29. Fagen goes home|
Aguinaldo stood frozen on the porch, too overcome with bewilderment to move. Through white, billowing clouds of gun smoke Fagen watched the Spaniard turn
his pistol on the rebel leader and shout, "Hands up General! We
are not replacements for your insurgent army. We are Americans, surrender
or be killed!
At that moment Simon Villa burst through the door, pistol in his hand. Segovia
fired two quick shots and the brave colonel slumped to the floor. Aguinaldo
knelt over his wounded friend, shielding him from further harm and cried out, "Stop! Stop
this killing!" Then Doctor Barcelona rushed onto the porch waving a
white handkerchief. "We surrender, Capitan ! This is
the flag of peace!"
No soldiers left to kill, the Macabebes ended their slaughter, and save for
the terrified barking of village dogs, quiet reigned in the little plaza.
Fagen, stunned by the earth-shaking event he'd just witnessed, was gripped
by a deep,
gut wrenching sense of loss. He'd raced a hundred miles to save
the revolution and failed. His heart fluttered in his chest as he wrestled
with thoughts of what would happen next. He'd never even considered
a Filipino struggle for independence without Emilio Aguinaldo. It didn't
seem possible they could carry on without him. What other man had the
intellect, the vision, the iron will? What man was so beloved, so revered?
Who else could inspire an ignorant, peasant population armed with little more
bolo knives and nipa sheaves to wage a death struggle against a nation as powerful
as the United States?
On seeing General Funston's approach through a window, Hilario Talplacido,
who'd thrown himself to the floor when the shooting started, now rushed outside
and grasped Aguinaldo's arm. "I have captured the villain, sir!"
Ignoring him, Funston bounded up the porch steps, faced the Filipino President
and declared, "You are a prisoner of the army of the United States. I
am Brigadier General Fredrick Funston, commander of this expedition. You've
been ordered to surrender. I suggest you order your men to do the same. Unless
I have your full and immediate cooperation, my soldiers will finish what they've
Aguinaldo lifted his chin and returned the American's gaze. "So be
it, General." Then he pushed past him and walked to the center of the plaza,
the bloody bodies of his countrymen scattered around him. Fagen watched
in silent dismay while the man who'd promised him a future stood at attention
in the dust with tears in his eyes and cried out, "I, Presidente Emilio
Aguinaldo, commander of all national forces, now entreat every Filipino patriot
to lay down his arms. Enough of killing! Enough of blood! Enough
of tears and desolation! Henceforth, let every man seek peace."
General Funston and the other Americans escorted Aguinaldo into the headquarters
building. The Spaniard gave an order and the Macabebes began a house-to-house
search of the village. Seeing nothing more to be done, and concerned
for their safety, Atias tugged at Fagen's sleeve and made a sign. He
was right, there was nothing more to be done. The revolution was over. Millions
of Filipinos prayed every day for the killing to stop, for the struggle to
end. Now that day had arrived. Fagen remembered the afternoon
Colonel Urbano De Castro drank lemon water and told him he was a wanted man. He
knew then someday, no matter which side won, he'd have to face the fact he
was a man without a country.
Atias tugged at his sleeve again, and David Fagen followed him out of Palanan. Navigating
on instinct, the little Igorrote led his Negrito Americano comrade
north and west deep into the remote jungle mountains until he reach the place
of his people, the place no outsider had ever seen. The place he called