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reduced, by the humidity, to the state of disability desirable in
Clancy was an American with an Irish diathesis and cosmopolitan
proclivities. Many businesses had claimed him, but not for long.
The roadster's blood was in his veins. The voice of the tintype was
but one of the many callings that had wooed him upon so many roads.
Sometimes he could be persuaded to oral construction of his voyages
into the informal and egregious. Tonight there were symptoms of
divulgement in him.
"'Tis elegant weather for filibustering'," he volunteered. "It
reminds me of the time I struggled to liberate a nation from the
poisonous breath of a tyrant's clutch. 'Twas hard work. 'Tis
straining to the back and makes corns on the hands."
"I didn't know you had ever lent your sword to an oppressed people,"
murmured Atwood, from the grass.
"I did," said Clancy; "and they turned it into a plowshare."
"What country was so fortunate as to secure your aid?" airily inquired
"Where's Kamchatka?" asked Clancy, with seeming irrelevance.
"Why, off Siberia somewhere in the Arctic regions," somebody answered,
"I thought that was the cold one," said Clancy, with a satisfied nod.
"I'm always gettin' the two names mixed. 'Twas Guatemala, then--the
hot one--I've been filibusterin' with. Ye'll find that country on
the map. 'Tis in the district known as the tropics. By the foresight
of Providence, it lies on the coast so the geography men could run the
names of the towns off into the water. They're an inch long, small
type, composed of Spanish dialects, and, 'tis my opinion, of the same
system of syntax that blew up the ~Maine~. Yes, 'twas that country
I sailed against, single-handed, and endeavored to liberate it from
a tyrannical government with a single-barrelled pickaxe, unloaded
at that. Ye don't understand, of course. 'Tis a statement demandin'
elucidation and apologies.
"'Twas in New Orleans one morning about the first ofJune; I was
standing down on the wharf, looking about at the ships in the river.
There was a little steamer moored right opposite me that seemed about
ready to sail. The funnels of it were throwing out smoke, and a gang
of roustabouts were carrying aboard a pile of boxes that was stacked
up on the wharf. The boxes were about two feet square, and something
like four feet long, and they seemed to be pretty heavy.
"I walked over, careless, to the stack of boxes. I saw one of them
had been broken in handlin'. 'Twas curiosity made me pull up
the loose top and look inside. The box was packed full of Winchester
rifles. 'So, so,' says I to myself; 'somebody's gettin' a twist
on the neutrality laws. Somebody's aidin' with munitions of war.
I wonder where the popguns are goin'?'
"I heard somebody cough, and I turned around. There stood a little,
round, fat man with a brown face and white clothes, a first-class-
looking little man, with a four-karat diamond on his finger and
his eye full of interrogations and respects. I judged he was a kind
of foreigner--may be from Russia or Japan or the archipelagoes.
"'Hist!' says the round man, full of concealments and confidences.
'Will the senor respect the discoveryments he has made, that the mans
on the ship shall not be acquaint? The senor will be a gentleman
that shall not expose one thing that by accident occur.'
"'Monseer,' says I--for I judged him to be a kind of Frenchman--
'receive my most exasperated assurances that your secret is safe with
James Clancy. Furthermore, I will go so far as to remark, Veev la
Liberty--veev it good and strong. Whenever you hear of a Clancy
obstructin' the abolishment of existin' governments you may notify
me by return mail.'
"'The senor is good,' says the dark, fat man, smilin' under his black
mustache. 'Wish you to come aboard my ship and drink of wine a glass.'
"Bein' a Clancy, in two minutes me and the foreigner man were seated
at a table in the cabin of the steamer, with a bottle between us. I
could hear the heavy boxes bein' dumped into the hold. I judged that
cargo must consist of at least 2,000 Winchesters. Me and the brown
man drank the bottle of stuff, and he called the steward to bring
another. When you amalgamate a Clancy with the contents of a bottle
you practically instigate secession. I had heard a good deal about
these revolutions in them tropical localities, and I begun to want
a hand in it.
"'You goin' to stir things up in your country, ain't you, monseer?'
says I, with a wink to let him know I was on.
"'Yes, yes,' said the little man, pounding his fist on the table.
'A change of the greatest will occur. Too long have the people been
oppressed with the promises and the never-to-happen things to become.
The great work it shall be carry on. Yes. Our forces shall in the
capital city strike of the soonest. ~Carrambos!~'
"'~Carrambos~ is the word,' says I, beginning to invest myself with
enthusiasm and more wine, 'likewise veeva, as I said before. May the
shamrock of old--I mean the banana-vine or the pie-plant, or whatever
the imperial emblem may be of your down-trodden country, wave
"'A thousand thank-yous,' says the round man, 'for your emission of
amicable utterances. What our cause needs of the very most is mans
who will the work do, to lift it along. Oh, for one thousands strong,
good mans to aid the General De Vega that he shall to his country
bring those success and glory! It is hard--oh, so hard to find good
mans to help in the work.'
"'Monseer,' says I, leanin' over the table and graspin' his hand,
I don't know where your country is, but me heart bleeds for it. The
heart of a Clancy was never deaf to the sight of an oppressed people.
The family is filibusterers by birth, and foreigners by trade. If you
can use James Clancy's arms and his blood in denuding your shores of
the tyrant's yoke they're yours to command.'
"General De Vega was overcome with joy to confiscate my condolence
of his conspiracies and predicaments. He tried to embrace me across
the table, but his fatness, and the wine that had been in the bottles,
prevented. Thus was I welcomed into the ranks of filibustery. Then
the general man told me his country had the name of Guatemala, and was
the greatest nation laved by any ocean whatever anywhere. He looked
at me with tears in his eyes, and from time to time he would emit the
remark, 'Ah! big, strong, brave mans! That is what my country need.'
"General De Vega, as was the name by which he denounced himself,
brought out a document for me to sign, which I did, makin' a fine
flourish and curlycue with the tail of the 'y.'
"'Your passage-money,' says the general, business-like, 'shall from
your pay be deduct.'
"''Twill not,' says I, haughty. I'll pay my own passage.' A hundred
and eighty dollars I had in my inside pocket, and 'twas no common
filibuster I was goin' to be, filibusterin' for me board and clothes.
"The steamer was to sail in two hours, and I went ashore to get some
things together I'd need. When I came aboard I showed the general
with pride the outfit. 'Twas a fine Chinchilla overcoat, Arctic
overshoes, fur cap and earmuffs, with elegant fleece-lined gloves
and woollen muffler.
"~'Carrambos!~ says the little general. 'What clothes are these that
shall go to the tropic?' And then the little spalpeen laughs, and he
calls the captain, and the captain calls the purser, and they pipe up
the chief engineer, and the whole gang leans against the cabin and
laughs at Clancy's wardrobe for Guatemala.
"I reflects a bit, serious, and asks the general again to denominate
the terms by which his country is called. He tells me, and I see then
that 'twas the t'other one, Kamchatka, I had in mind. Since then I've
had difficulty in separatin' the two nations in name, climate and
"I paid my passage--twenty-four dollars, first cabin--and ate at
table with the officer crowd. Down on the lower deck was a gang
of second-class passengers, about forty of them, seemin' to be Dagoes
and the like. I wondered what so many of them were goin' along for.
"Well, then, in three days we sailed alongside that Guatemala. 'Twas
a blue country, and not yellow as 'tis miscolored on the map. We
landed at a town on the coast, where a train of cars was waitin' for
us on a dinky little railroad. The boxes on the steamer were brought
ashore and loaded on the cars. The gang of Dagoes got aboard, too,
the general and me in the front car. Yes, me and General De Vega
headed the revolution, as it pulled out of the seaport town. That
train travelled about as fast as a policeman goin' to a riot. It
penetrated the most conspicuous lot of fuzzy scenery ever seen outside
a geography. We run some forty miles in seven hours, and the train
stopped. There was no more railroad. 'Twas a sort of camp in a damp
gorge full of wildness and melancholies. They was grading and
choppin' out the forests ahead to continue the road. 'Here,' says
I to myself, 'is the romantic haunt of the revolutionists. Here will
Clancy, by the virtue that is in a superior race and the inculcation
of Fenian tactics, strike a tremendous blow for liberty.'
"They unloaded the boxes from the train and begun to knock the tops
off. From the first one that was open I saw General De Vega take the
Winchester rifles and pass them around to a squad of morbid soldiery.
The other boxes was opened next, and, believe me or not, divil another
gun was to be seen. Every other box in the load was full of pickaxes
"And then--sorrow be upon them tropics--the proud Clancy and
the dishonored Dagoes, each one of them, had to shoulder a pick or
a spade, and march away to work on that dirty little railroad. Yes;
'twas that the Dagoes shipped for, and 'twas that the filibusterin'
Clancy signed for, though unbeknownst to himself at the time. In
after days I found out about it. It seems 'twas hard to get hands
to work on that road. The intelligent natives of the country was
too lazy to work. Indeed, the saints know, 'twas unnecessary. By
stretchin' out one hand, they could seize the most delicate and costly
fruits of the earth, and, by stretchin' out the other, they could
sleep for days at a time without hearin' a seven o'clock whistle
or the footsteps of the rent man upon the stairs. So, regular, the
steamers travelled to the United States to seduce labor. Usually the
imported spade-slingers died in two or three months from eatin' the
over-ripe water and breathing the violent tropical scenery. Wherefore
they made them sign contracts for a year, when they hired them, and
put an armed guard over the poor devils to keep them from runnin'
"'Twas thus I was double-crossed by the tropics through a family
failing of goin' out of the way to hunt disturbances.
"They gave me a pick, and I took it, meditating an insurrection on
the spot; but there was the guards handling the Winchesters careless,
and I come to the conclusion that discretion was the best part of
filibusterin'. There was about a hundred of us in the gang starting
out to work, and the word was given to move. I steps out of the ranks
and goes up to that General De Vega man, who was smokin' a cigar and
gazin' upon the scene with satisfactions and glory. He smiles at me
polite and devilish. 'Plenty work,' says he, 'for big, strong mans
in Guatemala. Yes. Thirty dollars in the month. Good pay. Ah, yes.
You strong, brave man. Bimeby we push those railroad in the capital
very quick. They want you go work now. ~Adios~, strong mans.'
"'Monseer,' says I, lingerin', 'will you tell a poor little Irishman
this: When I set foot on your cockroachy steamer, and breathed
liberal and revolutionary sentiments into your sour wine, did you
think I was conspirin' to sling a pick on your contemptuous little
railroad? And when you answered me with patriotic recitations,
humping up the star-spangled cause of liberty, did you have
meditations of reducin' me to the ranks of the stump-grubbin' Dagoes
in the chain-gangs of your vile and grovelin' country?'
'The general man expanded his rotundity and laughed considerable.
Yes, he laughed very long and loud, and I, Clancy, stood and waited.
"'Comical mans!' he shouts, at last. 'So you will kill me from the
laughing. Yes; it is hard to find the brave, strong mans to aid my
country. Revolutions? Did I speak of r-r-revolutions? Not one
word. I say, big, strong man is need in Guatemala. So. The mistake
is of you. You have looked in those one box containing those gun
for the guard. You think all boxes is contain gun? No.
"'There is not war in Guatemala. But work? Yes. Good. Thirty dollar
in the month. You shall shoulder one pickaxe, senor, and dig for
the liberty and prosperity of Guatemala. Off to your work. The guard
waits for you.'
"'Little, fat, poodle dog of a brown man,' says I, quiet, but full of
indignations and discomforts, 'things shall happen to you. Maybe not
right away, but as soon as J. Clancy can formulate somethin' in the
way of repartee.'
"The boss of the gang orders us to work. I tramps off with the
Dagoes, and I hears the distinguished patriot and kidnapper laughin'
hearty as we go.
"Tis a sorrowful fact, for eight weeks I built railroads for that
misbehavin' country. I filibustered twelve hours a day with a heavy
pick and a spade, choppin' away the luxurious landscape that grew
upon the right of way. We worked in swamps that smelled like there
was a leak in the gas mains, trampin' down a fine assortment of
the most expensive hothouse plants and vegetables. The scene was
tropical beyond the wildest imagination of the geography man. The
trees was all sky-scrapers; the underbrush was full of needles and
pins; there was monkeys jumpin' around and crocodiles and pink-tailed
mockin'-birds, and ye stood knee-deep in the rotten water and grabbled
roots for the liberation of Guatemala. Of nights we would build
smudges in camp to discourage the mosquitoes, and sit in the smoke,
with the guards pacin' all around us. There was two hundred men
working on the road--mostly Dagoes, nigger-men, Spanish-men and
Swedes. Three or four were Irish.
"One old man named Halloran--a man of Hibernian entitlements and
discretions, explained it to me. He had been working on the road
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