The Proem "Fox-in-the-Morning"


НазваниеThe Proem "Fox-in-the-Morning"
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reduced, by the humidity, to the state of disability desirable in

an audience.
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

Blanchard.
"Where's Kamchatka?" asked Clancy, with seeming irrelevance.
"Why, off Siberia somewhere in the Arctic regions," somebody answered,

doubtfully.
"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

forever.'
"'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

geographic disposition.
"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 spades.
"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'

away.
"'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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