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The Saguache Crescent
Saguache , Colorado
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September 19, 1901     The Saguache Crescent
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September 19, 1901
 

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"" of Venezuela * " .The Fd busters .., .... The Attack. General Salvarez was deep in ~he O r the Trials of a Spamsh Girl. **council Ofwar with his officers, when By SEWARD W. I:fOPKIN$. 4" his wife and daughter reached him. 4. @ Copyrighted 9900 hy Robert Bonner's Sons. CHAPTER V. Mattazudo the Half-Breed. In one of the most luxurious rooms of the Castle of Salvarez a tall, som- ber-looking man. clad in a gorgeous uniform, stood near a table, looking ~doqlvn at a map of Venezuela, his long, thin finger tracing the boundaries of the states, and his eye measuring the distance from Bolivar to Caracas. On one side of him stood Ferdinand Gomez, on the other stood Don Juan Garza. "Your Majesty sees that we hold a most important position," said Gomez. In the presence of others Gomez ~alled the pretender by the royal titles. .What he called him when they were alone v-as th'e more familiar name of Philip. The stranger raised his dark, burn- ing eyes rested them on the face of Gomez. "[ see that we occupy a central posl- t~on." he said, "but on the wrong side of the Orinoco. We command here, perhaps; but all the strength of the Republic and all her wealth are separ- ated from us by the great river." "You are mistaken." replied Gomez. "'It is true that the army of Crespo is in the north. But the wealth of Vene- zuela-the true wenlth, not the build- ings and customs port and towns, but the vast stores of gold and silver in the mountains~is on this side." Don Juan shrugged his shoulders. "Of what use is it to talk of gold and silver in the mountains?" he de- nianded. "Did we come here as pros- pectors? Did we buy twenty thousand rifles and rouse the half-breeds here ~imply to enable us to work a claim? Our work lies in the north." "True," responded Gomez. "I do not wish to imply that we must no~ look across the great river. We do not own Venezuela till we occupy the capital. But I do not desire the value of this part of the country to be underrated, as it has always been heretofore." "Time enough for that." said Philip ef Aragon, "Where do we strike next?" "Before making any attempt at crossing th~ Orinoco." e~ld Gomez, "it will be necessary to" aBnihilate the f~rce under Salvarez. It is. I admit. smaller than our own; but it is still large enough to give us considerable trouble. Moreover, Salvarez is a man of resources, and as long as he has a company at his back will be danger- OUS," "Where is Salvarez now?" asked Philip. / "'About a half-mile below tile castle." "Will he attack?" "He certainly will. Salvarez is not the man to accept defeat without a struggle." "'Yet, with the guns left in the bat- tlements and our well-armed infantry, we should be able to defeat him." "That is without question, There is no cause to fear the result of a battle," "Let them come." said Gomez, "I will be .reaxly for' them, I will visit the men again and reassure your Majesty," "It has occurred to me, your majes- ty," said Don Juan, as soon as the door had closed behind Gomez, "that instead of waiting until you reach Caracas to declare yourself king, you should do so at once, and become crpwned before the people who are now with us." Philip spent a moment, with bared head, deep in thought. Raising his head, he said:. "Garza, wisest and best of counsel- ors, I think you are right. I see it now With your eyes. We must guard against defection from our ranks. As you say, it will be best for me to take the crown at ones." Just outside the door Gomez stood listening. There was a most ugly look on the face of the leader of the royal- isis, He walked quickly away when he heard the resolve of Philip, and hur- ried to a small outbuilding that had been designated as the headquarters of Mattazudo. the leader of the Zambos. Mattazudo was there. He looked up when Gomez entered. "I want to see you alone," said GoInez. Mattazudo was smoking a huge, black cheroot. He puffed some pungent smoke toward Gomez. Humilty, respect toward superiors, were not parts of the character of Mattazurdo. His dark face was villainous in its expression. He was the man for dark dee.de; he was the man Gomez wanted. "Well," he said, "am I not alone?" "I did not know," answered Gomez. "I ~w only you, but there may be.oth- ers near," "None," said Matt~zudo. Gomez took a seat near him. "Mattazudo," he ~aid. "you have known me a long time." Mattazudo laughed. "Longer than I would want it known at Caracas if this affair fails." he said. "We have been friends," said Gomez, ignoring the words. Mattazudo darted a quick look to- ward Gomez. "Well," he said questioningly, "yot~ have a game. Out with it." "DO you want to earn some mon~ -. ey?'" asked Gomez. "If it is enough." "One tllousand Bolivars." Mattazudo started. #, A thousand Bolivars is a good deal," he ~ld: I flever had more than fifty at any one time.". A Bolivar is about twenty cents in Unlted States money. WYou shall have a thousand," said Gomez, "if you will do what I ask." "'You know me too well to doubt." said Mattazudo. "You have only to command." "There is something In the situation here that you do not know," said Go- mez. "and which does not concern you personally; but it does me. You have seen Garza's daughter?" Mattazudo's eyes opened. "The beauty! Oh, yes, I have seen her! What eyes! What an ankle!" Gomez looked displeased. "Her eyes and ankles do not concern you," he said. "Now, listen to what i have to say. By the power that Garza had in New York, he obtained a great influence over the king. Garza was the only man in the United States who could obtain for us the money we need- ed to make our movement a success. It is, therefore, plain that for a time he held us in his hands." "It would seem so, certainly," said Mattazudo. with a grin. "He used this power to compel the king to promise to marry his daughter when the crown of Venezuela had been placed on his head." Matta~.udo puffed harder. "Well," he said, "it isn't on yet. Caracas is far from here. Why do you grow disturbed so soon?" "Caracas is far from here, it is true; but Caracas is not necessary to a crown. Philip has already announced that in one hour he will be crowned king before his army." Mattazudo looked surprised. "A spectacle for the multitude! He is wise." he said. "True. It is a good move for his In- terests, but a bad one for mine." "Ah! You want the coronation post- poned~prevented, perhaps. You would like to be king of Venezuela yourself, perhaps ?" "Nonsense." said Gomez. impatient- ly~ "Even if I wished it, I am not such a fool to try. It will be a difficult thing at best to maintain the throne on this 'continent, and would be utterly impos- sible without the help of Spain, and Spain will help no one but a Spaniard of noble birth. What I want is far dif- ferent. The coronation is a good thing in its way. Let it go on. But the mar- riage of Lola Garza to the king must be prevented. I saw her and loved her before Philip, ann she must be mine. Rather than *lose her, I would sacrifice the king--the war--everything!" Mattazudo shifted uneasily. "You say too much," he said. "I speak only to you," said Gomez. "You see how I trust you." "What do you want me to do?" ask- e