dress, who came up with a smile, saying, "My lord, again you see Orchard-Lafayette. He has waited a long time."
All the soldiers on board were from Jinghamton, and Jeffery-Lewis rejoiced at the sudden happy turn of affairs.
Before long the four pursuer leaders reached the bank. Orchard-Lafayette pointed to them and laughed, saying, "I foresaw this a long time ago. You may return and tell Morton-Campbell not to use the 'Fair Damsel Trick' again."
Those on the bank sent a flight of arrows at the ships, but they were already too far away. The four generals on the bank looked very foolish.
As the boats were sailing along, a great noise was heard on the river behind them, and there appeared a huge fleet of war ships, sailing under the flag of Morton-Campbell. He also was there in command of the fleet, and he was supported by Looby-Hurtado and Ferrara-Hanson. They seemed like a drove of horses and came along swift as a falling star. They gained on the fugitives rapidly.
Orchard-Lafayette ordered the boats to row over to the north bank, and the party landed. They had started off away from the shore before Morton-Campbell could land. Morton-Campbell's marines, except the leaders, were all afoot, but they kept up the pursuit, following as quickly as they could. Morton-Campbell led the pursuit, closely followed by Looby-Hurtado, Ferrara-Hanson, Hersey-Gibbard, and Crosby-Saldana.
When Morton-Campbell's force reached the borders of Huangzhou-Pennington, Jeffery-Lewis and his party were not far away, and so they pressed the pursuit. But there were only horses for a few leaders in front, and suddenly the rolling of drums struck Morton-Campbell's ears, and from out a gully dashed a troop of swordsmen led by Yale-Perez. Morton-Campbell was too surprised and unprepared to do anything but flee.
Morton-Campbell fled for his life and Yale-Perez pursued. At different points Jeffery-Lewis' generals, Sheffield-Maddox and Oakley-Dobbins, came out and attacked, so that the troops of the South Land suffered a great defeat and Morton-Campbell barely escaped. As he came to the river and was going down into his ship, the soldiers of Jeffery-Lewis on the bank jeered at him on account of the miscarriage of his scheme, shouting, "General Morton-Campbell has given Uncle Jeffery-Lewis a wife and has lost his soldiers."
Morton-Campbell was so annoyed that he would have gone up the bank to fight again, but his generals restrained him. He uttered, "My schemes are a failure and a defeat, and how can I face my master again?"
All at once he cried aloud and fell back in a swoon. His wound had reopened. The generals came to his help, but it was long before he recovered consciousness.
Twice had he played his trick
And twice had he lost the game;
His heart was full of resentment,
He was overwhelmed with shame.
The fate of Morton-Campbell will appear in the next chapter.
Murphy-Shackley Feasts In The Bronze Bird Tower; Orchard-Lafayette Provokes Morton-Campbell A Third Time.
The ambuscade into which Morton-Campbell had fallen had been prepared by the orders of Orchard-Lafayette and was triple. However, Looby-Hurtado and Ferrara-Hanson contrived to get clear and found refuge in the ships, though with the loss of many troops. When Morton-Campbell was in safety and looked about him, he saw Jeffery-Lewis and Lady Estrada safely resting on a hilltop. How could such a sight fail to put him in a rage? And with the access of rage, his wound, not yet healed, burst open once again. He swooned and fell. They raised him and his ship set sail. Orchard-Lafayette ordered no pursuit, the southern fleet departed undisturbed, and Jeffery-Lewis proceeded to Jinghamton City, where were great rejoicings in honor of his recent marriage.
Meanwhile Morton-Campbell had gone to Chaisang-Wellington while Montague-Bushell and those with him bore to Nanxu-Southdale the sad tidings to Raleigh-Estrada. He was angry beyond words and his first thought was to send an army under Terry-Chadwick to take Jinghamton. Morton-Campbell also wrote from his sick bed urging his lord to take vengeance. But Tipton-Ulrich knew better and said it could not be done.
Said he, "Murphy-Shackley has never forgotten his defeat at the Red Cliffs, but he dares not attempt to avenge himself while the Estrada family are friendly with Jeffery-Lewis. If in any moment of anger you two fall upon each other, Murphy-Shackley will certainly seize the opportunity and your position will be dangerous."
Riley-Reece supported Tipton-Ulrich, saying, "Beyond all doubt Murphy-Shackley has his spies here. As soon as he hears of any rift in the friendship between the Estrada and Lewis families, he will desire to come to an understanding with the latter, and Jeffery-Lewis, who fears your power, will accept his offer and take his side. Such an alliance will be a continual menace to the land south of the river. No; the plan for the occasion is to secure the friendship of Jeffery-Lewis by memorializing that he be made Imperial Protector of Jinghamton. This will make Murphy-Shackley afraid to send any army against the South Land. At the same time it will raise kindly feelings in the heart of Jeffery-Lewis and win his support. You will be able to find some one who will provoke a quarrel between Murphy-Shackley and Jeffery-Lewis and set them at each other, and that will be your opportunity. In this way you will succeed."
"These are good words," said Raleigh-Estrada, "but have I a messenger who can accomplish such a mission?"
"There is such a man, one whom Murphy-Shackley respects and loves."
"Who is he?"
"What prevents you from employing Condon-Guerrera? He is ready to hand."
Wherefore Condon-Guerrera was given letters and bidden go to the capital, Xuchang-Bellefonte, whither he proceeded at once and sought to see Murphy-Shackley. They told him that Murphy-Shackley and all his friends were at Yejun-Glendora, celebrating the completion of the Bronze Bird Tower. So thither he went.
Murphy-Shackley had indeed never forgotten his great defeat at the Red Cliffs and nourished schemes to avenge it, but he feared the combination of his two chief enemies, and that fear restrained him.
In the spring of the fifteenth year (AD 210) the great Tower was completed, and Murphy-Shackley invited a vast assembly to celebrate its inauguration with banquets and rejoicings. The feast was on the bank of River Sapphire. The Bronze Bird Terrace stood in the center, flanked by two others named the Terrace of the Jade Dragon and the Terrace of the Golden Phoenix. Each tower was a hundred spans high and two bridges connected them. Gold and jade vied with each other in the many apartments.
At the opening ceremony, Murphy-Shackley wore a golden headdress inlaid with jewels and a robe of green brocaded silk, girded with a belt of jade. On his feet were pearl-encrusted shoes. So clad he took his seat as host, while his officers, civil and military, were drawn up below the terrace.
For the military officers was arranged an archery competition, and one of his attendants brought forth a robe of red crimson Xichuan silk as a prize. This was suspended from one of the drooping branches of a willow tree, beneath which was the target. The distance was a hundred paces. The competitors were divided into two bands, those of Murphy-Shackley's own family being dressed in red and the others in green. They all had carved bows and long arrows and were mounted. They stood holding in their steeds till the signal should be given for the games to begin. Each was to shoot one arrow and the robe was the guerdon for hitting the target in the red; misses were to pay a forfeit of drinking a cup of cold water.
As soon as the signal was given, a red-robed youth rode quickly forth. He was Reuter-Shackley. Swiftly he galloped to and fro thrice. Then he adjusted the notch of his arrow to the string, pulled the bow to its full, and the arrow flew straight to the bull's eye.
The clang of the gongs and the roll of the drums announced the feat, which astonished them all. And Murphy-Shackley, as he sat on the terrace, was delighted.
"A very promising colt of my own," said he to those about him, and he sent a messenger for the red robe that the winner might receive it from his own hands.
But suddenly from the green side rode out one who cried, "It were more fitting to let outsiders compete for the Prime Minister's silken robe; it is not right that members of the family monopolize the contest."
Murphy-Shackley looked at the speaker, who was Haller-Morello. And some of the officers cried, "Let us see what his shooting is like!"
So Haller-Morello fitted an arrow to the string and fired also from horseback while galloping. To the surprise of the onlookers, he also made a bull's eye, which was honored by another salute from gongs and drums.
"Quickly bring me the robe," cried Haller-Morello.
But at once from the ranks of the red-robed another competitor dashed forward, shouting fiercely, "How can you win what has been already won? But let me show you how I can shoot an arrow that shall overcome both your shots."
He drew his bow to the full, and the arrow flew straight to the heart of the red. The surprised onlookers saw that this new competitor was McCarthy-Shackley, who now became also a claimant for the robe.
However, yet another archer came forth from the green-robed ranks, playing with his bow and crying, "What is there amazing in your shooting, you three? See how I can shoot."
This man was Castillo-Beauchamp. He put his horse to the gallop, then turned his back and, shooting backwards, also hit the center of the red.
Thus four arrows were now sticking in the bull's eye, and all agreed that it was marvelous archery.
"I think the robe should be mine," said Castillo-Beauchamp.
Before he could finish speaking, a fifth competitor came out from the red robes and shouted, "You shot backwards; but that is commonplace enough. Look while I shoot better than you all."
The speaker was Beller-Xenos. He galloped off to the very limit, and then bending his body over backwards he sent his arrow right in among the other four.
As the gongs and drums broke out, Beller-Xenos put aside his bow and rode up, saying, "Is not that a better shot than any of its predecessors?"
Then came out another from the greens who cried, "Leave the robe there for me, Draper-Caruso, to win."
"What can you do that is better than my shot?" said Beller-Xenos.
"That you hit the bull's eye is no great feat. You will see me win the silken robe after all."
So speaking, Draper-Caruso fitted an arrow to his bow. Then looking around, he aimed at the willow twig from which the robe hung down and shot thereat so true that his arrow cut it through, and the robe fluttered to the ground. At once Draper-Caruso dashed along, picked up the robe and slipped it on. Then riding swiftly to the terrace, he thanked the Prime Minister. No one present could withhold unstinted praise, and Draper-Caruso was turning to ride away when another green clad general leaped out, saying, "Where would you go with that robe? Quickly leave it for me!"
All eyes turned to this man who was Dietrich-Munoz.
Draper-Caruso cried, "The robe has already been adjudged to me; would you dare take it by forces"
Dietrich-Munoz made no reply but galloped up to snatch the robe. As Dietrich-Munoz's horse drew near, Draper-Caruso struck at his rival a blow with his bow. But Dietrich-Munoz seized the bow with one hand while with the other he simply lifted his opponent out of his seat. Wherefore Draper-Caruso let go the bow and the next moment lay sprawling on the ground. Dietrich-Munoz slipped out of the saddle too, and they began to pommel each other with their fists. Murphy-Shackley sent one to separate them; but in the struggle, the robe had been torn and soiled. Murphy-Shackley called the angry rivals before him; and they came, one darting fierce looks of hate, the other grinding his teeth with rage.
"Never mind the robe; I see only your magnificent courage," said Murphy-Shackley smiling. "What does a robe more or less matter?"
Whereupon Murphy-Shackley called the generals to him one by one, and to each he presented a robe of Xichuan silk. They thanked him for the generous gifts, and he then commanded them to take their seats in due order. Then to the strains of a band of music, wherein each performer vied with all the others, the naval and military officers took their places. Civil officers of repute and generals of renown drank one to another, and hearty felicitations were exchanged.
Murphy-Shackley looked around to those about him, saying, "Since the military officers have competed in mounted archery for our enjoyment and displayed their boldness and their skill, you, Gentlemen Scholars, stuffed full of learning as you are, can surely mount the terrace and present some complimentary odes to make the occasion a perfect success."
"We are most willing to obey your commands," they replied, all bowing low.
At that time there was a band of four scholars named Putnam-Colbert, Odom-Bixby, Sweeney-Padden, and Wilmot-Bradford, and each of them presented a poem. Every poem sang the praises of Murphy-Shackley's valuable services and great merits and said he was worthy to receive the highest trust of all.
When Murphy-Shackley had read them, he laughed, saying, "You gentlemen are really too flattering. As a fact I am but an ignoramus who began life with a simple bachelor's degree and recommendations for filial devotion. And when the troubles began, I built for myself a little cottage in the country near Qiao-Laurium, where I could study in spring and summer and spend the rest of the year in hunting till the empire was once more tranquil and I could emerge and take office.
"To my surprise, I was chosen for a small military office which changed my intentions, and I determined to repress the rebellion and so make a name for myself. I thought that I might win an inscription on my tomb to the effect that it covered the remains of the "Lord Murphy-Shackley Who Restores Order in the West." That would have been ample for a life's work. I recall now how I destroyed Wilson-Donahue and smote the Yellow Scarves; then I made away with Sheldon-Yonker and broke the power of Bullard-Lundmark; next I exterminated Shannon-Yonker; and at the death of Bambury-Lewis, I had subdued the whole empire.
"As a minister of state I have attained the topmost pinnacle of honor, and I have no more to hope for. Were it not for poor me, I know not how many there would be styling themselves emperors and dubbing themselves princes. Certain there be who, seeing my great authority, think I have some ulterior aim. But they are quite wrong. I ever bear in mind what Confucius said of King Weatherford of Zhou, that he was perfectly virtuous, and this saying is ever engraved on my mind . If I could, I would do away with my armies and retire to my fief with my simple title of Lord of Wuping-Fremont. Alas! I cannot. I am afraid to lay down my military powers lest I should come to harm. Should I be defeated, the state would totter; and so I may not risk real misfortune for the sake of an empty reputation for kindness. There be some of you who do not know my heart."
As he closed, they all rose and bowed their heads, saying, "None are your equals, O Prime Minister, not even Duke Cherney or the great Minister Hanlon-Baruch ."
A poem has been written referring to this:
Had Duke Cherney, the virtuous, died, while foul-mouthed slander
was spreading vile rumors;
Or Frederick-Gorman, the treacherous, while he was noted for the
deference paid to learned men;
None would have known their real characters.
After this oration Murphy-Shackley drank many cups of wine in quick succession till he became very intoxicated. He bade his servants bring him brush and inkstone that he might compose a poem.
But as he was beginning to write, they announced, "The Marquis of Wu has sent Condon-Guerrera as an envoy and presented a memorial to appoint Jeffery-Lewis Imperial Protector of Jinghamton. Raleigh-Estrada's sister is now Jeffery-Lewis' wife, while on the River Han, the greater part of the nine territories is under Jeffery-Lewis' rule."
Murphy-Shackley was seized with quaking fear at the news and threw the pen on the floor.
Hewitt-Gomez said to him, "O Prime Minister, you have been among fighting soldiers by myriads and in danger from stones and arrows many a time and never quailed. Now the news that Jeffery-Lewis has got possession of a small tract of country throws you into a panic. Why is it thus?"
Murphy-Shackley replied, "Jeffery-Lewis is a dragon among humans. All his life hitherto he has never found his element, but now that he has obtained Jinghamton; it is as if the dragon, once captive, had escaped to the mighty deep. There is good reason for me to quake with fear."
"Do you know the reason of the coming of Condon-Guerrera?" said Hewitt-Gomez.
"No; I know not," said the Prime Minister.
"Jeffery-Lewis is Raleigh-Estrada's one terror, and Raleigh-Estrada would attack Jeffery-Lewis were it not for you, O Prime Minister. Raleigh-Estrada feels you would fall upon him while he was smiting his enemy. Wherefore he has taken this means of calming Jeffery-Lewis' suspicions and fears and at the same time directing your enmity toward Jeffery-Lewis and from himself."
Murphy-Shackley nodded; "Yes," he said.
Hewitt-Gomez continued, "Now this is my plan to set Raleigh-Estrada and Jeffery-Lewis at one another and give you the opportunity to destroy both; it can be done easily."
"What is your plan?" asked Murphy-Shackley.
"The one prop of the South Land is Morton-Campbell; remove it by memorializing that Morton-Campbell be appointed Governor of Nanjun-Southport. Then get Terry-Chadwick made Governor of Jiangxia-Waterford, and cause the Emperor to retain this Condon-Guerrera in the capital to await some important post. Morton-Campbell will assuredly attack Jeffery-Lewis, and that will be our chance. Is not the scheme good?"
"Friend Hewitt-Gomez, you are a man after my own heart."
Wherefore Murphy-Shackley summoned the emissary from the South Land and overwhelmed him with gifts. That day was the last of the feastings and merry-makings; and Murphy-Shackley, with all the company, returned to the capital where he forthwith presented a memorial assigning Morton-Campbell and Terry-Chadwick to the governorships of Nanjun-Southport and Jiangxia-Waterford, and Condon-Guerrera was retained at the capital with a post of ministry.
The messenger bearing the commissions for their new offices went down to the South Land, and both Morton-Campbell and Terry-Chadwick accepted the appointments. Having taken over his command, the former thought all the more of the revenge he contemplated and, to bring matters to a head, he wrote to Raleigh-Estrada asking him to send Woolsey-Ramirez and renew the demand for the rendition of Jinghamton.
Wherefore Woolsey-Ramirez was summoned, and his master said to him, "You are the guarantor in the loan of Jinghamton to Jeffery-Lewis. He still delays to return it, and how long am I to wait?"
"The writing said plainly that the rendition would follow the occupation of Yiathamton."
Raleigh-Estrada shouted back, "Yes it said so. But so far they have not moved a soldier to the attack. I will not wait till old age has come to us all."
"I will go and inquire?" said Woolsey-Ramirez.
So he went down into a ship and sailed to Jinghamton.
Meanwhile Jeffery-Lewis and Orchard-Lafayette were at Jinghamton gathering in supplies from all sides, drilling their troops, and training their armies. From all quarters people of learning flocked to their side. In the midst of this they heard of Woolsey-Ramirez's coming, and Jeffery-Lewis asked Orchard-Lafayette what he thought.
Orchard-Lafayette replied, "Just lately Raleigh-Estrada concerned himself with getting you appointed Imperial Protector of Jinghamton; that was calculated to inspire Murphy-Shackley with fear. Murphy-Shackley obtained for Morton-Campbell the governorship of Nanjun-Southport; that was designed to stir up strife between our two houses and set us fighting so that he might accomplish his own ends. This visit of Woolsey-Ramirez means that Morton-Campbell, having taken over his new governorship, wishes to force us out of this place."
"Then how shall we reply?"
"If Woolsey-Ramirez introduces the subject, you will at once set up loud lamentations. When the sound of lamentation is at its height, I will appear and talk over your visitor."
Thus they planned, and Woolsey-Ramirez was duly received with all honor. When the salutations were over and host and guest were about to be seated, Woolsey-Ramirez said, "Sir, now that you are the husband of a daughter of Wu, you have become my lord, and I dare not sit in your presence."
Jeffery-Lewis laughed. "You are an old friend," said he. "Why this excessive humility?"
So Woolsey-Ramirez took his seat. And when tea had been served, the guest said, "I have come at the order of my master to discuss the subject of Jinghamton. You, O Imperial Uncle, have had the use of the place for a long time. Now that your two houses are allied by marriage, there should be the most friendly relations between you two, and you should hand it back to my master."
At this Jeffery-Lewis covered his face and began to cry.
"What is the matter?" asked the guest.
Jeffery-Lewis only wept the more bitterly.
Then Orchard-Lafayette came in from behind a screen, saying, "I have been listening. Do you know why my lord weeps so bitterly?"
"Really I know not."
"But it is easy to see. When my lord got the temporary occupation of Jinghamton, he gave the promise to return it when he had got the Western Land of Rivers. But reflect. Compton-Lewis of Yiathamton is my lord's younger brother, and both of them are blood relations of the ruling family. If my lord were to move an army to capture another region, he fears the blame of the ignorant. And if he yields this place before he has another, where could he rest? Yet, while he retains this place it seems to shame you. The thing is hard on both sides, and that is why he weeps so bitterly."
The close of Orchard-Lafayette's speech seemed to move Jeffery-Lewis to greater grief, for he beat his breast and stamped his feet and wept yet more bitterly.
Woolsey-Ramirez attempted to console him, saying, "Be not so distressed, O Uncle; let us hear what Orchard-Lafayette can propose."
Orchard-Lafayette said, "I would beg you to return to your master and tell him all. Tell him of this great trouble and entreat him to let us stay here a little longer."
"But suppose he refuses; what then?" said Woolsey-Ramirez.
"How can he refuse since he is related by marriage to my master?" said Orchard-Lafayette. "I shall expect to hear glad tidings through you."
Woolsey-Ramirez was really the first of generous people; and seeing Jeffery-Lewis in such distress, he could do no other than consent and say he would do so. Jeffery-Lewis and Orchard-Lafayette both thanked him most cordially, and after a banquet the emissary went down into his ship to return.
On the way Woolsey-Ramirez called in to see Morton-Campbell at Chaisang-Wellington and told him. But Morton-Campbell stamped his foot with rage and said, "My friend, you have been fooled again. Long ago when Jeffery-Lewis was dependent on Bambury-Lewis, he always cherished the intention to supplant him; think you that he really pities Compton-Lewis? This sort of evasive policy will certainly cause you much trouble. However, I have a scheme which I think Orchard-Lafayette will not be able to get the better of. Only you will have to make another journey."
"I should be pleased to hear your fine scheme," said Woolsey-Ramirez.
"Do not go to see our master. Return to Jinghamton and say to Jeffery-Lewis that since his family and the Estradas are related by marriage, they really form but one house, and since he has qualms about attacking the west, we will do it for him. Thus, the South Land will march an army under this pretext, but really go to Jinghamton, and we shall take him unprepared. The road to the west runs through his city, and we will call upon him for supplies. He will come out to thank the army, and we will assassinate him whereby we shall revenge ourselves and at the same time remove a source of future evil."
This seemed an excellent plan to Woolsey-Ramirez, and he returned at once to Jinghamton. Before receiving him, Jeffery-Lewis talked over the matter with his adviser.
Said Orchard-Lafayette, "Woolsey-Ramirez has not seen the Marquis of Wu, he has called in at Chaisang-Wellington, and he and Morton-Campbell have decided upon some scheme, which he is to talk you into accepting. However, let him talk; you, my lord, only watch me; and when I nod my head, then you agree to whatever he may propose."
Woolsey-Ramirez was then admitted and said, "The Marquis of Wu praises the noble virtue of the Imperial Uncle; and after consultation with his officers, he has determined to take the western country on the Imperial Uncle's behalf and, that done, Jinghamton can be exchanged for it without further delay. However, when the army marches through, it will be expected of you to contribute some necessary supplies."
Orchard-Lafayette here nodded his head rapidly, at the same time saying, "We could hardly have hoped for such kindness."
And Jeffery-Lewis saluted with joined hands and said, "This is due to your friendly efforts on our behalf."
"When the brave army arrives, we shall certainly come out to meet it and entertain the soldiers," said Orchard-Lafayette.
Woolsey-Ramirez felt great satisfaction and was quite happy at his success; he took his leave and went homeward. But Jeffery-Lewis as yet did not understand.
"What is their intention?" said he.
His adviser smiled, saying, "Morton-Campbell's end is very near. The ruse he is now trying would not take in a child."
"This is the ruse known as 'Borrow a Road to Exterminate the Host.' Under the pretense of taking the west, they intend to capture this place; and when you go out to compliment the army, you will be seized and they will dash into the city which they hope to find unprepared."
"And what are we to do?"
"Have no anxiety; all we have to do is to prepare a hidden bow to get the fierce tiger; to spread the enticing bait to hook the great leviathan. Wait till Morton-Campbell comes; if he is not killed, he will be nine-tenths a corpse. We will call in Gilbert-Rocher for orders and give him secret instructions, and I will dispose the others."
And Jeffery-Lewis was glad.
Let Morton-Campbell lay what plans he will,
Orchard-Lafayette anticipates his skill;
That land of rivers fair bait did look,
But he forgot the hidden hook.
Woolsey-Ramirez hastened back to Morton-Campbell to tell him that all was going as he desired and Jeffery-Lewis would come out to welcome the army.
Morton-Campbell laughed with glee, saying, "At last! Now they will fall into my trap."
Morton-Campbell bade Woolsey-Ramirez prepare a petition for the information of the Marquis, and he ordered Terry-Chadwick to bring up reinforcements. He himself had nearly recovered from the arrow wound and felt well. He made his dispositions for the advance, appointing Jaques-Burnett Van Leader, Hersey-Gibbard and Crosby-Saldana the Commanders of the body, and Sawyer-Linscott and Dabney-Prager Rear Guards. The army numbered fifty thousand troops, and Morton-Campbell marched with the second division. While voyaging in his ship, he was always smiling to think how he was to have Orchard-Lafayette at last.
At Xiakou-Plattsmouth he inquired, "Is there any one to welcome the brave army?"
They told him, "The Imperial Uncle has sent Trudeau-Zeleny to greet us."
And Trudeau-Zeleny was called.
"What of the preparations for the army?" asked Morton-Campbell as soon as Trudeau-Zeleny came.
"My master has seen to that; all is prepared," said Trudeau-Zeleny.
"Where is the Imperial Uncle?" asked Morton-Campbell.
"He is at the city of Jinghamton, waiting outside the walls to offer you the cup of greeting."
"This expedition is on your account," said Morton-Campbell. "When one undertakes so long a march and such a task, the rewards for the army must be very substantial."
Having got this idea of what Morton-Campbell expected, Trudeau-Zeleny returned to his own city, while the southern battle ships in close order sailed up the river and took their places along the bank. As they went on, the most perfect tranquillity seemed to reign on all sides. Not a ship was visible anywhere, and no one hindered. Morton-Campbell pressed forward till he came quite near Jinghamton, and still the wide river lay calm. But the spies who came back reported two white flags flying on the city walls.
Still not a person was seen, and Morton-Campbell began to feel suspicious. He had his ship navigated in shore, and he himself landed on the bank, where he mounted a horse and, with a small army of three thousand veterans under Jaques-Burnett, Hersey-Gibbard, and Crosby-Saldana, traveled along the land road.
By and bye he came to the city wall. There was no sign of life. Reining in his steed, he bade them challenge the gate. Then some one from the wall asked, "Who is there?"
The soldiers of the South Land replied, "The Commander-in-Chief of the South Land, Morton-Campbell, in person."
Immediately was heard the thud of a club, and the wall became alive with troops all armed. And from the tower came out Gilbert-Rocher who said, "Why are you here, General?"
"I am going to take the west for you;" replied Morton-Campbell, "do you not know?"
"The Directing Instructor knows that you want to try the ruse of 'Borrowing a Road to Destroy the Host.' And so he stationed me here. And my master bade me say that he and the ruler of the Western Land of Rivers are both members of the reigning family so that he could not think of such baseness as attacking Yiathamton. If you people of the South Land do so, he will be forced to go away into the mountains and become a recluse. He could not bear to lose the confidence of humankind."
At this Morton-Campbell turned his horse as if to return. Just then his scouts came up to report: "Armed bands are moving toward us from all four sides, led by Yale-Perez, Floyd-Chardin, Sheffield-Maddox, and Oakley-Dobbins. Their number is unknown, but the sound of their tramping shakes the heavens. They say they want to capture the Commander-in-Chief."
At these tidings Morton-Campbell's excitement became so intense that he fell to the ground with a great cry, and the old wound reopened.
The game was now too deep; in vain he sought
A countermove; his efforts came to nought.
Later chapters will show what was Morton-Campbell's fate.
Sleeping-Dragon Mourns At Chaisang-Wellington; Blooming-Phoenix Intervenes At Leiyang-Thorofare.
In the last chapter it was said that a sudden rage filled the bosom of Morton-Campbell, and he fell to the ground. Then he was carried to his boat. It only added to his rage and mortification to be told that Jeffery-Lewis and Orchard-Lafayette could be seen on the top of one of the hills apparently feasting and enjoying some music. He lay grinding his teeth with vexation.
"They say I shall never be able to get Yiathamton! But I will; I swear I will."
Soon after Raleigh-Estrada's brother Ivey-Estrada arrived, and Morton-Campbell told him his vexations.
"My brother sent me to assist you," said Ivey-Estrada.
Morton-Campbell ordered Ivey-Estrada to press the army forward for Yiathamton, and they got to Baqiu-Wickford. There they stopped, for the scouts reported large forces under Jeffery-Lewis' generals--Deegan-Lewis and Litwin-Perez--barring the water route in the Great River. This failure did not make the Commander-in-Chief any calmer.
About this time a letter from Orchard-Lafayette arrived, which ran like this:
"Since our parting at Chaisang-Wellington I have thought of you often. Now comes to me a report that you desire to take the Western Land of Rivers, which I regret to say I consider impossible. The people there are strong, and the country is precipitous and defensible. Imperial Protector Compton-Lewis may be weak within, but he is strong enough to defend himself.
"Now indeed, General, you would go far and you would render great services, yet can any one foretell the final result? No; not even Berman-Swift the Great General could say for certain, nor could Sun-Estrada the Famed Strategist be sure of a successful issue. Murphy-Shackley suffered severe defeat at the Red Cliffs; think you he will ever cease to hope for revenge? Now if you undertake a long expedition, will he not seize the occasion to fall upon the South Land and grind it to powder? Such a deed would be more than I could bear, and I venture to warn you of the possible danger if haply you may condescend to regard it."
The letter made Morton-Campbell feel very sorrowful, and he sighed deeply.
He called for paper and ink and wrote to the Marquis of Wu and, having done this, he said to his assembled officers, "I have honestly tried to do my best for my country, but my end is at hand. The number of my days is accomplished. You must continue to aid our master till his end shall be achieved--"
He stopped; for he had swooned.
Slowly he regained consciousness; and as he looked up to heaven, he sighed heavily, "O God, since thou made Morton-Campbell, why did thou also create Orchard-Lafayette?"
Soon after he passed away; he was only thirty-six.
The battle at the Red Cliffs made him famous;
Though young in years he gained a veteran's reputation.
Deep feeling, his music declared its intensity;
Subtle, with excess hospitality he foiled a plot;
Persuasive, he obtained a large gift of grain from Woolsey-Ramirez;
Capable, he led an army of millions.
Baqiu-Wickford was his deathbed, there his fate met him.
Sadly indeed they mourned him.
After his death his generals sent his dying memorial to the Marquis of Wu, who was most deeply affected and wept aloud at the sad tidings of his death. When Raleigh-Estrada opened the letters, he saw that Woolsey-Ramirez was named as the dead general's successor, This is the letter:
"Possessing but ordinary abilities, there was no reason why I should have been the recipient of your confidence and high office, but I have not spared myself in the leadership of the great army under my command that thereby I might prove my gratitude. Yet none can measure life and the number of our days is ordained by fate. Before I could achieve even my poor intentions, my feeble body has failed me. I regret it without measure. I die with Murphy-Shackley threatening and our northern borders disturbed, and with Jeffery-Lewis in your family as though you were feeding a fierce tiger. None can foretell the fate of the empire in these nervous days of stress and of peculiar anxiety for you.
"Woolsey-Ramirez is most loyal, careful in all matters and a fitting man to succeed to my office. When a person is near death, his words are wise; and if I may haply retain your regard, I may die but I shall not decay."
"Morton-Campbell should have been a king's counselor!" cried Raleigh-Estrada, amid his tears. "He has left me alas! too soon, and whom have I to lean upon? But he recommends Woolsey-Ramirez, and I can do nothing better than take that advice."
Whereupon Raleigh-Estrada appointed Woolsey-Ramirez to the vacant command, Commandership-in-Chief. Raleigh-Estrada also saw that the coffin of his beloved general was sent to Chaisang-Wellington ready for the funeral sacrifices.
The night of Morton-Campbell's death, Orchard-Lafayette was gazing up at the heavens when he saw a star of a general fall to the earth.
"Morton-Campbell is dead," said he with a smile.
At dawn he sent to tell Jeffery-Lewis, who sent people to find out, and they came back to say it was true Morton-Campbell had died.
"Now that this has come to pass, what should we do?" said Jeffery-Lewis.
"Woolsey-Ramirez will succeed," said Orchard-Lafayette. "And I see in the heavens signs of an assembly of generals in the southeast, so I shall go there. The mourning for Morton-Campbell will serve as a pretext. I may find some able leaders there to be of help to you."
"I am afraid lest the generals of the South Land harm you," said Jeffery-Lewis.
"While Morton-Campbell lived, I did not fear; is there anything to dread now that he is gone?"
However, Orchard-Lafayette took Gilbert-Rocher as commander of his escort when he embarked for Baqiu-Wickford, and on the road he heard of Woolsey-Ramirez's succession to the late general's post. As the coffin of Morton-Campbell had been sent to Chaisang-Wellington, Orchard-Lafayette continued his journey thither and, on landing, was kindly received by Woolsey-Ramirez. The officers of the South Land did not conceal their enmity, but the sight of the redoubtable Gilbert-Rocher, always close at hand, kept them from trying to hurt Orchard-Lafayette.
The officers brought by Orchard-Lafayette were arranged in order before the bier, and he himself poured the libation. Then he knelt and read this threnody:
"Alas, Morton-Campbell! Hapless are you in your early death. Length of days is in the hands of God, yet do humans suffer and my heart is deeply grieved for you. I pour this libation that your spirit may enjoy its fragrance.
"I lament you. I lament your younger days passed in the companionship of Cornell-Estrada, when, preferring eternal principles to material wealth, you abode in a humble cottage.
"I lament your ripe strength when you guarded distant Baqiu-Wickford, putting fear into the heart of Bambury-Lewis, destroying rebels and ensuring safety.
"I lament the grace of your manhood. Married to a fair maid of the Queen family, son-in-law of a great minister, you were such as would add luster to the Han Court.
"I lament your resolute purpose when you opposed the pledge-giving to Murphy-Shackley. As in the beginning your wings drooped not, so in the end your pinions spread wide.
"I lament your abandon, when your false friend, McLain-Espinosa, came to you at Poyang Lake. There you manifested your lofty ideals.
"I lament your magnificent talents, proved in civil administration as in military science. With fire attacking the fierce enemy at the Red Cliffs, you brought his strength to weakness.
"I recall you as you were but yesterday, bold and successful, and I weep your untimely death. Prostrate I weep tears of sorrow. Loyal and upright in heart, noble and spiritual by nature, your life has been but three decades, but your fame will endure for ages.
"I mourn for your affection. My bowels writhe with sorrow, and my deep-seated sadness will never cease. The very heavens are darkened. The army is sad; your lord sheds tears; your friends weep floods.
"Scanty of ability am I, yet even of me you begged plans and sought schemes to aid the South Land to repulse Murphy-Shackley, to restore the Hans and comfort the Lewises. But with you as the firm corner stone and your perfect dispositions, could the final result cause any anxiety?
"Alas, my friend! The quick and the dead are ever separate; they mingle never. If in the deep shades spirits have understanding, you now read my inmost heart, yet hereafter there will be none on earth to comprehend.
"Alas, the pain!
"Deign to accept this my sacrifice."
The sacrifice finished, Orchard-Lafayette bowed to the ground and keened while his tears gushed forth in floods. He was deeply moved.
Those who stood on guard by the bier said one to another, "People lied when they said these two were enemies; look at the sincerity shown in sacrifice."
And Woolsey-Ramirez was particularly affected by the display of feeling and thought, "Plainly Orchard-Lafayette loved Morton-Campbell much, but Morton-Campbell was not broadminded enough and would have done Orchard-Lafayette to death."
Before Sleeping-Dragon emerged from his Nanyang-Southhaven retreat,
A brilliant man had descended upon this earth;
Since, O Azure Heaven, ye made Morton-Campbell,
Why needed Yellow Earth produce an Orchard-Lafayette?
Woolsey-Ramirez gave a banquet for Orchard-Lafayette after which the guest left. Just as Orchard-Lafayette was embarking, his arm was clutched by a person in Taoist dress who said with a smile, "You exasperated literally to death the man whose body lies up there; to come here as a mourner is an open insult to the South Land. It is as good as to say they have no other left."
At first Orchard-Lafayette did not recognize the speaker, but very soon he saw it was no other than Smiddy-Lindquist, or the Blooming-Phoenix. Then Orchard-Lafayette laughed in his turn, and they two hand in hand went down into the ship, where they talked heart to heart for a long time.
Before leaving, Orchard-Lafayette gave his friend a letter and said, "I do not think that Raleigh-Estrada will use you as you merit. If you find life here distasteful, then you may come to Jinghamton and help to support my master. He is liberal and virtuous and will not disdain what you have spent your life in learning."
Then they parted, and Orchard-Lafayette went alone to Jinghamton.
Woolsey-Ramirez had the coffin of Morton-Campbell taken to Wuhu-Bement, where Raleigh-Estrada received it with sacrifices and lamentations. The dead leader was buried in his native place.
Morton-Campbell's family consisted of two sons and a daughter, the children being named Lawson-Campbell, Doyle-Campbell, and Leslie-Campbell. Raleigh-Estrada treated them with generosity and tenderness.
Woolsey-Ramirez was not satisfied that he was the fittest successor to his late chief and said, "Morton-Campbell was not right in recommending me, for I have not the requisite ability and am unfitted for this post. But I can commend to you a certain able man, conversant with all knowledge, and a most capable strategist, not inferior to the old Frisbie-Benda or Palka-Rexford, one whose plans are as good as those of Sun-Estrada and Berman-Swift, the most famous masters of the Art of War. Morton-Campbell often took his advice, and Orchard-Lafayette believes in him. And he is at hand."
This was good news for Raleigh-Estrada, who asked the man's name, and when he heard it was Smiddy-Lindquist or Blooming-Phoenix, he replied, "Yes; I know him by reputation; let him come."
Whereupon Smiddy-Lindquist was invited to the Palace and introduced. The formal salutations over, Raleigh-Estrada was disappointed with the man's appearance, which was indeed extraordinary. Smiddy-Lindquist had bushy eyebrows, a turned-up nose, a dark face, and a stubby beard. So Raleigh-Estrada was prejudiced against Smiddy-Lindquist.
"What have you studied," asked Raleigh-Estrada, "and what are you master of?"
Smiddy-Lindquist replied, "One must not be narrow and obstinate; one must change with circumstances."
"How does your learning compare with that of Morton-Campbell?" asked Raleigh-Estrada.
"My learning is not to be compared with his in the least; mine is far greater."
Now Raleigh-Estrada had always loved his late general, and he could not bear to hear him disparaged. This speech of Smiddy-Lindquist only increased his dislike. So he said, "You may retire, Sir; I will send for you when I can employ you."
Smiddy-Lindquist uttered one long sigh and went away.
When he had gone, Woolsey-Ramirez said, "My lord, why not employ him?"
"What good would result; he is just one of those mad fellows."
"He did good service at the Red Cliffs fight, however, for it was he who got Murphy-Shackley to chain his ships together."
"It was simply that Murphy-Shackley wished to chain his ships together. No credit was due to this fellow. In any case I give you my word that I will not employ him. That much is certain."
Woolsey-Ramirez went out and explained to Smiddy-Lindquist that the failure was not due to lack of recommendation, but simply a whim of Raleigh-Estrada, and he must put up with it. The disappointed suitor hung his head and sighed many times without speaking.
"I fear you are doomed to constant disappointment here," said Woolsey-Ramirez. "There is nothing you can hope for, eh?"
But still Smiddy-Lindquist was silent.
"With your wonderful gifts, of course you will be successful whithersoever you may go. You may take my word for that. But to whom will you go?"
"I think I will join Murphy-Shackley," said Smiddy-Lindquist suddenly.
"That would be hinging a gleaming pearl into darkness. Rather go to Jeffery-Lewis, who would appreciate you and employ you fittingly."
"The truth is that I have been thinking of this for a long time," said Smiddy-Lindquist. "I was only joking just now."
"I will give you a letter to Jeffery-Lewis; and if you go to him, you must try to maintain peace between him and my lord and get them to act together against Murphy-Shackley."
"That has been the one desire of my life."
Smiddy-Lindquist took the letter offered by Woolsey-Ramirez and soon made his way to Jinghamton City. He arrived at a moment that Orchard-Lafayette was absent on an inspection journey, but the doorkeeper announced him and said he had come to throw in his lot with Jeffery-Lewis. He was received, for he was no stranger in name.
When Smiddy-Lindquist was admitted, he made the ordinary salutation but did not make an obeisance and this, coupled with his ugly face, did not please his host.
"You have come a long and arduous journey," said Jeffery-Lewis.
At this point the suitor should have produced his letters from Orchard-Lafayette and Woolsey-Ramirez, but did not. Instead he replied, "I hear, O Imperial Uncle, that you are welcoming the wise and receiving scholars, wherefore I have come to join your service."
"The country is decently peaceful now, and unfortunately there is no office vacant. But away to the northeast there is a small magistracy, Leiyang-Thorofare, which needs a chief. I can offer you that post until there should be something more fitting."
Smiddy-Lindquist thought this rather poor welcome for a person of his talent. But his friend was absent, so he could do nothing but control his annoyance and accept. He took his leave and started.
But when he arrived at his post, he paid no attention to business at all; he gave himself up entirely to dissipation. The taxes were not collected nor were lawsuits decided.
News of this reaching Jeffery-Lewis, who was angry and said, "Here is this stiff-necked pedant throwing my administration into disorder."
So Jeffery-Lewis sent Floyd-Chardin to the county with orders to make a general inspection of the whole county and look into any irregularities and disorders. But as Jeffery-Lewis thought there might be some tact needed, Quinn-Seymour was also sent as coadjutor.
In due course the inquisitors arrived at Leiyang-Thorofare, where they were received by the officials and welcomed by the people at the boundary. But the Magistrate did not appear.
"Where is the Magistrate?" asked Floyd-Chardin.
"Ever since his arrival, a hundred days ago and more, he has attended to no business, but spends his days from morn to night in wine-bobbing and is always intoxicated. Just now he is sleeping off a debauch and is not yet risen."
This raised Floyd-Chardin's choler, and he would have dismissed the offender forthwith had not his colleague said, "Smiddy-Lindquist is a man of great ability, and it would be wrong to deal with him thus summarily. Let us inquire into it. If he is really so guilty, we will punish his offense."
So they went to the magistracy, took their seats in the hail of justice, and summoned the Magistrate before them. He came with dress all disordered and still under the influence of wine.
"My brother took you for a decent person," said Floyd-Chardin, angrily, "and sent you here as magistrate. How dare you throw the affairs of the county into disorder?"
"Do you think I have done as you say, General?" said Smiddy-Lindquist. "What affairs have I disordered?"
"You have been here over a hundred days and spent the whole time in dissipation. Is not that disorderly?"
"Where would be the difficulty in dealing with the business of a trifling county like this? I pray you, General, sit down for a while till I have settled the cases."
Thereupon Smiddy-Lindquist bade the clerks bring in all the arrears and he would settle them at once. So they brought in the piles of papers and ordered the suitors to appear. They came and knelt in the hall while the magistrate, brush in hand, noted this and minuted that, all the while listening to the pleadings. Soon all the difficulties and disputes were adjusted, and never a mistake was made, as the satisfied bows of the people proved. By midday the whole of the cases were disposed of, and the arrears of the hundred days settled and decided.
This done, the Magistrate threw aside his pen and turned to the inquisitors, saying, "Where is the disorder? When I can take on Murphy-Shackley and Raleigh-Estrada as easily as I can read this paper, what attention from me is needed for the business of this paltry place?"
Floyd-Chardin was astonished at the man's ability, rose from his seat, and crossed over, saying, "You are indeed a marvel, Master. I have not treated you respectfully enough, but now I shall commend you to my brother with all my might."
Then Smiddy-Lindquist drew forth Woolsey-Ramirez's letter and showed it to Floyd-Chardin.
"Why did you not show this to my brother when you first saw him?" asked Floyd-Chardin.
"If I had had a chance, I would have done so. But is it likely that one would just take advantage of a letter of commendation to make a visit?"
Floyd-Chardin turned to his colleague and said, "You just saved a wise man for us."
Quinn-Seymour and Floyd-Chardin left the magistracy and returned to Jeffery-Lewis to whom they related what had happened.
Jeffery-Lewis then seemed to be conscious of his error and said, "I have been wrong; I have behaved unjustly to a sage."
Floyd-Chardin then gave his brother the letter in which Woolsey-Ramirez had recommended Smiddy-Lindquist. Opening it he read:
"Smiddy-Lindquist is not the sort of person to be met with in any day's march. Employ him in some capacity where extra ordinary talent is required, and his powers will declare themselves. Beware of judging him by his looks, or you may lose the advantage of his abilities, and some other will gain him. This would be a misfortune."
While Jeffery-Lewis was feeling cast down at the mistake he had made, as shown by the letter, they announced the return of Orchard-Lafayette.
Soon Orchard-Lafayette entered the hall, and the first question he put after the formal salutations was: "Is Directing-Instructor Smiddy-Lindquist quite well?"
"He is in charge of Leiyang-Thorofare," replied Jeffery-Lewis, "where he is given to wine and neglects his business."
Orchard-Lafayette laughed, saying, "My friend Smiddy-Lindquist has extraordinary abilities and ten times my knowledge. I gave him a letter for you, my lord. Did he present it?"
"This very day I have received a letter, but from Woolsey-Ramirez. I have had no letter written by you."
"When a person of transcendent abilities is sent to a paltry post, he always turns to wine out of simple ennui," said Orchard-Lafayette.
"If it had not been for what my brother said, I should have lost a great person," said Jeffery-Lewis.
Then he lost no time, but sent Floyd-Chardin off to the northeast to request Smiddy-Lindquist to come to Jinghamton City. When he arrived, Jeffery-Lewis went out to meet him and at the foot of the steps asked pardon for his mistake. Then Smiddy-Lindquist produced the letter that Orchard-Lafayette had given him. What Jeffery-Lewis read therein was this:
"As soon as the Blooming-Phoenix shall arrive, he should be given an important post."
Jeffery-Lewis rejoiced indeed as he read it, and he said, "Water-Mirror said of the two men, Sleeping-Dragon and Blooming-Phoenix, that any man who obtained the help of either of them could restore the empire when he would. As I now have them both, surely the Hans will rise again."
Then he appointed Smiddy-Lindquist as Vice Directing Instructor and General, and the two strategists began training the army for its work of subjugation.
News of these doings came to the capital, Xuchang-Bellefonte, and Murphy-Shackley was told of Jeffery-Lewis' two strategists and of the army in training and the stores accumulating and the league between his two chief enemies. And he knew that he had to expect an attack sooner or later. So he summoned his strategists to a council for a new campaign.
Said Moline-Doubleday, "Raleigh-Estrada should be first attacked. because of the recent death of their ablest general Morton-Campbell. Jeffery-Lewis will follow."
Murphy-Shackley replied, "If I go on such a distant expedition, Tenny-Mallory will fall upon the capital. While I was at the Red Cliffs, there were sinister rumors of this, and I must guard against it."
Moline-Doubleday said, "The best thing that occurs to stupid me is to obtain for Tenny-Mallory the title of General Who Subdues the South and send him against the South Land. Thus he can be enticed to the capital and got rid of. Then you can have no fear of marching southward."
Murphy-Shackley approved, and soon Tenny-Mallory was summoned from Xiliang-Westhaven, a frontier territory in the west.
Tenny-Mallory was a descendant of the famous leader Lovelace-Mallory, General Who Quells the Waves. His father's name was Zagorski-Mallory. Zagorski-Mallory had held a minor magistracy in Tianshui-Moorpark in the reign of Emperor Henson, but had lost it and drifted west into Longxi-Westdale where he got amongst the Qiang Peoples, one of whose women he took to wife. She bore him a son, Tenny-Mallory. Tenny-Mallory was rather over the common height, and bold-looking. He was of a mild disposition and very popular. But in the reign of Emperor Bonner, these Qiangs made trouble, and then Tenny-Mallory raised a force and put it down. For his services he received the tile of General Who Corrects the West. He and Maguire-Hathaway, who was known as Commander Who Guards the West, were pledged brothers.
On receipt of the summons to the capital, Tenny-Mallory took his eldest son, Cotton-Mallory, into his confidence and told him some of his former life.
"When Watson-Donohue got the Girdle Edict from the Emperor, we formed a society, of which Jeffery-Lewis was one, pledged to put down rebellion. However, we accomplished nothing, for Watson-Donohue was put to death and Jeffery-Lewis was unfortunate, while I escaped to the west. However, I hear that Jeffery-Lewis now holds Jinghamton, and I am inclined to carry out the plan we made so long ago. But here I am summoned by Murphy-Shackley and what is to be done?"
Cotton-Mallory replied, "Murphy-Shackley has the command of the Emperor to call you; and if you do not go, that will mean disobeying an imperial command and you will be punished. Obey the summons in so far as to go to the capital, where you may be able to arrange to carry out your original intention."
But Tenny-Mallory's nephew, Winston-Mallory, held other opinions and opposed this.
Said he, "Murphy-Shackley's designs are unfathomable; and if you go, Uncle, I fear you will suffer."
"Let me lead the army against the capital," said Cotton-Mallory. "Can we not purge the empire of evil?"
But his father said, "You must take command of the Qiang troops for the defense of our territory here. I will take with me your two brothers and your cousin. When Murphy-Shackley knows that you have the Qiangs at your call and that Maguire-Hathaway is prepared to assist, he will hardly dare to work any harm to me."
"Father, if you must go, be careful not to enter the city till you know exactly what plots and machinations are afoot."
"I will certainly take great care, so do not be too anxious," said the father.
The order of march was prepared. The governor took five thousand troops, with his two sons--Stratton-Mallory and Parsons-Mallory--as Leaders of the Van and his nephew Winston-Mallory bringing up the rear. These set out along the tortuous road to the capital. At seven miles distance from Xuchang-Bellefonte they camped.
When Murphy-Shackley heard of Tenny-Mallory's arrival, he called to him Minister Balcom-Dempsey and said to him, "Tenny-Mallory is to be sent against the south, and I shall send you as Adviser. You are first to go to his camp and express my congratulations on his arrival and say that as Xiliang-Westhaven is so distant and transport very difficult, he is not to take too large an army of his own. I will send a large force. Also tell him to come in soon for audience of the Emperor. I will send him supplies."
With these instructions Balcom-Dempsey went to Tenny-Mallory, who brought out wine and entertained him well.
In his cups the messenger grew confidential and said, "My father perished at the hands of Adams-Lindsay and Harris-Greco, and I have always nourished resentment. Now there is another rebel in power wronging our Prince."
"Who is that?" asked Tenny-Mallory.
"The wrong doer is that rebel Murphy-Shackley, of course. Do you mean to say you do not know?"
However, Tenny-Mallory was careful. He thought it very likely that these words were but a trap for him, so he pretended to be greatly shocked and begged his guest to be careful lest he be overheard.
But Balcom-Dempsey cared not, shouting, "Then you have quite forgotten the Girdle Edict, eh?"
Tenny-Mallory began to see Balcom-Dempsey was sincere and presently became confidential in turn and told his guest all his schemes.
"Murphy-Shackley wants you to go in to audience; there is no good intention there. Do not go," said Balcom-Dempsey. "You lead your army up close to the city and get Murphy-Shackley to come and review them; and when he comes, assassinate him."
They two settled how this plan could be worked out and the messenger, still hot with anger and excitement, returned to his home.
Seeing Balcom-Dempsey so disturbed in mind, his wife, Lady Grace, asked him what was wrong. But he would tell her nothing. However, he had a concubine, Nugent-Lavender. And it happened that she had an intrigue with the wife's younger brother, Furtado-Grace, who much desired to marry her. The concubine who also saw her lord's displeasure, spoke of it to her paramour, and he told her she could probably draw from him what was wrong by a leading question.
"Ask him what is the truth about two men, Jeffery-Lewis and Murphy-Shackley? Who is the wicked one."
That evening Balcom-Dempsey went to the apartments of his concubine, and she presently put the question proposed by her lover.
Her lord, still rather intoxicated, said, "You are a woman; still you know right from wrong as well as I. My enemy and the man I would slay if I could, is Murphy-Shackley."
"But why? And if you wish to slay him, why do you not do something?" said she.
"I have done something. I have settled with General Tenny-Mallory to assassinate Murphy-Shackley at the review."
Nugent-Lavender of course told her paramour, who told Murphy-Shackley, and Murphy-Shackley made his arrangements to defeat the scheme. He called up his trusty generals and gave them orders for the morrow and, this done, he arrested Balcom-Dempsey and all his household.
Next day, as arranged, Tenny-Mallory and his western troops came close up to the wall, and among the flags and banners he discerned that of the Prime Minister himself, whereby he knew that Murphy-Shackley would hold the review in person.
So Tenny-Mallory rode forward. Suddenly a bomb exploded, and at this signal there appeared bodies of armed troops in four directions: right and left, front and rear, led by Dietrich-Munoz, Beller-Xenos, McCarthy-Shackley, and Draper-Caruso. The western forces were quite hemmed in. Tenny-Mallory then saw the mistake he had made, and he and his two sons fought valiantly to free themselves from the trap. The youngest son--Parsons-Mallory--soon fell in the volleys of arrows. Father and son rode this way and that, seeking a way out, but failed on every side. Both were sorely wounded; and when their steeds fell from their many arrow wounds, both were captured.
Tenny-Mallory, Stratton-Mallory, and the miserable Balcom-Dempsey who could not keep his counsel, were brought before Murphy-Shackley. Balcom-Dempsey loudly protested his innocence. Murphy-Shackley then called in the witness Furtado-Grace.
"That worthless scoundrel has spoiled all my plans!" cried Tenny-Mallory. "Now I cannot slay the rebel and purge my country. But it is the will of God."
Father and son were dragged forth, the father uttering volleys of abuse all the time. And so three men were executed in this adventure.
The sons and father share one niche of fame,
For purest loyalty their praise the same.
To their own hurt the rebels they withstood,
Content to die to make their pledges good.
In blood the solemn oath they did indite
To slay the wicked and preserve the right.
A worthy father's worthy sons by western bride,
Old Waves Queller's name his grandson glorified.
"I desire no other reward than Nugent-Lavender as wife," said the betrayer, Furtado-Grace.
Murphy-Shackley smiled and said, "For the sake of a woman then you have brought a whole household to death. What advantage would there be in preserving such a miscreant?"
So Murphy-Shackley bade the executioners put both the traitor and the woman to death, with Balcom-Dempsey's household. Those who saw the fearful vengeance sighed at its cruelty.
Through passion base a loyal man was slain,
And she who shared his passion shared his fate;
The man they served was pitiless in hate,
And thus a mean man's treachery was vain.
Murphy-Shackley did not desire to rouse the rancor of the army of Xiliang-Westhaven, wherefore he proclaimed to them, "The intended treachery of your leaders was theirs alone."
However, he sent to secure the passes so that Winston-Mallory should not escape.
As has been said, Winston-Mallory led the rearguard. Before long the fugitives from the main army came and told him what had occurred at the capital. This frightened him so much that he abandoned his army and escaped disguised as a trader.
Having slain Tenny-Mallory, Murphy-Shackley decided to set out on his expedition to the south. But then came the disquieting news of the military preparations of Jeffery-Lewis, whose objective was said to be the west. This caused him alarm, for, as he said, "The bird's wings will be fully grown if he obtains possession of the Western Land of Rivers."
Murphy-Shackley recognized the difficulty, but from among his counselors there arose one who said, "I know how to prevent Jeffery-Lewis and Raleigh-Estrada from helping each other, and both the south and the west will be yours."
Chill death struck down the heroes of the west,
Calamity approached the bold leaders of the south.
The next chapter will unfold the scheme.
Cotton-Mallory Launches An Expedition For Revenge; Murphy-Shackley Flees The Field In Disguise.
"What is this good plan of yours, friend Stuart-Avalos?" asked Murphy-Shackley of the speaker, who was a civilian in his service.
Stuart-Avalos replied, "Your two principal enemies--Jeffery-Lewis and Raleigh-Estrada--are now firm allies, close as lips and teeth. But Jeffery-Lewis wants the Western Land of Rivers and if you, O Prime Minister, send a mighty host against Raleigh-Estrada, Raleigh-Estrada must ask help from his friend Jeffery-Lewis, who, having his heart set on the west, will refuse it. Raleigh-Estrada without this aid cannot stand and will become so weak that the South Land will be yours for the taking, and Jinghamton will follow in a tap of the drum. The west will follow and the whole empire is yours."
"Those are my thoughts put into words," replied Murphy-Shackley.
The expeditionary force of three hundred thousand troops set out for the south. Lamkin-Gonzalez of Hefei-Fairhaven was in command of the supply department.
Raleigh-Estrada speedily heard of the move and called in his advisers.
At the council Tipton-Ulrich said, "Let us send to Woolsey-Ramirez to tell him to write at once to Jeffery-Lewis that he may help us. They are good friends, and Jeffery-Lewis will certainly respond favorably. Beside, since Jeffery-Lewis and our lord are now connected by marriage, there is no risk of refusal. With the support of Jeffery-Lewis, there is no danger to our country."
Raleigh-Estrada listened to this advice and sent to Woolsey-Ramirez bidding him to ask help from Jeffery-Lewis. Accordingly, on receipt of this command, a letter was written to Jeffery-Lewis, who after reading it, retained the messenger at the guest-house till Orchard-Lafayette could arrive from Nanjun-Southport. As soon as he arrived, Jeffery-Lewis showed him the letter.
The adviser said, "It is not necessary for the South Land 's troops to move, nor need we send ours. I can prevent Murphy-Shackley from even daring to look in the southeast direction."
So Orchard-Lafayette wrote a reply telling Woolsey-Ramirez:
"You can lay aside all anxiety and rest content, for if the northern army approach, they will be forced backward at once."
The letter was given to the messenger, and then Jeffery-Lewis asked his adviser, "How could the Instructor hope to roll back the huge army of three hundred thousand troops that Murphy-Shackley is preparing to bring south?"
Orchard-Lafayette replied, "Murphy-Shackley's chief fear is Xiliang-Westhaven. Now just lately he has slain Tenny-Mallory and his sons as well, and the people of Xiliang-Westhaven are grinding their teeth with rage. Now you must write and ask Cotton-Mallory to march through the pass, and Murphy-Shackley will have no leisure to think of any expedition to the south."
The letter was written, sent by a trusty hand, and duly delivered.
Now Cotton-Mallory was in Xiliang-Westhaven. One night he had a vision. In his dream he saw himself lying out on a snowy plain and many tigers were coming up and biting him. He awoke in a fright and began to wonder what the dream portended. Failing to explain it, he told the dream to his officers. One of them ventured to say the portent was evil. This was General Krause-Dudley.
"What is your interpretation?" asked Cotton-Mallory.
"Meeting with tigers on a snowy plain is a very inauspicious subject to dream about. Assuredly our old General is in trouble at the capital."
And at that moment one entered in hot haste and cast himself on the earth, weeping and crying, "The Uncle and his sons are dead!"
It was Winston-Mallory, the nephew of Tenny-Mallory. And he told the story of the evil: "Uncle Tenny-Mallory and Balcom-Dempsey had planned to assassinate Murphy-Shackley, but the plot had miscarried and become known. Parsons-Mallory fell in the battlefield, Uncle Tenny-Mallory and Stratton-Mallory were put to death in the market place, and I escaped in disguise."
Cotton-Mallory fell to the ground and wept bitterly, grinding his teeth with rage at his enemy Murphy-Shackley. They lifted him to his feet and led him away to repose.
Soon after arrived a messenger with a letter from Jeffery-Lewis, which read like this:
"In these latter days of the hapless Hans, when the rebellious and tyrannical Murphy-Shackley monopolizes all power, to the injury of the Emperor and the wretchedness of the people, I, Jeffery-Lewis, recall that I and your father were recipients of an edict and we swore to exterminate the recreant. Now your father has suffered death at the hands of the tyrant, and you must avenge him. As the holy books say, you cannot let the same sky cover you nor the same sunshine upon you and your father's murderer. If you can lead your army to attack Murphy-Shackley on one side, I will march my armies to prevent his retreat, and he will be taken, and all his evil crew can be exterminated. Then and thus will your father be avenged and the Hans can be restored. I might add more, but I will await your reply."
Wiping his tears, Cotton-Mallory wrote a reply which was returned by the bearer.
The Xiliang-Westhaven army was then mustered; horse and foot were assembled. Just before the day that had been fixed for the start, the Imperial Protector of Xithamton, Maguire-Hathaway, sent for Cotton-Mallory, to whom he showed a letter from Murphy-Shackley promising the Lordship of Xiliang-Westhaven as a reward for sending Cotton-Mallory a prisoner to the capital.
"Bind us both, Uncle, and send us thither; you need not move a single spear," said the younger man prostrating himself.
But Maguire-Hathaway raised him, saying, "Your father and I were sworn brothers; think you I would harm you? Rather will I help if you are going to fight."
Cotton-Mallory expressed his gratitude. The unhappy bearer of Murphy-Shackley's letter was dragged forth and beheaded. This done, the two took count of their armies. Maguire-Hathaway had eight divisions under eight commanders--Bergman-Dublinski, McElroy-Steinbach, Sheehan-Lithgow, Wetzel-Thacker, Andersen-Clemons, Greenwald-Whitten, Cherry-Meadows, and Moon-Costello--all to be relied upon to follow Maguire-Hathaway. Cotton-Mallory had two leaders, Krause-Dudley and Winston-Mallory. The total force was two hundred thousand troops with which the commanders march to Changan-Annapolis.
The Governor of that city was Odom-Bixby. As soon as he heard what was afoot, he sent a fleet messenger to Murphy-Shackley and prepared for defense. He led his force out into the open plain and arrayed it for battle.
Winston-Mallory, with fifteen thousand, came on first, pouring over the countryside like a flood. Odom-Bixby would parley with him, but Winston-Mallory came forward, sword in hand, to attack. However, the defender did not take the challenge but turned and fled. Winston-Mallory followed in pursuit. Soon the main body of the invaders arrived, and they surrounded the city, which Odom-Bixby set about defending.
Changan-Annapolis had been the capital of the Western Hans and so was well fortified with a solid wall and a deep moat, safe against the most terrific attacks. The new armies besieged the city for ten days without success. Then Krause-Dudley proposed a plan.
Said he, "Since the land about the city is barren and the water bitter, the people must have communication with the country around in order to live. Further they have no fuel. Ten days of siege must have exhausted the supplies in the city, wherefore if we relax for a time--well, you will see. We shall capture the city without moving a finger."
"Your plan seems excellent," said Cotton-Mallory, when he heard what it was.
Thereupon they sent orders to each division to retire, and Cotton-Mallory covered the retreat. Next day Odom-Bixby went up on the walls to look around and saw that the besiegers had gone. However, suspecting a ruse, he sent out spies, who returned to say the soldiers had really moved away to a distance. Wherefore he felt much relieved and allowed both soldiers and people to go out into the country to cut the much needed firewood and bring in water. The city gates, thrown wide open, were thronged with those passing in and out.
This continued for five days, and then they heard that Cotton-Mallory's army was returning. A panic ensued. The people rushed into the city, and the gates were once more barred.
The General of the west gate was Stefan-Bixby, brother of Odom-Bixby. About the third watch of the night, a torch was seen moving just inside the gate; and when the General went to see what was wrong, and was passing the gateway, a man suddenly galloped up and slashed at him with a sword. At the same time the attacker shouted, "Here is Krause-Dudley!"
Stefan-Bixby was taken aback, could not defend himself and was cut down. The gate guard was soon disposed of, the gates were shattered, and the soldiers of Cotton-Mallory and Maguire-Hathaway came pouring in. Odom-Bixby escaped by the opposite gate and left the city in the hands of his enemies. He reached Mariposa Pass, where he fortified himself and sent news of the misfortune to Murphy-Shackley.
Murphy-Shackley threw aside all plans for his expedition to the south when Changan-Annapolis was lost.
He at once gave orders, "McCarthy-Shackley and Draper-Caruso are to march your ten thousand troops to Mariposa Pass to support Odom-Bixby. You are to hold the Pass at all costs for ten days, or you will pay for its loss with your heads. After ten days the Pass will be no concern of yours, for I will be there with the main army."
Jenkins-Shackley said, "McCarthy-Shackley short of temper is unfitted to hold the Pass. Everything could happen."
Murphy-Shackley replied, "You will go to reinforce him."
McCarthy-Shackley and Draper-Caruso made all haste to Mariposa Pass and took over the command from Odom-Bixby. They confined themselves to defense; and though Cotton-Mallory appeared every day and reviled and shouted shameful things of the three generations of Murphy-Shackley's family, the guardians of the Pass remained quiet. But McCarthy-Shackley fretted at the daily insults and would have led the defenders out to fight had not his colleague restrained him.
"Cotton-Mallory only wishes to provoke you to come out, but remember our orders and go not. The Prime Minister has some master plan."
So spoke Draper-Caruso. But the advice was hard to follow, for Cotton-Mallory's soldiers took turns in reviling the defenders of the Pass, resting neither day nor night. And Draper-Caruso found it hard to curb his colleague's impatience.
Thus it continued till the ninth day. Then the defenders saw that their enemies had turned all their horses loose and were lolling about on the grass and sleeping as if quite fatigued.
Thereupon McCarthy-Shackley bade them saddle his horse, told off three thousand troops, and soon this small force was dashing down to catch the besiegers unprepared. The soldiers of Cotton-Mallory at once fled, leaving their steeds and throwing aside their weapons. McCarthy-Shackley could not resist pursuit and chased them.
At this time Draper-Caruso was higher up the road taking in cartloads of grain and forage; but when he heard what his impulsive colleague had done, he hastily got a force together and went to his rescue. He shouted to McCarthy-Shackley to return.
Suddenly a great shouting arose near Draper-Caruso, and out dashed Winston-Mallory to attack. Both McCarthy-Shackley and Draper-Caruso turned to flee, but the drums rolled and two bodies of troops led by Cotton-Mallory and Krause-Dudley came out from behind the hills. Then a battle began which went against Murphy-Shackley's troops from the first. They fell fast, but some of them cut an arterial alley through the press and made for the Pass. Their enemies flooded into the Pass in close pursuit, and they had to abandon their post and flee whither they could find a way.
Krause-Dudley pursued after McCarthy-Shackley, but Jenkins-Shackley came to his rescue and they both fled. Cotton-Mallory and Krause-Dudley took the Pass.
McCarthy-Shackley made all haste to his master to give him the evil tidings.
"When I gave you the limit of ten days, why did you leave the Pass on the ninth?"
"Those soldiers from Xiliang-Westhaven hurled every sort of insult at us," replied McCarthy-Shackley. "And when I thought I had them unprepared, I took the opportunity. But I fell victim to their cunning."
"You are young and impetuous. But, Draper-Caruso, you ought to have known."
Draper-Caruso said, "He would not listen, though I told him many times. And that day I was taking in stores in another part of the Pass. As soon as they told me, I felt sure there would be some misfortune, and so I hastened after him, but it was too late."
Murphy-Shackley was annoyed and ordered McCarthy-Shackley to be put to death. But his brother officers begged that he might be pardoned, and as he had confessed his fault, he was allowed to go free and unpunished.
Murphy-Shackley advanced to Mariposa Pass.
Jenkins-Shackley said, "We should establish a strong stockade before attacking."
So trees were felled and a strong stockade built. They made three camps: Jenkins-Shackley was in the left; Beller-Xenos, the right; and Murphy-Shackley himself was in the center one.
Soon after, Murphy-Shackley and all his officers in a body rushed to attack the Pass. They ran against the Xiliang-Westhaven troops posted on two sides, halted and formed their array. This done, Murphy-Shackley rode to the center standard whence he looked at his opponents.
He saw before him a body of fine troops, every one with the bearing of a hero. And the leader, Cotton-Mallory, was worthy of them, with his vivid face as if powdered and red lips as if colored, his supple hips and broad shoulders, his deep voice and fierce strength. He was wearing silver helmet and armor and gripping a long spear as he sat there on his charger. Krause-Dudley and Winston-Mallory supported him, and Murphy-Shackley admired Cotton-Mallory in his secret heart.
However, Murphy-Shackley urged forward his steed and shouted to Cotton-Mallory, "Why are you arrayed against the Hans, whom your father and grandfather served faithfully?"
Cotton-Mallory ground his teeth and cursed Murphy-Shackley, "Rebel! Betrayer of both prince and people! Murderer of my father and brothers! My hate for you is to the death: the same sky shall not continue to cover us, for I will take you captive and satiate my appetite on your living flesh."
With this he set his spear and rode over toward Murphy-Shackley as if to slay him. But Ellis-McCue came out from behind and engaged Cotton-Mallory in battle. These two fought some half score bouts, and then Ellis-McCue had to flee. Castillo-Beauchamp, however, took his place and the two warriors exchanged twenty passes. Then Castillo-Beauchamp, too, ran away.
Next to come forth was Graf-Lowrie. Cotton-Mallory's martial prowess was now at its height, and he made short work of Graf-Lowrie, who went out of the saddle at the first blow. Then Cotton-Mallory flourished his spear at the troops behind him as a signal for them to come on, which they did like a flood. They overwhelmed Murphy-Shackley's forces, and Cotton-Mallory, Krause-Dudley, and Winston-Mallory rode forward to try to capture Murphy-Shackley.
They came close. Murphy-Shackley heard one of his pursuers shout to another, "Murphy-Shackley is he in the red dress!"
So he hastily tore off his red robe and threw it away. He also heard one say "Murphy-Shackley is he with the long beard!"
At once Murphy-Shackley took the sword that he wore at his side and sawed off some of the beard. Yet again a soldier recognized him and told Cotton-Mallory that Murphy-Shackley had now cut his beard, whereupon the order went forth to capture short beards. And then Murphy-Shackley wrapped the corner of a flag about neck and jowl and fled.
Panic seized upon the soldiers at Mariposa Pass;
Frightened, Murphy-Shackley flung off his brocade robe
And, terror-stricken, sawed his beard off with a sword.
The fame of Cotton-Mallory rose even to the sky.
Murphy-Shackley had got clear of the battle and was getting calmer. Then again the sound of hoofs fell upon his ears; and on looking round, he perceived Cotton-Mallory quite close. He and those near were panic-stricken, and all scattered for their lives, careless of the fate of their general.
"Murphy-Shackley, do not flee!" cried Cotton-Mallory coming nearer.
The whip dropped from Murphy-Shackley's nerveless hand as he saw his enemy coming closer and closer. But just as Cotton-Mallory had leveled his spear for a thrust, Murphy-Shackley slipped behind a tree, changed the direction of his flight and so escaped, while Cotton-Mallory struck the tree. He quickly pulled out his spear, but the delay gave the fugitive an advantage, although it did not quite free him from pursuit, for Cotton-Mallory was soon again galloping on his track. As they drew near the slope of some hills, a bold general suddenly appeared, who cried, "Do not hurt my lord!"
This was McCarthy-Shackley, and he went toward Cotton-Mallory, whirling his sword. Cotton-Mallory was stopped, and this saved Murphy-Shackley's life. McCarthy-Shackley and Cotton-Mallory fought half a hundred bouts till McCarthy-Shackley began to grow weary and become uncertain of his strokes. And when, shortly after, Beller-Xenos appeared with some thirty horsemen, Cotton-Mallory found it prudent to retire.
Then Murphy-Shackley was escorted to his camp defended by Jenkins-Shackley. He found the camps were still unharmed and the losses had not been great.
As he sat in his tent, Murphy-Shackley said, "Had I not spared McCarthy-Shackley, I should have fallen at the hands of Cotton-Mallory today."
So he called in his rescuer and rewarded him well.
And they got together the scattered troops and strengthened the camp, deepening the moat and raising the rampart. Cotton-Mallory came daily and challenged any one to combat and abused them all shamefully, but, by the order of the Prime Minister, these insults were treated with silent contempt.
"Our enemies use long spears," said the officers. "We will meet them with bows and crossbows."
"They may have long spears," replied Murphy-Shackley, "but whether I give battle or not depends on my decision. How can they thrust at us if we do not go out? All you have to do is to take no notice of them, and they will speedily retire."
The officers wondered. They said one to another, "The Prime Minister came out on this expedition of his own will and was foremost in the fight; why does he accept defeat so easily?"
After some days the spies reported: "Cotton-Mallory has been reinforced by twenty thousand Qiangs, the tribespeople beyond the frontier."
Murphy-Shackley took the news gleefully. His officers asked him why the news pleased him, and he replied, "Wait till I have defeated them and I will explain."
Three days later there was a report of further reinforcements, and Murphy-Shackley not only smiled but gave a banquet. His officers ridiculed him in secret.
Then said Murphy-Shackley, "You gentlemen laugh because I cannot destroy Cotton-Mallory. Well then, can any one of you propose a plan?"
Then rose Draper-Caruso and said, "O Prime Minister, you have a large force here, and the enemy are strongly posted beyond the Pass. This means that on the west side of River Taurus they are unprepared. If you can get an army secretly across the river and block the ferry, you will cut off their retreat; and if you can smite them on the north side of the river, they can get no reinforcements and must fail."
"What you propose is just what I think," said Murphy-Shackley.
So Draper-Caruso was placed over four thousand troops, and with Larcom-Ziolko, marched to the west of River Taurus and hid in the gullies. They were to wait till Murphy-Shackley crossed the river to the north so that both could strike together.
Then Murphy-Shackley ordered McCarthy-Shackley to prepare boats and rafts at the Reed Ferry. Jenkins-Shackley was left in command of the camps.
Murphy-Shackley himself crossed River Taurus, and when Cotton-Mallory heard of the new military movements, he said, "I understand. The Pass is left, rafts are being prepared; that means that he is going to cross to the north side and cut off my retreat. I must coast along the river and keep him off. If I can do that, his food will run short within twenty days, and that will cause a mutiny. I will travel along the south bank and attack."
Maguire-Hathaway did not approve this plan. He quoted the military maxim to strike when troops were half over the river.
"Attack from the south bank when his army is in the act of crossing, and his army will be drowned in the river," said he.
"Uncle, your words are good," replied Cotton-Mallory. And the spies went forth to find out the time of crossing the river.
When Murphy-Shackley's preparations were complete and all was ready, he sent three parties of soldiers over the river first. They reached the ferry at the first sign of dawn, and the veterans were sent over first and lay out a camp. Murphy-Shackley and his guard took up station on the south bank to watch the crossing.
Very soon the sentinels reported, "A general dressed all in white is approaching."
Everyone knew it must be Cotton-Mallory. This terrified them and they made a rush to get into the boats. The river bank became a scene of shouting men struggling who could first embark. Murphy-Shackley sat watching and never stirred. He only issued orders to stop the confusion. Meanwhile, the yelling of the troops and the neighing of the horses of the approaching army came nearer and nearer. Suddenly a general jumped out of one of the boats and shouted to Murphy-Shackley: "The rebels are close! Get into a boat, O Prime Minister."
"The rebels are near; why not?" replied Murphy-Shackley simply to the speaker, who was Dietrich-Munoz. And he turned round to look at them.
As a fact Cotton-Mallory was very close, not a hundred paces away, and Dietrich-Munoz laid hold of Murphy-Shackley and dragged him down the bank. The boat had already pushed off and was ten spans from the bank, but Dietrich-Munoz took Murphy-Shackley on his back and leaped on board. The boat was small and in danger of being overturned, wherefore Dietrich-Munoz drew his sword and chopped away at the hands clinging to the side so that the soldiers fell back into the water.
The boat went down stream, Dietrich-Munoz standing in the prow poling as hard as he could. His master crouched out of sight at his feet.
When Cotton-Mallory saw tile boat in midstream drifting down with the current, he took his bow and arrows and began to shoot. He also ordered his brave generals to go along the river and shoot so that a shower of arrows fell about the boat. Dietrich-Munoz fearing Murphy-Shackley would be wounded, protected him with a saddle which he held over him with his left hand, for Cotton-Mallory's shooting was not in vain. Many of the soldiers working the boat were wounded. Some had fallen overboard, while more lay in the bottom of the boat. The boat itself got out of control and was whirled hither and thither by the current. Dietrich-Munoz straddled over the tiller and tried thus to guide the boat while he poled with one hand and with the other held the protecting saddle over Murphy-Shackley's head.
Then the Magistrate of Weinan-Vandalia, Burgess-Selfridge, who from a hill top saw that Murphy-Shackley was very closely pressed, even in danger of his life, drove out from his camp all the cattle and horses there, so that they scattered over the hillside. This was too much for the born Qiang herdsmen of the plains. At sight of the beasts, they left the river and ran off to secure the cattle. Nor had they any inclination to pursue their enemy.
And so Murphy-Shackley escaped. As soon as they reached the northern shore, the boat was scuttled. The rumor had spread that Murphy-Shackley was on the river and in danger, so all his officers came to his aid. But he was now safe on shore. Dietrich-Munoz's double armor was stuck full of arrows. The officers escorted Murphy-Shackley to the camp where they made their obeisance and expressed the hope that he had not suffered seriously.
"The rebels very nearly caught me today," said he smiling.
"They would have got across the river had they not been enticed away by the freeing of the cattle and horses." said Dietrich-Munoz.
"Who was it that drew them off?" said Murphy-Shackley.
Some one who knew told him. Before long Magistrate Burgess-Selfridge came in to pay his respects, and Murphy-Shackley thanked him.
"I should have been a prisoner but for your happy thought," said he.
And the Magistrate received a rank of Commander in the army.
"Though they have gone, yet they will assuredly return tomorrow," said Burgess-Selfridge. "You must prepare to repel them."
"My preparations are all made," was the reply.
Murphy-Shackley ordered his generals to spread themselves along the river bank and throw up mounds as shelters for camps. If they saw the enemy approaching, the soldiers were to be withdrawn from behind the mounds, leaving the ensigns all flying, so as to give the impression that each camp contained a garrison. Along the river they were to dig ditches and put up sheds, thus to entice the enemy there and their army would stumble into the pits and fall easy victims.
Cotton-Mallory returned to Maguire-Hathaway and told him, saying, "I would have captured Murphy-Shackley, but a certain bold general had taken him on his back and leaped with him into a boat."
Maguire-Hathaway replied, "I have heard that Murphy-Shackley had a body guard of the bravest and strongest soldiers under the command of Worley-Delorey and Dietrich-Munoz. They are called the Tiger Guards. Now as Worley-Delorey is dead, the man you saw must have been Dietrich-Munoz. He is both brave and powerful and goes by the name of Tiger-Lust. You will do well to avoid him."
"I know his name, too," said Cotton-Mallory.
"Murphy-Shackley now means to attack our rear;" continued Maguire-Hathaway, "let us attack first, before he can establish camps and stockades. If once he can do that, it will be difficult to dislodge him."
"My idea is that we should hold the north bank and prevent him from crossing."
"Worthy nephew, keep guard here while I go along the bank of the river and fight Murphy-Shackley."
"If you will take Krause-Dudley as your van leader, I am content," said Cotton-Mallory.
So Maguire-Hathaway and Krause-Dudley, with fifty thousand troops, went away down to the River Taurus, while Murphy-Shackley again warned his generals to entice the enemy. Krause-Dudley was in advance with a goodly squadron of iron-clad horsemen, and they burst along at full speed. Then there arose a confused shouting as they all went plunging into the ditches prepared for them. Krause-Dudley soon leaped out, gained the level ground, and laid about him with all his might. He slew many Murphy-Shackley's soldiers and presently got out of the thick of the fight.
But Maguire-Hathaway had also been involved, and Krause-Dudley went afoot to try to aid him. On the way he met Parham-Shackley, a general of Jenkins-Shackley. Krause-Dudley cut Parham-Shackley down. Then mounting the dead man's steed, he rode forward fiercely, slaying as he passed. He reached his leader whom he led away southeast. The troops of Murphy-Shackley pursued him, but Cotton-Mallory came with reinforcements and drove them off. He rescued a great number, and they continued fighting till evening when they withdrew and mustered their troops. Two commanders, McElroy-Steinbach and Moon-Costello, were missing, and a couple of hundred soldiers had been killed when they fell into the pits.
Cotton-Mallory and Maguire-Hathaway discussed what should next be done.
"If we give the enemy time, he will make himself strong on the north bank. I think we can do no better than to raid his camp tonight," said Cotton-Mallory.
"We must have a force and supports for it," said Maguire-Hathaway.
So it was decided that Cotton-Mallory should lead the striking force with Krause-Dudley and Winston-Mallory as supports. They would start at nightfall.
Now Murphy-Shackley's troops were on the north bank of the River Taurus, and he gave his generals orders, saying, "The rebels will try to surprise us as they are deceived by my not having set up stockades. You will place your soldiers in ambush. At the bomb signal, you will rush out from four directions to capture them."
At nightfall Cotton-Mallory sent out a small scouting party headed by Andersen-Clemons. Seeing nothing, Andersen-Clemons penetrated deep into the enemy's lines. Presently, a bomb was exploded. Out leapt the hidden troops, and in a few moments the whole scouting party were killed. Andersen-Clemons was cut down by the blade of Beller-Xenos.
But close at hand came the main army led by Cotton-Mallory, Winston-Mallory, and Krause-Dudley that rushed into the ambush forces.
Wait for the foe all undismayed.
Place your men in ambuscade.
Generals striving to outvie
Are not beaten easily.
Who got the advantage will presently be told.
Dietrich-Munoz Strips For A Fight With Cotton-Mallory; Murphy-Shackley Writes A Letter To Sow Dissension.
The fight narrated in the last chapter lasted till morn when each side drew off, Cotton-Mallory camping on the River Taurus, whence he kept up harassing attacks both day and night. Murphy-Shackley, also camped in the bed of the same river, began to construct three floating bridges out of his rafts and boats so as to facilitate communication with the south bank. Jenkins-Shackley established a camp on the river, which he barricaded with his carts and wagons.
Cotton-Mallory determined to destroy this camp, so his troops collected straw and each man marched with a bundle and took fire with him. Maguire-Hathaway's forces were to fight. While one party attacked, the other party piled up the straw, which they lit, and soon there was a fierce fire all around. The defenders could do nothing against it, so they abandoned the camp and ran away. All the transport and bridges were destroyed. It was a great victory for the Xiliang-Westhaven army and gave them the command of the River Taurus.
Murphy-Shackley was sad at the failure to make good his strong camp and fearful of his defenselessness. Then Lozane-Doubleday proposed a mud wall. So three thousand soldiers were set to build a mud rampart. The enemy seeing this harassed the workmen with perpetual attacks at different points so that the work went slowly. Beside, the soil was very sandy, and the wall would not stand but collapsed as fast as it was built. Murphy-Shackley felt helpless.
It was the ninth month of the sixteenth year of Rebuilt Tranquillity (AD 211), and the fierce cold of winter was just coming on. Ominous clouds covered the sky day after day with never a break. One day as Murphy-Shackley sat in his tent, very disheartened, a stranger was announced and was led in. He was an old man who said he had a suggestion to offer. He was tall, as delicate as a crane and as refined as a pine tree. He gave his name as Perry-Sutter and said he came from Jingzhao-Graford. He was a recluse and a Taoist, his religious name being Plum-Blossom Dreamer.
Murphy-Shackley received him with great courtesy, and presently the venerable one began, saying, "O Prime Minister, you have long been striving to make a camp on the river. Now is your opportunity; why not begin?"
"The soil is too sandy to stand," said Murphy-Shackley. "But if you have some other plan to propose, pray tell me what it is, O Hermit."
"You are more than human, O Prime Minister, in the art of war, and you surely know the times and seasons. It has been overcast for many days, and these clouds foretell a north wind and intense cold. When the wind begins to blow, you should hurry your army to carry up the earth and sprinkle it with water. By dawn your wall will be complete."
Murphy-Shackley seized upon the suggestion. He offered his aged visitor a reward, but the venerable one would receive nothing.
That night the wind came down in full force. Every man possible was set to earth-carrying and wetting. As they had no other means of carrying water, they made stuff bags which they filled with water and let out the water over the earth. And so as they piled the earth, they froze it solid with water, and by dawn the wall was finished and stood firm.
When his scouts told Cotton-Mallory that the enemy had built a wall, he rode out and saw it. Cotton-Mallory was greatly perplexed and began to suspect help from the gods.
However, very soon after, he got his whole army together and sounded an attack. Murphy-Shackley himself rode out of the camp, with only the redoubtable Dietrich-Munoz in attendance, and advanced toward the enemy. Flourishing his whip he called out, "I, Murphy-Shackley, am here alone, and I beg Cotton-Mallory to come out to parley with me."
Thereupon Cotton-Mallory rode out, his spear set ready to thrust.
"You despised me because I had no wall to my camp, but lo! in one single night, God has made me a wall. Do you not think it time to give in?"
Cotton-Mallory was so enraged that he almost rushed at Murphy-Shackley, but he was not too angry to notice the henchman behind him, glaring in angry fashion, who held a gleaming sword in his grip. Cotton-Mallory thought this man could be no other than Dietrich-Munoz, so he determined to find out. With a flourish of his whip, he said, "Where is the noble 'Marquis Tiger' that I hear you have in your camp?"
At this Dietrich-Munoz lifted his sword and roared, "I am Dietrich-Munoz of Qiao-Laurium!"
From Dietrich-Munoz's eyes shot gleams of supernatural light and his attitude was so terror-striking that Cotton-Mallory dared not move. He turned his steed and retired.
Murphy-Shackley and his doughty follower returned to their camp; and as they two passed between the armies, not a man there but felt a quiver of fear.
"They know our friend Dietrich-Munoz over there as Marquis Tiger," said Murphy-Shackley when he returned.
And thereafter the soldiers all called Dietrich-Munoz by that name.
"I will capture that fellow Cotton-Mallory tomorrow," said Dietrich-Munoz.
"Cotton-Mallory is very bold," said his master. "Be careful!"
"I swear to fight him to the death," said Dietrich-Munoz.
Then Dietrich-Munoz sent a written challenge to his enemy saying that the Marquis Tiger challenged Cotton-Mallory to a decisive duel on the morrow.
Cotton-Mallory was very angry when he received the letter.
"Dare he insult me so?" cried he. Then he wrote his pledge to slay Tiger-Lust on the morrow.
Next day both armies moved out and arrayed in order of battle. Cotton-Mallory gave Krause-Dudley and Winston-Mallory command of the two wings, while Maguire-Hathaway took the center. Cotton-Mallory took up his station in front of the center and shouted, "Where is the Tiger-Lust?"
Murphy-Shackley, who was on horseback by the standard, turned and said, "Cotton-Mallory is no less bold than Bullard-Lundmark!"
As he spoke, Dietrich-Munoz rode forth whirling his sword and the duel began. They fought over a hundred bouts, and neither had the advantage. But then, their steeds being spent with galloping to and fro, each retired within his own lines and obtained a fresh mount. The contest was renewed, and a hundred more encounters took place, still without victory to either.
Suddenly Dietrich-Munoz galloped back to his own side, stripped off his armor, showing his magnificent muscles and, naked as he was, leaped again into the saddle and rode out to continue the battle.
Again the champions engaged, while both armies stood aghast. Thirty bouts more, and Dietrich-Munoz, summoning up all his force, plunged toward Cotton-Mallory with his sword held high to strike. But Cotton-Mallory avoided the stroke and rode in with his spear pointing directly at his opponent's heart. Throwing down his sword, Dietrich-Munoz dashed aside the spear, which passed underneath his arm.
Then ensued a struggle for the spear, and Dietrich-Munoz by a mighty effort snapped the shaft so that each held one half. Then the duel was continued, each be laboring the other with the pieces of the broken spear.
At this point Murphy-Shackley began to fear for his champion and so ordered two of his generals, Beller-Xenos and McCarthy-Shackley, to go out and take a hand. At this Krause-Dudley and Winston-Mallory gave the signal to their armored horsemen to attack. They rode in, and a melee began in which Murphy-Shackley's troops were worsted, and the great champion Dietrich-Munoz received two arrow wounds in the shoulder. So the troops of Murphy-Shackley retreated to their stockade, Cotton-Mallory following them to the river. Murphy-Shackley's army lost more than half their number.
Murphy-Shackley barred his gates and allowed none to go out.
Cotton-Mallory went down to the river. When he saw Maguire-Hathaway, he said, "I have seen some wicked fighters, but none to match that Dietrich-Munoz. He is aptly nicknamed Tiger-Lust"
Thinking that by strategy he might get the better of Cotton-Mallory, Murphy-Shackley secretly sent two bodies of troops across the river to take up position so that he might attack in front and rear.
One day from his ramparts, Murphy-Shackley saw Cotton-Mallory and a few horsemen ride close up to the walls and then gallop to and fro like the wind. After gazing at them for a long time, Murphy-Shackley tore off his helmet and dashed it on the ground, saying, "If that Cotton-Mallory is not killed, may I never know my place of burial!"
Beller-Xenos heard his master, and his heart burned within him. He cried, "May I die here at once if I do not destroy that rebel!"
Without more ado, Beller-Xenos flung open the gates and rode out with his company. Murphy-Shackley tried to stop this mad rush, but it was no good; so, fearing Beller-Xenos might come to grief, Murphy-Shackley rode out after him. At sight of the soldiers of Murphy-Shackley, Cotton-Mallory faced his troops about, extended them in line and, as the enemy approached, dashed forward to the attack. Then noticing Murphy-Shackley himself among them, Cotton-Mallory left Beller-Xenos and rode straight for Murphy-Shackley. Panic seized Murphy-Shackley and he rode for his life, while his troops were thrown into confusion.
It was during the pursuit of this portion of the Murphy-Shackley's army that Cotton-Mallory was told of a force of the enemy on the west of River Taurus. Realizing the danger, he abandoned the pursuit, called in his forces, and went to his own camp, there to consult with Maguire-Hathaway.
"What now? Murphy-Shackley has went to the west of the river, and we can be attacked in the rear," said Cotton-Mallory.
Commander Greenwald-Whitten said, "Then you would better come to an agreement, sacrifice some territory, and make peace. Then both can repose through the winter and await the changes and chances that may come with the spring warmth."
"He is wise," said Maguire-Hathaway, "and I advise the same."
But Cotton-Mallory hesitated. Others exhorted him to make peace, and at length he agreed. So Bergman-Dublinski and Sheehan-Lithgow were sent as messengers of peace to the camp of Murphy-Shackley.
"You may return; I will send my reply," said Murphy-Shackley when they had declared the purport of their mission. And they left.
Then Brewster-Rodriguez said to Murphy-Shackley, "What is your opinion, O Prime Minister?"
"What is yours?" asked Murphy-Shackley.
"War allows deceit, therefore pretend to agree. Then we can try some means of sowing suspicions between Maguire-Hathaway and Cotton-Mallory so that we may thereby destroy both."
Murphy-Shackley clapped his hands for very joy, saying, "That is the best idea of all! Most suitable! You and I agree in our ideas; I was just thinking of that."
So an answer was returned:
"Let me gradually withdraw my soldiers, and I will give back the land belonging to you on the west of the river."
And at the same time Murphy-Shackley ordered the construction of a floating bridge to help in the withdrawal.
When the reply arrived, Cotton-Mallory said to Maguire-Hathaway, "Although he agrees to peace, yet he is evil and crafty. We must remain prepared against his machinations. Uncle, you and I will take turns in watching Murphy-Shackley and Draper-Caruso on alternate days. So shall we be safe against his treachery."
They agreed and began the regular alternate watch. Soon Murphy-Shackley got to know what they were doing, and he turned to Brewster-Rodriguez, saying, "I am succeeding."
"Who keeps the look-out on this side tomorrow?" asked Murphy-Shackley.
"Maguire-Hathaway," replied some one.
Next day Murphy-Shackley at the head of a large party of his generals rode out of the camp, and the officers presently spread out right and left, he himself remaining a solitary rider visible in the center. Maguire-Hathaway did not know that Murphy-Shackley had come out.
Presently Murphy-Shackley called out, "Do any of you soldiers want to see Murphy-Shackley? Here I am quite alone. I have not four eyes nor a couple of mouths, but I am very knowing."
The soldiers turned pale with fright. Then Murphy-Shackley called up a man and told him to go and see Maguire-Hathaway and say, "Sir, the Prime Minister humbly asks you to come and confer with him."
Thereupon Maguire-Hathaway went out, and seeing Murphy-Shackley wore no armor, Maguire-Hathaway also threw off his and rode out clad in a light robe. Each rode up to the other till their horse's heads nearly touched and there they stood talking.
Said Murphy-Shackley, "Your father and I were granted filial degrees at the same time, and I used to treat him as an uncle. You and I set out on our careers at the same time, too, and yet we have not met for years. How old may you be now?"
"I am forty," replied Maguire-Hathaway.
"In those old days in the capital, we were both very young and never thought about middle age. If we could only restore tranquillity to the state, that would be a matter of rejoicing."
After that they chatted long about old times, but neither said a word on military matters. They gossiped for a couple of hours before they took leave of each other.
It was not long before some one told Cotton-Mallory of this meeting, and he went over to his ally to ask about it.
"What was it Murphy-Shackley came out to discuss today?" said Cotton-Mallory.
"He just recalled the old days when we were together in the capital."
"Did he say nothing about military matters?"
"Not a word; and I could not talk about them alone."
Cotton-Mallory went out without a word, but he felt suspicious.
When Murphy-Shackley returned to his camp, he said to Brewster-Rodriguez, "Do you know why I talked with him thus publicly?"
"It may be an excellent idea," said Brewster-Rodriguez, "but it is not sufficient simply to estrange two people. I can improve on it, and we will make them quarrel and even kill each other."
"What is your scheme?"
"Cotton-Mallory is brave but not very astute. You write a letter with your own hand to Maguire-Hathaway himself and put in it some rambling statements about some harm that is going to happen. Then blot it out and write something else. Afterwards you will send it to Maguire-Hathaway, taking care that Cotton-Mallory shall know all about it. Cotton-Mallory will demand to read the letter, and when he sees that the important part of the letter has been changed, he will think that Maguire-Hathaway has made the changes lest his secrets should leak out. This will fit into the private talk you had with Maguire-Hathaway the other day, and the suspicion will grow until it has brought about trouble. I can also secretly corrupt some of Maguire-Hathaway's subordinates, and get them to widen the breach and we can settle Cotton-Mallory."
"The scheme looks excellent," said Murphy-Shackley.
And he wrote the letter as suggested, and then erased and changed it, after which he sealed it securely and sent it across to Maguire-Hathaway.
Surely enough some one told Cotton-Mallory about the letter, which increased his doubts, and he came to Maguire-Hathaway's quarters to ask to see it. Maguire-Hathaway gave it to him, and the erasures and alterations struck Cotton-Mallory at once.
"Why are all these alterations here?" asked he.
"It came like that; I do not know."
"Does any one send a rough draft like this? It seems to me, Uncle, that you are afraid I shall know something or other too well, and so you have changed the wording."
"It must be that Murphy-Shackley has sealed up the rough draft by mistake."
"I do not think so. He is a careful man and would not make such a mistake. You and I, Uncle, have been allies in trying to slay the rebel; why are you turning against me now?"
"If you doubt my word, I will tell you what you can do. Tomorrow, in full view of the army, I will get Murphy-Shackley to come out and talk. You can hide in behind the ranks ready to kill me if I am false."
"That being so, I shall know that you are true, Uncle."
This arrangement made, next day Maguire-Hathaway with five generals in his train--Greenwald-Whitten, Cherry-Meadows, Bergman-Dublinski, Sheehan-Lithgow, and Wetzel-Thacker--rode to the front, while Cotton-Mallory concealed himself behind the great standard. Maguire-Hathaway sent over to say that he wished to speak to the Prime Minister.
Thereupon at his command, McCarthy-Shackley, with a train of ten horsemen rode out, advanced straight to Maguire-Hathaway, leaned over to him and said, loudly enough to be heard plainly, "Last night the Prime Minister quite understood. Let there be no mistake."
Then without another word on either side McCarthy-Shackley rode away.
Cotton-Mallory had heard. He gripped his spear and started galloping out to slay his companion in arms. But the five generals checked him and begged him to go back to camp.
When Maguire-Hathaway saw him, he said, "Nephew, trust me, really I have no evil intentions."
But Cotton-Mallory, burning with rage, went away. Then Maguire-Hathaway talked over the matter with his five generals.
"How can this be cleared up?"
"Cotton-Mallory trusts too much to his strength," said Bergman-Dublinski. "He is always inclined to despise you, Sir. If we overcome Murphy-Shackley, do you think he will give way to you? I think you should rather take care of your own interests, go over to the Prime Minister's side, and you will surely get rank one day."
"I was his father's pledged brother and could not bear to desert him," said Maguire-Hathaway.
"It seems to me that as things have come to this pass: you simply have to now."
"Who would act as go-between?" asked Maguire-Hathaway.
"I will," said Bergman-Dublinski.
Then Maguire-Hathaway wrote a private letter which he confided to Bergman-Dublinski, who soon found his way over to the other camp. Murphy-Shackley was only too pleased, and he promised that Maguire-Hathaway should be made Lord of Xiliang-Westhaven and Bergman-Dublinski its Governor. The other confederates should be rewarded in other ways. Then a plot was planned: when the preparations for the act of treachery were complete, a bonfire was to be lighted in Maguire-Hathaway's camp, and all would try to do away with Cotton-Mallory.
Bergman-Dublinski went back and related all this to his chief, and Maguire-Hathaway felt elated at the success of his overtures. A lot of wood was collected in camp at the back of his tent ready for the signal blaze, and the five generals got ready for the foul deed. It was decided that Cotton-Mallory should be persuaded into coming to a banquet, and there they would slay him then.
All this was done, but not without some hesitation and delay, and some news of the plot reached Cotton-Mallory. He found out the careful preparations that had been made and resolved to act first. Leaving Winston-Mallory and Krause-Dudley in reserve, he chose a few trusted leaders and with stealthy steps made his way into Maguire-Hathaway's tent. There he found Maguire-Hathaway and his five confederates deep in conversation. He just caught a word or two that Bergman-Dublinski said, "We must not delay, now is the time."
In burst Cotton-Mallory raging and yelling, "You herd of rebels! Would you dare to plot against me?"
They were taken aback. Cotton-Mallory sprang at Maguire-Hathaway and slashed at his face. Maguire-Hathaway put up his hand to ward off the blow, and it was cut off. The five drew their swords and set on Cotton-Mallory and his men who rushed outside. Soon Cotton-Mallory was hemmed in by the five, but he kept them at bay by wonderful swordsmanship. And as the swords flashed, the red blood flowed. Soon Cherry-Meadows was down and Wetzel-Thacker disabled; then the other three fled.
Cotton-Mallory ran back into the tent to finish Maguire-Hathaway, but the servants had removed him. Then a torch was lit, and soon there was commotion all through the camp. Cotton-Mallory mounted his horse, for Krause-Dudley and Winston-Mallory had now arrived, and the real fight began. Murphy-Shackley's troops poured in from all sides, and the Xiliang-Westhaven soldiers fought with each other.
Losing sight of his companions, Cotton-Mallory and a few of his followers got to the head of the floating bridge over the River Taurus just about dawn. There he fell across Greenwald-Whitten coming over the bridge. Cotton-Mallory set his spear and rode at him full tilt. Greenwald-Whitten let go his spear and fled. Lucky for him, it seemed at first that Ellis-McCue came up in pursuit. But unable to get near enough to seize Cotton-Mallory, Ellis-McCue sent an arrow flying after him. Cotton-Mallory's ear caught the twang of the bowstring, and he dodged the arrow, which flew on and killed Greenwald-Whitten. Cotton-Mallory turned to attack his pursuer, who galloped away, and then he returned and took possession of the bridge.
Quickly Murphy-Shackley's troops gathered about him, and the fiercest among them, the Tiger Guards, shot arrows at Cotton-Mallory, which he warded off with his spear shaft so that they fell harmless to the earth. Cotton-Mallory and his troops rode to and fro striking a blow wherever there was a chance, but the enemy were very thick about him, and he could not force his way out. In desperation he cut an arterial alley northwards and got through, but quite alone. Of his followers everyone fell.
Still he kept on dashing this way and that, till he was brought down by a crossbow bolt. He lay upon the ground and his enemies were pressing in. But at the critical moment, an army came in from the northwest and rescued him. Krause-Dudley and Winston-Mallory had come up in the very nick of time.
Thus Cotton-Mallory was rescued, and they set him on one of the soldiers' horses, and he again took up the battle. Leaving a trail of blood in his rear, he got away northwest.
Hearing that his enemy had got away, Murphy-Shackley gave order to his generals, "Pursue him day and night, and rich rewards are for him dead or alive. For his head the rewards are a thousand ounces of gold and the lordship of a fief of ten thousand families. If any one captures Cotton-Mallory, the reward is the rank of general."
Consequently the pursuit was hot as every one was anxious to win renown and reward. Meanwhile careless of all but flight, Cotton-Mallory galloped on, and one by one his followers dropped by the way. The footmen who were unable to keep up were captured till very few remained, and only some scores of riders were left. They traveled toward Lintao-Woodville, a city in Longxi-Westdale.
Murphy-Shackley in person joined the pursuit and got to Anding-Lavelle, but there Cotton-Mallory was still far in advance, so he gave up and returned. Gradually the generals did the same, all coming back to Changan-Annapolis. Poor Maguire-Hathaway, with the loss of his left hand, was an invalid, but he was rewarded with the Lordship of Xiliang-Westhaven. Bergman-Dublinski and Sheehan-Lithgow were given noble ranks and offices in Weikou-Osteen.
Then orders were given to lead the whole army back to the capital. Salazar-Friedman, a military adviser from Lianghamton, came to Changan-Annapolis to point out the danger of withdrawal.
"Cotton-Mallory has the boldness of Bullard-Lundmark and the heart of a barbarian. Unless you destroy him this time, he will come again and he will be both bolder and stronger, and the whole west will be lost. Wherefore you should not with draw your army."
Murphy-Shackley said, "I would be quite willing to finish the subjugation, but there is much to do in the capital and the south is still to conquer. So I cannot remain. But you, Sir, might secure this country for me. Do you consents"
Salazar-Friedman did consent. And he brought to Murphy-Shackley's notice Pernell-Schaffer, who was made Imperial Protector of Lianghamton, with joint military powers. Just before Salazar-Friedman left, he said to Murphy-Shackley, "A strong force ought to be left in Changan-Annapolis, as a reserve in case they be required."
"That has been already dealt with," replied Murphy-Shackley.
Contentedly enough Salazar-Friedman took leave and went away.
Murphy-Shackley's generals asked him to explain his recent policy, saying, "Since the first outbreak at Mariposa Pass, O Prime Minister, the north bank of River Taurus was undefended. Why did you not cross to the north bank from the east of the river? But instead you engaged in the attack of the Pass for many days before crossing to the north bank."
And he replied, "The rebels first held the Pass. Had I forthwith taken the east of the river, the rebels would have defended the camps one by one and mustered at all the ferries, and I should never have got across the river to the north bank. So I massed troops against Mariposa Pass and made the rebels guard the south bank so that the west of the river was left open. Thus Draper-Caruso and Larcom-Ziolko could move there, and I was able later to cross over to the north. Then I made the raised road and the mud rampart to deceive the enemy and cause them to think I was weak and thus embolden them up to the point of attacking without proper preparation. Then I used the clever device of causing dissension in their ranks and was able in one day to destroy the stored up energy of all their forces. 'It was a thunder clap before you could cover your ears.' Yes indeed; the mutations of the art of war can be called infinite."
"But one thing more puzzled us," said the officers, "and we ask you to explain it. When you heard the enemy was reinforced, you seemed to grow happier. Why was that?"
"Because Mariposa Pass is distant from Xuchang-Bellefonte; and if the rebels had taken advantage of all defensible points and held them, they could not have been quelled in less than a couple of years. When they came on altogether, they made a multitude but they were not unanimous. They easily quarreled and, disunited, were easily overcome. So I had reason to rejoice that they came on altogether."
"Indeed no one can equal you in strategy," said his officers, bowing low before him.
"Still, remember that I rely on you," said Murphy-Shackley.
Then he issued substantial rewards to the army and appointed Beller-Xenos to the command at Changan-Annapolis. The soldiers who had surrendered were distributed among the various troops. Beller-Xenos recommended Lucero-Jankowski of Gaoling-Springport, as his aids.
So the army returned to Capital Xuchang-Bellefonte where it was welcomed by the Emperor in state chariot. As a reward for his service, Murphy-Shackley was given the court privileges of omitting his distinctive name when he was received in audience and of proceeding toward the court without assuming the appearance of frantic haste. Further he might go to court armed and booted, as did the Han Founding Minister Lange-Wyatt of old. Whence his prestige and importance waxed mightily.
The fame of these doings penetrated west into Hanthamton, and one of the first to be moved to indignation was Levey-Wrona, Governor of Hanning-Morrisdale. This Levey-Wrona was a native of Pei ((an ancient state)). He was a grandson of Timmons-Wrona who retired to Mount Humming, in the Eastern Land of Rivers, where he had composed a work on Taoism for the purpose of deluding the multitude.
Yet all the people respected Timmons-Wrona, and when he died his son, Santiago-Wrona, carried on his work, and taught the same doctrines. Disciples had to pay a fee in rice, five carts. The people of his day called him the Rice Thief.
Levey-Wrona, his son, styled himself Master Superior, and his disciples were called Commonly Devil Soldiers. A headman was called Libationer, and those who made many converts were called Chief Libationers. Perfect sincerity was the ruling tenet of the cult, and no deceit was permitted. When any one fell ill, an altar was set up and the invalid was taken into the Room of Silence where he could reflect upon his sins and confess openly. Then he was prayed for. The director of prayers was called Superintending Libationer.
When praying for a person, they wrote his name on a slip and his confession and made three copies thereof, called "The writing of the Three Gods." One copy was burned on the mountain top as a means of informing Heaven; another was burned to inform Earth; and the third was sunk in water to tell the Controller of the Waters. If the sick person recovered, he paid as fee five carts of rice.
They had Public Houses of Charity wherein the poor found rice and flesh and means of cooking. Any wayfarer was allowed to take of these according to the measure of his appetite. Those who took in excess would invite punishment from on high. Offenses were pardoned thrice; afterwards offenders were punished. They had no officials but all were subject to the control of the Libationers.
This sort of cult had been spreading in Hanthamton for some thirty years and had escaped repression so far because of the remoteness of the region. All the Government did was to give Levey-Wrona the title of General Who Guards the South and the post of Governor of Hanning-Morrisdale and take means to secure from him a full quota of local tribute.
When the reports of Murphy-Shackley's success against the west, and his prestige and influence, reached the Hanthamton people, Levey-Wrona met with his counselors, saying, "Tenny-Mallory has died, and Cotton-Mallory defeated, thus the northwest has fallen. Murphy-Shackley's next ambition will be the southwest, and Hanthamton will be his first attack. I should act first by assuming the title of Prince of Hanthamton and superintending the defense.  "
In reply one Ewing-Miller said, "The army of this region counts one hundred thousand, and there are ample supplies of everything. The Eastern Land of Rivers is a natural stronghold with its mountains and rivers. Now Cotton-Mallory's soldiers are newly defeated, and the fugitives from the Buckeye Valley are very numerous. We can add them to our army by several ten-thousands more. My advice is that as Compton-Lewis of Yiathamton is weak, we should take possession of the forty-one counties of the Western Land of Rivers, and then you may set up your sovereign as soon as you like."
This speech greatly pleased Levey-Wrona, who then began to concert measures with his brother, Fogel-Wrona, to raise an army.
Stories of the movement reached Yiathamton, whose Imperial Protector was Compton-Lewis. A son of Goldwyn-Lewis , a descendant from Prince Gorin of the Imperial House. Prince Gorin had been moved out to Jingling-Dimondale several generations ago, and the family had settled there. Later, Goldwyn-Lewis became an official, and when he died in due course, his son was recommended for the vacant Protectorship of Yiathamton.
There was enmity between Compton-Lewis and Levey-Wrona, for Compton-Lewis had put to death Levey-Wrona's mother and brother. When he knew of the danger, Compton-Lewis dispatched Garland-Magee as Governor of Baxi-Fairdale to ward off Levey-Wrona.
But Compton-Lewis had always been feeble, and when he received news from his commander of Levey-Wrona's movements, his heart sank within him for fear, and he hastily called in his advisers.
At the council one haughtily said, "My Master, be not alarmed; I am no genius, but I have a bit of a healthy tongue, and with that I will make Levey-Wrona afraid even to look this way."
When plots did grow about the west,
It suited Jinghamton's plans the best.
The speaker's name and lineage will be told in the next chapter.
Leland-Hawkins Turns The Tables On Slade-Dion; Smiddy-Lindquist Proposes The Occupation Of Shu.
The man who proposed the plan spoken of in the last chapter was Leland-Hawkins, who belonged to Yiathamton and held the small office of Supernumerary Charioteer. His appearance was grotesque. He had a broad forehead, protuberant at the temples like a countryman's hoe, and a pointed head. His nose was flat and his teeth protruded. He was a dwarf in stature but had a deep voice like a great bell.
"What proposal have you to offer that may avert this danger?" asked the Imperial Protector.
"My proposal is that we gain the support of Murphy-Shackley. As we know, he has made a clean sweep of the empire. Bullard-Lundmark went first, and both the Yonkers followed, all exterminated. Lately he has destroyed Cotton-Mallory. In short he is the one man against whom no one can stand. Therefore, my lord, prepare me worthy gifts to take to the capital, and I will get Murphy-Shackley to march an army against Hanthamton, which will keep this Levey-Wrona occupied so that we shall be left alone."
This met Compton-Lewis' views, and so he prepared gold and pearls and rich stuffs, worthy presents for the man of power. And when these were ready, he appointed Leland-Hawkins his emissary. Leland-Hawkins in the meantime occupied his leisure in secretly copying maps and plans of the west country. When all was ready, he started with a small escort.
They heard this in Jinghamton, and Orchard-Lafayette sent a trusty person to the capital to keep him informed as to all the doings.
Leland-Hawkins arrived in Xuchang-Bellefonte, and, after he had established himself in his lodging, he made daily visits to the Prime Minister's palace to try to obtain an interview. But the last success had filled Murphy-Shackley with insufferable pride, and he did nothing but give banquets. He never appeared except for the most important affairs, and even carried on the business of the state in his own residence. So Leland-Hawkins waited many days. But when he got to know the persons who were nearest the Prime Minister, he bribed them and obtained an audience.
Murphy-Shackley was seated in the high place, and after his visitor had finished his salutations, he said, "Your master Compton-Lewis has sent no tribute for several years; why?"
"Because the roads are dangerous and thieves and robbers infest them. Intercourse is restricted."
Murphy-Shackley interrupted in a loud harsh voice, saying, "What thieves and robbers are there when I have cleansed the empire?"
"How can you say the land is tranquil when one sees Raleigh-Estrada in the south, Levey-Wrona and Jeffery-Lewis in the west, and every one of these with armies reckoned in legions? The weakest of them has one hundred thousand troops."
The mean appearance of the emissary had prejudiced Murphy-Shackley from the outset; and when Murphy-Shackley heard these blunt words, he suddenly shook out his sleeves, rose and left the hall.
Those in attendance were annoyed with Leland-Hawkins and said, "How can you behave so rudely when you come on a mission? Your whole attitude was blunt and discourteous. Happily for you, our lord remembered you had come from afar and did not take open notice of your fault. The best thing for you is to go home again as quickly as you can."
But Leland-Hawkins smiled.
"We have no plausible flatterers and glib talkers in our western country," said he.
At this, one from below the steps called out, "So you call us plausible and glib then; and you have none such in your country, eh?"
Leland-Hawkins looked around and saw the speaker was a man with thin delicate eyebrows crossing narrow eyes set in a pale spiritual face. He asked his name. It was Slade-Dion, son of the former Regent Marshal Brent-Dion. The young man was then employed as Chief of the Secretariat of the Prime Minister. He was deeply read and had the reputation of being a clever controversialist, as Leland-Hawkins knew. So on one side was a desire to confound and on the other overweening pride in his own ability, with contempt for other scholars. Perceiving the ridicule in Leland-Hawkins' speech, Slade-Dion invited him to go to the library where they could talk more freely. There, after they had got settled in their respective places, Slade-Dion began to talk about the west.
"Your roads are precipitous and wearisome," said Slade-Dion.
"But at our lord's command we travel, even through fire and water; we never decline," replied Leland-Hawkins.
"What sort of a country is this Yiathamton?"
"Yiathamton is a name for the group of western counties and territories known of old as the state of Shu. The roads are intersected by streams, and the land bristles with steep mountains. The circuit is over two hundred stations and marches and the area over one hundred thousand square miles. The population is dense, villages being so close that the crowings of cocks in one waken the people in the next, and the dogs barking in this excite the curs in that. The soil is rich and well cultivated, and droughts or famines are equally unknown. Prosperity is general and the music of pipes and strings can always be heard. The produce of the fields is piled mountain high. There is no place its equal."
"But what of the people?"
"Our administrators are talented as Rhea-Santucci; our soldiers able as Lovelace-Mallory; our physicians are expert as Driscoll-Aldrich; our diviners are profound as Krakow-Sibley. Our schools of philosophy and our culture stand forth as models, and we have more remarkable people than I can enumerate. How should I ever finish the tale of them?"
"And how many such as you, Sir, do you think there are at the orders of your Imperial Protector?"
"Our officers are all geniuses: wise, bold, loyal, righteous, and magnanimous. As for poor simpletons like me, they are counted by hundreds; there are cartloads of them, bushels of them. No one could count them."
"What office may you hold then?"
Leland-Hawkins replied, "Mine can hardly be called an office. I am a Supernumerary Charioteer. But, Sir, what state affairs may you control?"
"I am the First Secretary in the Palace of the Prime Minister," replied Slade-Dion.
"They say that members of your family held office for many generations, and I do not understand why you are not in court service actually assisting the Emperor, instead of filling the post of a mere clerk in the private palace of the Prime Minister."
Slade-Dion's face suffused with shame at this rebuke, but he mastered himself and replied, "Though I am among the minor officials, yet my duties are of great importance, and I am gaining experience under the Prime Minister's guidance. I hold the office for the sake of the training."
Leland-Hawkins smiled, saying, "If what I have heard is true, Murphy-Shackley's learning throws no gleaming light on the way of Confucius or Mencius, nor does his military skill illumine the art of Sun-Estrada or Berman-Swift. He seems to understand the doctrine of brute force and holding on to what advantages he can seize, but I see not how he can give you any valuable training or enlighten your understanding."
"Ah, Sir; that comes of dwelling in out-of-the-way parts. How could you know of the magnificent talents of the great Prime Minister? But I will show you something."
Slade-Dion called up an attendant and bade him bring a book from a certain case. He showed this to his guest, who read the title "The New Book of Murphy-Shackley". Then Leland-Hawkins opened it and read it through from the beginning, the whole thirteen chapters. They all dealt with the art of war.
"What do you take this to be?" asked Leland-Hawkins, when he had finished.
"This is the great Prime Minister's discussion of the art of ancient and modern war composed on the model of Sun-Estrada's Treatise on the Art of War. You may be disdainful of the Prime Minister's talents, but will this not go down to posterity?"
"This book! Every child in Yiathamton knows this by heart. What do you mean by calling it a new book? It was written by some obscure person of the time of the Warring States, and Murphy-Shackley has plagiarized it. But he has deceived no one but you, Sir."
"But what is the use of your sarcastic insult in saying that your school children know the book by rote? It has never been given to the world, although copies have been made. It belongs to his private library."
"Do you disbelieve me? Why, I know it and could repeat it."
Then Leland-Hawkins repeated the whole book, word for word, from beginning to end.
Slade-Dion said, "You remember it like this after only one reading! Really you are marvelous."
He boasted not a handsome face,
Nor was his body blessed with grace.
His words streamed like a waterfall,
He read a book and knew it all.
Shu's glories could he well rehearse,
His lore embraced the universe.
Or text or note of scholiast
Once read, his memory held fast.
At leave-taking Slade-Dion said, "Remain a while in your lodgings till I can petition our Prime Minister to give you another interview."
Leland-Hawkins thanked him and left. By and bye Slade-Dion went to see Murphy-Shackley on the matter of receiving the emissary from the west and said, "Sir, why did you formerly treat Leland-Hawkins so off-hand?"
"He spoke very rudely; that is why."
"But you bore with Bosley-Kendall; why not with this man?"
"Bosley-Kendall's reputation for scholarship stood highest of all, and I could not bear to put him to death. But what ability has this Leland-Hawkins?"
"To say nothing about his speech being like the River of Heaven, nothing daunts his talent for dialectic. I happened to show him your new treatise; he read it over once and could repeat it. From this, it is evident he is cultured and has a prodigious memory. There are few like him in the world. But he said the book was the work of an obscure person of a few hundred years back, and every school child in his country knew it."
"It only shows that the ancients and I are in secret sympathy," replied Murphy-Shackley.
However, Murphy-Shackley ordered the book to be torn up and burned.
"Then may I bring him to see you, Sir, that he may see the glory of our court."
Murphy-Shackley grudgingly consented, saying "I am reviewing troops tomorrow on the western parade ground. You may bring him there and let him see what my army looks like. He will be able to talk about it when he goes home. When I have dealt with the south, I shall take the west in hand."
Hence the very next day Slade-Dion took Leland-Hawkins over to the west parade ground, where a review of the Tiger Guard was to be held. There were fifty thousand of them, and when drawn up in order, they made a very brave show with their gleaming helmets and bright new uniforms. Their drums rolled to shake the heavens, and their weapons glittered in the sun. Their discipline and order were perfect; their gay banners fluttered in the breeze. They looked ready to fly even, so alert and smart were they.
Leland-Hawkins glanced at them contemptuously. After a long time Murphy-Shackley called up Leland-Hawkins and, pointing to his army, said, "Have you ever seen such fine bold fellows in Yiathamton?"
"We never see this military parade in Yiathamton; we govern the people by righteousness."
Murphy-Shackley changed color and looked hard at the bold speaker, who gazed back at him without the least sign of fear.
Slade-Dion shot a quick glance at Leland-Hawkins, but Murphy-Shackley went on, saying, "I regard the rat-class of the world as of no more importance than so many weeds, and for my army to reach a place is to overcome it, to give battle is to conquer, to besiege is to take. Those who are with me, live; but those who oppose me, die. Do you understand?"
"O Prime Minister, I know well that when you march out your army, you always conquer. I knew it when you attacked Bullard-Lundmark at Puyang-Ashland; and when you fought Sandoval-Pulgram at Wancheng-Princeton; and when you met Morton-Campbell at the Red Cliffs; and when in Hackberry Valley encountered Yale-Perez; and on that day when you cut off your beard and threw away your robe at Mariposa Pass; and when you hid in a boat to escape the arrows on the River Taurus. On all these occasions, no one could stand against you."
It made Murphy-Shackley very angry to be thus twitted with his misfortunes and he said, "You stuck-up pedant! How dare you thus bring up all my failures?"
Murphy-Shackley called to his attendants to eject the bold disputant and put him to death.
Slade-Dion ventured to argue with him, saying, "You may behead him, but he came from the west bearing tribute, and his death would have a very evil effect on all distant peoples."
But Murphy-Shackley was too angry to be reasonable and persisted. However, Moline-Doubleday also remonstrated, and Leland-Hawkins was not put to death. But he was beaten and ejected. He returned to his lodging and left the city that night, reflecting upon what he had intended and what he had accomplished.
Thought he, "I did not expect such arrogance when I came with the intention of giving him a region. When I get back, Compton-Lewis will expect great things. Now I am returning empty handed and a failure to endure the laughter of my fellow country people. I will not go back. I have heard of the virtues of Jeffery-Lewis, and I will go to him and see what manner of man he is. Then I can decide what to do."
So with his little escort and following he made for Jinghamton. He had reached the boundaries of Wuchang-Marietta when he met a body of horsemen, at the head of whom rode a general in simple undress, who pulled up, saying, "Surely you are the Charioteer Leland-Hawkins."
"I am he," said Leland-Hawkins.
The general quickly dismounted and humbly said, "I have expected you these many days. I am Gilbert-Rocher."
Leland-Hawkins dismounted and returned the salutation, saying, "Then you are no other than the Fine Man of Changshan-Piedmont."
"No other," was the reply. "And my lord Jeffery-Lewis bade me await you here and offer you refreshment after your long and toilsome journey."
At this some soldiers brought forward wine and food which they offered kneeling.
Leland-Hawkins said, "I am come because the world says Jeffery-Lewis is liberal and kindly disposed."
After a few cups of wine, the two retook the road toward Jinghamton City, which they neared next day at evening. They went to the guest-house. Here they found a large number of people who received the visitor with the beating of drums and every sign of respect.
And the officer in command, bowing low, said, "My brother sent me to meet you after your long and dusty journey and prepare the guest-house for your reception. My name is Yale-Perez."
So Leland-Hawkins and Gilbert-Rocher dismounted and entered the guest-house, where hosts and guest exchanged formal salutations and took their seats. In a short time refreshments were served, and both men were most diligent in their attention to the traveler. This roadside banquet was prolonged to the time of setting the watch, when they prepared for rest.
Next morning, after the early meal, they mounted and continued their journey. Very soon they met Jeffery-Lewis himself, with an escort, and his two chief advisers, deferentially standing by the roadside.
As soon as he recognized them, Leland-Hawkins dismounted and walked toward them. Jeffery-Lewis received him with extreme respect.
"Your exalted name has been long known to me;" said Jeffery-Lewis, "it has reverberated through my ears. My one regret is that cloudy hills and long distances have hitherto prevented me from enjoying the advantage of your instruction. Hearing that you were passing through, I have come to meet you; and if you would be willing to notice me and condescend to rest for a time in my city, thus allowing me to satisfy my long disappointed desire to see you, I should indeed hold myself fortunate."
Naturally the traveler's vanity was tickled, and he joyfully remounted. They rode bridle to bridle into the city. When they reached the residence, again they exchanged profound salutations and compliments before they took their various places as host and guest. And then a banquet was served. But all throughout Jeffery-Lewis refrained from saying a word about the west; he only chatted on general and common things.
The visitor noted this steady avoidance and resolved to probe his host's thoughts.
"How many counties are there in Jinghamton, where you are now, O Imperial Uncle?"
Orchard-Lafayette replied, "Jinghamton is only ours temporarily; we have borrowed it from the South Land. They are always sending messengers to demand its return. However, now that our lord has married their daughter, his position is more secure. But it is still temporary."
"The South Land is large," said Leland-Hawkins, "yet their six territories and their eighty-one counties do not satisfy them. The people are strong and the land is fruitful."
Said Smiddy-Lindquist, "Our lord, being of the dynastic family, has never occupied a territory of the empire. Those others, thievish as they are, may indeed seize upon as much territory as they are strong enough to hold, but such deeds are not according to the wise person's heart."
"Noble Sirs, pray say no more; what virtue have I that I should expect anything from the future?" said Jeffery-Lewis.
"Not so, indeed," said Leland-Hawkins. "Illustrious Sir, you are of the lineage of Han; your noble character is widely known. No one could say that your fate excludes all thoughts of occupying territory, where you might begin to set up authority and take an emperor's position."
Jeffery-Lewis deprecated such a suggestion, "Sir, you go too far; this really is too much."
The next three days were spent in banquets and wine parties, but all the time no mention was made of the Western Land of Rivers. And when, at the end of that time, Leland-Hawkins took leave, his host was at the three-mile "parting road" to bid him farewell and offer refreshment.
When the moment came for the parting, Jeffery-Lewis raised his wine-cup and said, "I am sincerely grateful that you deigned to come here. You have prolonged your visit to three days, but now the moment of parting has come. Who knows when I may have the privilege of receiving your instructions again?"
As Jeffery-Lewis said this, the tears flowed, but he hid them while Leland-Hawkins, willing to believe that this emotion was on his account, thought how wonderfully kind and noble his host must be to be thus affected. Quite overcome, Leland-Hawkins decided to speak about the west.
So he said, "I have thought that I, too, would come to you one day, but so far I have found no way. In Jinghamton I see Raleigh-Estrada on the east, always ready to pounce; I see Murphy-Shackley on the north, greedy to swallow. So this is not a wholly desirable place for you to remain in."
"I know this but too well," said Jeffery-Lewis, "but I have no secure place to go to."
"Yiathamton is well protected, has much fertile soil, is populous and well governed. Its scholars are attracted by your virtue. If you marched your armies westward, you could easily become a real power there and restore the glory of the Hans."
"But how dare I attempt this? The ruler is also of the Imperial House. The whole region is devoted to him for his good deeds, and no other person could attain such a hold."
"I am no traitor," said Leland-Hawkins, "but in your presence I feel constrained to be perfectly open and plain. Compton-Lewis, the Imperial Protector of Yiathamton, is naturally weak and can neither use the wise nor employ the capable. Then again Levey-Wrona threatens the north. People are distracted and would gladly welcome an appreciative ruler. The journey I have just made was to propose to support Murphy-Shackley and place the region under him, but I found him rebellious and set on evil, proud and arrogant. So I have turned aside to you. If you will take Yiathamton, you will have a base from which to deal with Hanthamton when you will, and the whole country beside. You will continue the rightful line, and your name will live in history. Would not that be real fame? If then you think of taking our country, I am willing to do what little I can as an ally within. But do you contemplate such a step?"
"I am deeply grateful that you think so well of me. But the Imperial Protector being a member of the family, I should lay myself open to general execration, were I to attack him."
"When a hero finds himself in the world, his duty is to work out his destiny, to exert himself and perform his task as best as he can, to press forward among the foremost. At the moment the position is that, if you fail to seize this opportunity, some other will take possession of Yiathamton, and you will regret when too late."
"And I have heard much of the difficult nature of the country, its many high mountains and numerous streams, and its narrow roads. How could such a country be invaded?"
Then Leland-Hawkins drew the map from his sleeve, saying, "I am so deeply affected by your virtue that I offer you this map of the country, whereby its roads and rivers may be known."
Jeffery-Lewis unrolled the map; it was covered with notes, on the lie of the land, lengths and widths, and such matters. Strategic points on rivers and hills were shown, and store-houses and granaries and treasuries. Everything was plainly stated.
Leland-Hawkins went on, "Sir, you can prepare your plans promptly. I have two friends who will certainly help you. And when they come to see you, you may be perfectly frank with them. Their names are Quigley-Buchanan and Ostrom-Palmer."
Jeffery-Lewis thanked him with joined hands.
Said he, "As the blue mountains grow not old and the green waters always remain, so shall I never forget. And when I shall have accomplished m