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      Not far from where those flames were licking up into the heavens, Cairness thought as he watched them, had[Pg 162] been the Circle K Ranch. In among the herd, even now, were Circle K cattle that had not yet been cut out. Those six people of his own race had been all that was left to him of his youth. To be sure, he had seen little of them, but he had known that they were there, ready to receive him in the name of the home they had all left behind.

      Defeated in this object, the Patriots united all their force to embroil us with Spain. There were many causes in our commercial relations with Spain which led to violent discontent amongst our merchants. They found the trade with the Spanish settlements in America exceedingly profitable, but they had no right, beyond a very limited extent, to trade there. The Spaniards, though they winked at many encroachments, repressed others which exceeded these with considerable vigour. Their Coastguard insisted on boarding and searching our vessels which intruded into their waters, to discover whether they were bringing merchandise or were prepared to carry away colonial produce. By the treaty of 1670 Spain had recognised the British colonies in North America, and England had agreed that her ships should not enter the ports of the Spanish colonies except from stress of weather, or with an especial licence from the Spanish Government to trade. By the treaty of 1729 we had agreed to the old regulations regarding trading to the Spanish Main, namely, that we should have the Assiento, or right of supplying these colonies with slaves, and that, besides this, we should only send one ship annually to the Spanish West Indies and South America. As fast as that authorised ship discharged its cargo in a Spanish port, she received fresh supplies of goods over her larboard side from other vessels which had followed in her wake, and thus poured unlimited quantities of English goods into the place. Other English traders did not approach too near the Spanish coasts, but were met in certain latitudes by South American smugglers, who there received their goods and carried them into port. In short, such a system of contraband trade was carried on in these waters by our merchants, that English goods in abundance found their way all over the Spanish American regions, and the great annual fair for goods imported from or by Spain dwindled into insignificance.

      "Ay que si! You do know," he laughed; "you tell me chula, or I will take you back to the United States with me."

      "Going back to the army?" inquired the man, with his mouth full of chicken, and by way of opening up the conversation.


      The removal of the soil and grime of the march and battle had a remarkably vivifying effect upon Si. New life seemed to pulse through his veins and brightness return to his eyes."Guess we know 'bout as much as you did when you first enlisted," said the smallest of the lot, a red-cheeked, bright-eyed boy, who looked as if he should have been standing up before a blackboard "doing a sum" in long division, instead of on his way to the field of strife. "Show us how, and we'll learn as quick as you did."


      "You do me proud," said Shorty with a grin, but an inward feeling that trouble was impending.


      Groundhog retreated a few steps, but still kept up a show of determination.