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The applause which followed the reading of the Dooley Dialogue showed very clearly that, among the diners at least, neither Dooley nor Dolly had waned in popularity. If the dilution, the faint echo of the originals, evoked such applause, how potent must have been the genius of the men who first gave life to Dooley and the fair Dolly!
“That’s good stuff, Greenwich,” said Billie Jones. “You must have eaten a particularly digestible meal. Now for the tenth ball. Who has it?”
“I,” said Dick Snobbe, rising majestically from his chair. “And I can tell you what it is; I had a tough time of it in my dream, as you will perceive when I recite to you the story of my experiences at the battle of Manila.”
“Great Scott, Dick!” cried Bedford Parke. “You weren’t in that, were you?”
“Sir,” returned Dick, “I was not only in it, I was the thing itself. I was the war correspondent of the Sunday Whirnal, attached to Dewey’s fleet.”
Whereupon the talented Mr. Snobbe proceeded to read the following cable despatch from the special correspondent of the Whirnal:
THE SPANISH FLEET DESTROYED
THE SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT OF THE WHIRNAL
Aided by Commodore Dewey and his Fleet
CAPTURES THE PHILIPPINES
Manila, May 1, 1898.—I have glorious news. I have this day destroyed the Spanish fleet and captured the Philippine Islands. According to my instructions from the City Editor of the Whirnal, I boarded the Olympia, the flag-ship of the fleet under Commodore Dewey at Hong-kong, on Wednesday last. Upon reading my credentials the Commodore immediately surrendered the command of the fleet to me, and retired to his state-room, where he has since remained. I deemed it well to keep him there until after the battle was over, fearing lest he should annoy me with suggestions, and not knowing but that he might at any time spread dissension among the officers and men, who, after the habit of seamen, frequently manifest undue affection and sympathy for a deposed commander. I likewise, according to your wishes, concealed from the officers and crew the fact that the Commodore had been deposed, furthering the concealment by myself making up as Dewey. Indeed, it was not until after the battle this morning that any but Dewey and the ship’s barber were aware of the substitution, since my disguise was perfect. The ship’s barber I had to take into my confidence, for unfortunately on leaving Hong-kong I had forgotten to provide myself with a false mustache, so that in concealing the deposition of the Commodore by myself assuming his personality I was compelled to have the gentleman’s mustache removed from his upper lip and transferred to my own. This the barber did with neatness and despatch, I having first chloroformed the Commodore, from whom some resistance might have been expected, owing to his peculiar temperament. Fortunately the fellow was an expert wig-maker, and within an hour of the shaving of Dewey I was provided with a mustache which could not fail to be recognized as the Commodore’s, since it was indeed that very same object. When five hundred miles at sea I dropped the barber overboard, fearing lest he should disturb my plans by talking too much. I hated to do it, but in the interest of the Whirnal I hold life itself as of little consequence, particularly if it is the life of some one else—and who knows but the poor fellow was an expert swimmer, and has by this time reached Borneo or some other bit of dry land? He was alive when I last saw him, and yelling right lustily. If it so happen that he has swum ashore somewhere, kindly let me know at your convenience; for beneath a correspondent’s exterior I have a warm heart, and it sometimes troubles me to think that the poor fellow may have foundered, since the sea was stressful and the nearest dry point was four hundred and sixty knots away to S.E. by N.G., while the wind was blowing N.W. by N.Y.C. & H.R.R. But to my despatch.
Dewey done for, despoiled of his mustache and rifled of his place, with a heavy sea running and a dense fog listing to starboard, I summoned my officers to the flag-ship, and, on the evening of April 30th, the fog-horns of Cavité having indicated the approach of the Philippine coast, gave them, one and all, their final instructions. These were, in brief, never to do anything without consulting with me.
“To facilitate matters, gentlemen,” said I, ordering an extra supply of grog for the captains, and milk punches for the lieutenants, “we must connect the various vessels of the fleet with telephone wires. Who will undertake this perilous duty?”
They rose up as one man, and, with the precision of a grand-opera chorus, replied: “Commodore”—for they had not penetrated my disguise—“call upon us. If you will provide the wires and the ’phones, we will do the rest.” And they followed these patriotic words with cheers for me.
Their heroism so affected me that I had difficulty in frowning upon the head-butler’s suggestion that my glass should be filled again.
“Gentlemen,” said I, huskily—for I was visibly affected—“I have provided for all. I could not do otherwise and remain myself. You will find ten thousand miles of wire and sixty-six telephones in the larder.”
That night every ship in the fleet was provided with telephone service. I appointed the Olympia to be the central office, so that I might myself control all the messages, or at least hear them as they passed to and fro. In the absence of ladies from the fleet, I appointed a somewhat effeminate subaltern to the post of “Hello Officer,” with complete control over the switch-board. And, as it transpired, this was a very wise precaution, because the central office was placed in the hold, and the poor little chap’s courage was so inclined to ooze that in the midst of the fight he was content to sit below the water-line at his post, and not run about the promenade-deck giving orders while under fire. I have cabled the President about him, and have advised his promotion. His heroic devotion to the switch-board ought to make him a naval attaché to some foreign court, at least. I trust his bravery will ultimately result in his being sent to the Paris Exposition as charge d’affaires in the Erie Canal department of the New York State exhibit.
But to return to my despatch—which from this point must disregard space and move quickly. Passing Cape Bolinao, we soon reached Subig Bay, fifty miles from Manila. Recognizing the cape by the crop of hemp on its brow, I rang up the Boston and the Concord.
“Search Subig Bay,” I ordered.
“Who’s this?” came the answer from the other end.
“Never mind who I am,” said I. “Search Subig Bay for Spaniards.”
“Hello!” said the Boston.
“Who the deuce are you?” cried the Concord.
“I’m seventeen-five-six,” I replied, with some sarcasm, for that was not my number.
“I want sixteen-two-one,” retorted the Boston.
“Ring off,” said the Concord. “What do you mean by giving me seventeen-five-six?”
“Hello, Boston and Concord,” I put in in commanding tones. “I’m Dewey.”
This is the only false statement I ever made, but it was in the interests of my country, and my reply was electrical in its effect. The Boston immediately blew off steam, and the Concord sounded all hands to quarters.
“What do you want, Commodore?” they asked simultaneously.
“Search Subig Bay for Spaniards, as I have already ordered you,” I replied, “and woe be unto you if you don’t find any.”
“What do you want ’em for, Commodore?” asked the Boston.
“To engage, you idiot,” I replied, scornfully. “What did you suppose—to teach me Spanish?”
Both vessels immediately piped all hands on deck and set off. Two hours later they returned, and the telephone subaltern reported, “No Spaniards found.”
“Why not?” I demanded.
“All gone to Cuba,” replied the Boston. “Shall we pipe all hands to Cuba?”
“Wires too short to penetrate without a bust,” replied the Concord.
“On to Manila!” was my answer. “Ding the torpedoes—go ahead! Give us Spaniards or give us death!”
These words inspired every ship in the line, and we immediately strained forward, except the McCulloch, which I despatched at once to Hong-kong to cable my last words to you in time for the Adirondack edition of your Sunday issue leaving New York Thursday afternoon.
The rest of us immediately proceeded. In a short while, taking advantage of the darkness for which I had provided by turning the clock back so that the sun by rising at the usual hour should not disclose our presence, we turned Corregidor and headed up the Boca Grande towards Manila. As we were turning Corregidor the telephone-bell rang, and somebody who refused to give his name, but stating that he was aboard the Petrel, called me up.
“Hello!” said I.
“Is this Dewey?” said the Petrel.
“Yes,” said I.
“There are torpedoes ahead,” said the Petrel.
“What of it?” said I.
“How shall we treat ’em?”
“Blow ’em off—to soda water,” I answered, sarcastically.
“Thank you, sir,” the Petrel replied, as she rang off.
Then somebody from the Baltimore rang me up.
“Commodore Dewey,” said the Baltimore, “there are mines in the harbor.”
“Well, what of it?” I replied.
“What shall we do?” asked the Baltimore.
“Treat them coldly, as they do in the Klondike,” said I.
“But they aren’t gold-mines,” replied the Baltimore.
“Then salt ’em,” said I, dryly. “Apply for a certificate of incorporation, water your stock, sell out, and retire.”
“Thank you, Commodore,” the Baltimore answered. “How many shares shall we put you down for?”
“None,” said I. “But if you’ll use your surplus to start a life-insurance company, I’ll take out a policy for forty-eight hours, and send you my demand note to pay for the first premium.”
I mention this merely to indicate to your readers that I felt myself in a position of extreme peril, and did not forget my obligations to my family. It is a small matter, but if you will search the pages of history you will see that in the midst of the greatest dangers the greatest heroes have thought of apparently insignificant details.
At this precise moment we came in sight of the fortresses of Manila. Signalling the Raleigh to heave to, I left the flag-ship and jumped aboard the cruiser, where I discharged with my own hand the after-forecastle four-inch gun. The shot struck Corregidor, and, glancing off, as I had designed, caromed on the smoke-stack of the Reina Cristina, the flag-ship of Admiral Montojo. The Admiral, unaccustomed to such treatment, immediately got out of bed, and, putting on his pajamas, appeared on the bridge.
“Who smoked our struck-stack?” he demanded, in broken English.
“The enemy,” cried his crew, with some nervousness. I was listening to their words through the megaphone.
“Then let her sink,” said he, clutching his brow sadly with his clinched fist. “Far be it from me to stay afloat in Manila Bay on the 1st of May, and so cast discredit on history!”
The Reina Cristina immediately sank, according to the orders of the Admiral, and I turned my attention to the Don Juan de Austria. Rowing across the raging channel to the Baltimore, I boarded her and pulled the lanyard of the port boom forty-two. The discharge was terrific.
“What has happened?” I asked, coolly, as the explosion exploded. “Did we hit her?”
“We did, your honor,” said the Bo’s’n’s mate, “square in the eye; only, Commodore, it ain’t a her this time—it’s a him. It’s the Don Juan de—”
“Never mind the sex,” I cried. “Has she sank?”
“No, sir,” replied the Bo’s’n’s mate, “she ’ain’t sank yet. She’s a-waiting orders.”
“Fly signals to sink,” said I, sternly, for I had resolved that she should go down.
They did so, and the Don Juan de Austria immediately disappeared beneath the waves. Her commander evidently realized that I meant what I signalled.
“Are there any more of the enemy afloat?” I demanded, jumping from the deck of the Baltimore to that of the Concord.
“No, Commodore,” replied the captain of the latter.
“Then signal the enemy to charter two more gunboats and have ’em sent out. I can’t be put off with two boats when I’m ready to sink four,” I replied.
The Concord immediately telephoned to the Spanish commandant at the Manila Café de la Paix, who as quickly chartered the Castilla and the Velasco—two very good boats that had recently come in in ballast with the idea of loading up with bananas and tobacco.
While waiting for these vessels to come out and be sunk, I ordered all hands to breakfast, thus reviving their falling courage. It was a very good breakfast, too. We had mush and hominy and potatoes in every style, beefsteak, chops, liver and bacon, chicken hash, buckwheat cakes and fish-balls, coffee, tea, rolls, toast, and brown bread.
Just as we were eating the latter the Castilla and Velasco came out. I fired my revolver at the Castilla and threw a fish-ball at the Velasco. Both immediately burst into flames.
Manila was conquered.
The fleet gone, the city fell. It not only fell, but slid, and by nightfall Old Glory waved over the citadel.
The foe was licked.
To-morrow I am to see Dewey again.
I think I shall resign to-night.
P.S.—Please send word to the magazines that all articles by Dewey must be written by Me. Terms, $500 per word. The strain has been worth it.
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