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|First vice-president the republic insurance|
|"Have I not tried? Did I not offer them for one-tenth their cost?|
Not even one ~peso~ would any one give. There is not one ~real~ in
this town to assist Dickee Malonee."
Dick clenched his teeth grimly. 'That's the ~comandante~," he growled.
"He's responsible for that sentiment. Wait, oh, wait till the cards
are all out."
Pasa lowered her voice to almost a whisper. "And, listen, heart of
my heart," she said, "I have endeavored to be brave, but I cannot
live without thee. Three days now--"
Dicky caught a faint gleam of steel from the folds of her mantilla.
For once she looked in his face and saw it without a smile, stern,
menacing and purposeful. Then he suddenly raised his hand and his
smile came back like a gleam of sunshine. The hoarse signal of an
incoming steamer's siren sounded in the harbor. Dicky called to
the sentry who was pacing before the door: "What steamer comes?"
"Of the Vesuvius line?"
"Without doubt, of that line."
"Go you, ~picarilla~, "said Dicky joyously to Pasa, "to the American
consul. Tell him I wish to speak with him. See that he comes
at once. And look you! let me see a different look in those eyes,
for I promise your head shall rest upon this arm tonight.
It was an hour before the consul came. He held his green umbrella
under his arm, and mopped his forehead impatiently.
"Now, see here, Maloney, "he began, captiously, "you fellows seem
to think you can cut up any kind of row, and expect me to pull you out
of it. I'm neither the War Department nor a gold mine. This country
has its laws, you know, and there's one against pounding the senses
out of the regular army. You Irish are forever getting into trouble.
I don't see what I can do. Anything like tobacco, now, to make you
"Son of Eli," interrupted Dicky, gravely, "you haven't changed
an iota. That is almost a duplicate of the speech you made when old
Koen's donkeys and geese got into the chapel loft, and the culprits
wanted to hide in your room."
"Oh, heavens!" exclaimed the consul, hurriedly adjusting his
spectacles. "Are you a Yale man, too? Were you in that crowd?
I don't seem to remember any one with red--any one named Maloney.
Such a lot of college men seem to have misused their advantages.
One of the best mathematicians of the class of '91 is selling
lottery tickets in Belize. A Cornell man dropped off here last
month. He was second steward on a guano boat. I'll write to
the department if you like, Maloney. Or if there's any tobacco,
'There's nothing," interrupted Dicky, shortly, "but this. You go
tell the captain of the ~Catarina~ that Dicky Maloney wants to see
him as soon as he can conveniently come. Tell him where I am.
Hurry. That's all."
The consul, glad to be let off so easily, hurried away. The captain
of the ~Catarina~, a stout man, Sicilian born, soon appeared,
shoving, with little ceremony, through the guards to the jail door.
The Vesuvius Fruit Company had a habit of doing things that way
"I am exceeding sorry--exceeding sorry," said the captain, "to see
this occur. I place myself at your service, Mr. Maloney. What you
need shall be furnished. Whatever you say shall be done."
Dicky looked at him unsmilingly. His red hair could not detract
from his attitude of severe dignity as he stood, tall and calm, with
his now grim mouth forming a horizontal line.
"Captain De Lucco, I believe I still have funds in the hands of your
company--ample and personal funds. I ordered a remittance last week.
The money has not arrived. You know what is needed in this game.
Money and money and more money. Why has it not been sent?"
"By the ~Cristobal~," replied De Lucco, gesticulating, "it was
despatched. Where is the ~Cristobal~? Off Cape Antonio I spoke
her with a broken shaft. A tramp coaster was towing her back to New
Orleans. I brought money ashore thinking your need for it might not
withstand delay. In this envelope is one thousand dollars. There
is more if you need it, Mr. Maloney."
"For the present it will suffice," said Dicky, softening as he
crinkled the envelope and looked down at the half-inch thickness
of smooth, dingy bills.
"The long green!" he said, gently, with a new reverence in his gaze.
"Is there anything it will not buy, Captain?"
"I had three friends," replied De Lucco, who was a bit of
a philosopher, "who had money. One of them speculated in stocks
and made ten million; another is in heaven, and the third married
a poor girl whom he loved."
"The answer, then," said Dicky, "is held by the Almighty, Wall
Street, and Cupid. So, the question remains."
"This," queried the captain, including Dicky's surroundings in
a significant gesture of his hand, "is it--it is notiit is not
connected with the business of your little shop? There is no
failure in your plans?"
"No, no," said Dicky. "This is merely the result of a little private
affair of mine, a digression from the regular line of business.
They say for a complete life a man must know poverty, love, and war.
But they don't go well together, ~capitan mio~. No; there is no
failure in my business. The little shop is doing very well."
When the captain had departed Dicky called the sergeant of the jail
squad and asked:
"Am I ~preso~ by the military or by the civil authority?"
"Surely there is no martial law in effect now, senor."
"~Bueno~. Now go or send to the ~alcalde~, the ~Juez de la Paz~
and the ~Jefe de los Policios~. Tell them I am prepared at once to
satisfy the demands of justice." A folded bill of the "long green"
slid into the sergeant's hand.
Then Dicky's smile came back again, for he knew that the hours of
his captivity were numbered; and he hummed, in time with the sentry's
"They're hanging men and women now,
For lacking of the green."
So, that night Dicky sat by the window of the room over his shop an
his little saint sat close by, working at something silken and dainty.
Dicky was thoughtful and grave. His red hair was in an unusual
state of disorder. Pasa's fingers often ached to smooth and arrange
it, but Dicky would never allow it. He was poring, tonight, over
a great litter of maps and books and papers on his table until that
perpendicular line came between his brows that always distressed Pasa.
Presently she went and brought his hat, and stood with it until he
looked up, inquiringly.
"It is sad for you here," she explained. "Go out and drink ~vino
blanco~. Come back when you get that smile you used to wear.
That is what I wish to see."
Dicky laughed and threw down his papers. "The ~vino blanco~ stage
is past. It has served its turn. Perhaps, after all, there was less
entered my mouth and more my ears than people thought. But, there
will be no more maps or frowns tonight. I promise you that. Come."
They sat upon a reed ~silleta~ at the window and watched the quivering
gleams from the lights of the ~Catarina~ reflected in the harbor.
Presently Pasa rippled out one of her infrequent chirrups of audible
"I was thinking," she began, anticipating Dicky's question, "of
the foolish things girls have in their minds. Because I went to
school in the States I used to have ambitions. Nothing less than
to be the president's wife would satisfy me. And, look, thou red
picaroon, to what obscure fate thou hast stolen me!"
"Don't give up hope," said Dicky, smiling. "More than one Irishman
has been the ruler of a South American country. There was a dictator
of Chili named O'Higgins. Why not a President Maloney, of Anchuria?
Say the word, ~santita mia~, and we'll make the race."
"No, no, no, thou red-haired, reckless one!" sighed Pasa; "I am
content"--she laid her head against his arm--"here."
Rouge et Noir
It has been indicated that disaffection followed the elevation of
Losada to the presidency. This feeling continued to grow. Throughout
the entire republic there seemed to be a spirit of silent, sullen
discontent. Even the old Liberal party to which Goodwin, Zavalla and
other patriots had lent their aid was disappointed. Losada had failed
to become a popular idol. Fresh taxes, fresh import duties and,
more than all, his tolerance of the outrageous oppression of citizens
by the military had rendered him the most obnoxious president since
the despicable Alforan. The majority of his own cabinet were out
of sympathy with him. The army, which he had courted by giving it
license to tyrannize, had been his main, and thus far adequate,
But the most impolitic of the administration's moves had been when
it antagonized the Vesuvius Fruit Company, an organization plying
twelve steamers with a cash capital somewhat larger than Anchuria's
surplus and debt combined.
Reasonably, an established concern like the Vesuvius would become
irritated at having a small, retail republic with no rating at all
attempt to squeeze it. So, when the government proxies applied for
a subsidy they encountered a polite refusal. The president at once
retaliated by clapping an export duty of one ~real~ per bunch on
bananas--a thing unprecedented in fruit-growing countries. The
Vesuvius Company had invested large sums in wharves and plantations
along the Anchurian coast, their agents had erected fine homes in
the towns where they had their headquarters, and heretofore had worked
with the republic in good-will and with advantage to both. It would
lose an immense sum if compelled to move out. The selling price of
bananas from Vera Cruz to Trinidad was three ~reales~ per bunch.
This new duty of one ~real~ would have ruined the fruit growers in
Anchuria and have seriously discommoded the Vesuvius Company had it
declined to pay it. But for some reason, the Vesuvius continued to
buy Anchurian fruit, paying four ~reals~ for it; and not suffering
the growers to bear the loss.
This apparent victory deceived His Excellency; and he began to hunger
for more of it. He sent an emissary to request a conference with a
representative of the fruit company. The Vesuvius sent Mr. Franzoni,
a little, stout, cheerful man, always cool, and whistling airs from
Verdi's operas. Senor Espirition, of the office of the Minister
of Finance, attempted the sandbagging in behalf of Anchuria. The
meeting took place in the cabin of the ~Salvador~, of the Vesuvius
Senor Espirition opened negotiations by announcing that the government
contemplated the building of a railroad to skirt the alluvial coast
lands. After touching upon the benefits such a road would confer upon
the interests of the Vesuvius, he reached the definite suggestion that
a contribution to the road's expenses of, say, fifty thousand ~pesos~
would not be more than an equivalent to benefits received.
Mr. Franzoni denied that his company would receive any benefits
from a contemplated road. As its representative he must decline
to contribute fifty thousand ~pesos~. But he would assume
the responsibility of offering twenty-five.
Did Senor Espirition understand Senor Franzoni to mean twenty-five
By no means. Twenty-five ~pesos~. And in silver, not in gold.
"Your offer insults my government," cried Senor Espirition, rising,
"Then," said Mr. Franzoni, in warning tone, "~we will change it.~"
The offer was never changed. Could Mr. Franzoni have meant the
This was the state of affairs in Anchuria when the winter season
opened at Coralio at the end of the second year of Losada's
administration. So, when the government and society made its annual
exodus to the seashore it was evident that the presidential advent
would not be celebrated by unlimited rejoicing. The tenth of November
was the day set for the entrance into Coralio of the gay company
from the capital. A narrow-gauge railroad runs twenty miles into
the interior from Solitas. The government party travels by carriage
from San Mateo to this road's terminal point, and proceeds by train
to Solitas. From here they march in grand procession to Coralio
where, on the day of their coming, festivities and ceremonies abound.
But this season saw an ominous dawning of the tenth of November.
Although the rainy season was over, the day seemed to hark back to
reeking June. A fine drizzle of rain fell all during the forenoon.
The procession entered Coralio amid a strange silence.
President Losada was an elderly man, grizzly bearded, with
a considerable ratio of Indian blood revealed in his cinnamon
complexion. His carriage headed the procession, surrounded
and guarded by Captain Cruz and his famous troop of one hundred
light horse "~El Ciento Huilando~." Colonel Rocas followed,
with a regiment of the regular army.
The president's sharp, beady eyes glanced about him for the expected
demonstration of welcome; but he faced a stolid, indifferent array
of citizens. Sightseers the Anchurians are by birth and habit, and
they turned out to their last able-bodied unit to witness the scene;
but they maintained an accusive silence. They crowded the streets
to the very wheel ruts; they covered the red tile roofs to the eaves,
but there was never a "~viva~" from them. No wreaths of palm
and lemon branches or gorgeous strings of paper roses hung from
the windows and balconies as was the custom. There was an apathy,
a dull, dissenting disapprobation, that was the more ominous because
it puzzled. No one feared an outburst, a revolt of the discontents,
for they had no leader. The president and those loyal to him had
never even heard whispered a name among them capable of crystallizing
the dissatisfaction into opposition. No, there could be no danger.
The people always procured a new idol before they destroyed an old
At length, after a prodigious galloping and curvetting of red-sashed
majors, gold-laced colonels and epauletted generals, the procession
formed for its annual progress down the Calle Grande to the Casa
Morena, where the ceremony of welcome to the visiting president
always took place.
The Swiss band led the line of march. After it pranced the local
~comandante~, mounted, and a detachment of his troops. Next came
a carriage with four members of the cabinet, conspicuous among them
the Minister of War, old General Pilar, with his white moustache
and his soldierly bearing. Then the president's vehicle, containing
also the Ministers of Finance and State; and surrounded by
Captain Cruz's light horse formed in a close double file of fours.
Following them, the rest of the officials of state, the judges and
distinguished military and social ornaments of public and private
As the band struck up, and the movement began, like a bird of
ill-omen the ~Valhalla~, the swiftest steamship of the Vesuvius line,
glided into the harbor in plain view of the president and his train.
Of course, there was nothing menacing about its arrival--a business
firm does not go to war with a nation--but it reminded Senor
Espirition and others in those carriages that the Vesuvius Fruit
Company was undoubtedly carrying something up its sleeve for them.
By the time the van of the procession had reached the government
building, Captain Cronin, of the ~Valhalla~, and Mr. Vincenti,
member of the Vesuvius Company, had landed and were pushing their
way, bluff, hearty and nonchalant, through the crowd on the narrow
sidewalk. Clad in white linen, big, debonair, with an air of
good-humored authority, they made conspicuous figures among the dark
mass of unimposing Anchurians, as they penetrated to within a few
yards of the steps of the Casa Morena. Looking easily above
the heads of the crowd, they perceived another that towered above
the undersized natives. It was the fiery poll of Dicky Maloney
against the wall close by the lower step; and his broad, seductive
grin showed that he recognized their presence.
Dicky had attired himself becomingly for the festive occasion in
a well-fitting black suit. Pasa was close by his side, her head
covered with the ubiquitous black mantilla. Mr. Vincenti looked
at her attentively.
"Botticelli's Madonna, he remarked, gravely. "I wonder when she
got into the game. I don't like his getting tangled with the women.
I hoped he would keep away from them."
Captain Cronin's laugh almost drew attention from the parade.
"With that head of hair! Keep away from the women! And a Maloney!
Hasn't he got a license? But, nonsense aside, what do you think of
the prospects? It's a species of filibustering out of my line."
Vincenti glanced again at Dicky's head and smiled. "~Rouge et noir~,"
he said. "There you have it. Make your play, gentlemen. Our money
is on the red."
"The lad's game," said Cronin, with a commending look at the tall,
easy figure by the steps. "But 'tis all like fly-by-night theatricals
to me. The talk's bigger than the stage; there's a smell of gasoline
in the air, and they're their own audience and scene-shifters."
They ceased talking, for General Pilar had descended from the first
carriage and had taken his stand upon the top step of Casa Morena.
As the oldest member of the cabinet, custom had decreed that he should
make the address of welcome, presenting the keys of the official
residence to the president at its close.
General Pilar was one of the most distinguished citizens of the
republic. Hero of three wars and innumerable revolutions, he was
an honored guest at European courts and camps. An eloquent speaker
and a friend to the people, he represented the highest type of
Holding in his hand the gilt keys of Casa Morena, he began his address
in a historical form, touching upon each administration and the
advance of civilization and prosperity from the first dim striving
after liberty down to present times. Arriving at the regime of
President Losada, at which point, according to precedent, he should
have delivered a eulogy upon its wise conduct and the happiness of
the people, General Pilar paused. Then he silently held up the bunch
of keys high above his head, with his eyes closely regarding it.
The ribbon with which they were bound fluttered in the breeze.
"It still blows," cried the speaker, exultantly. "Citizens of
Anchuria, give thanks to the saints this night that our air is
Thus disposing of Losada's administration, he abruptly reverted
to that of Olivarra, Anchuria's most popular ruler. Olivarra had
been assassinated nine years before while in the prime of life and
usefulness. A faction of the Liberal party led by Losada himself
had been accused of the deed. Whether guilty or not, it was eight
years before the ambitious and scheming Losada had gained his goal.
Upon this theme General Pilar's eloquence was loosed. He drew the
picture of the beneficent Olivarra with a loving hand. He reminded
the people of the peace, the security and the happiness they had
enjoyed during that period. He recalled in vivid detail and with
significant contrast the last winter sojourn of President Olivarra
in Coralio, when his appearance at their fiestas was the signal
for thundering vivas of love and approbation.
The first public expression of sentiment from the people that day
followed. A low, sustained murmur went among them like the surf
rolling along the shore.
"Ten dollars to a dinner at the Saint Charles," remarked Mr. Vincenti,
"that rouge wins."
"I never bet against my own interests," said Captain Cronin, lighting
a cigar. "Long-winded old boy for his age. What's he talking about?"
"My Spanish," replied Vincenti, "runs about ten words to the minute;
his is something around two hundred. Whatever he s saying, he's
getting them warmed up."
"Friends and brothers," General Pilar was saying, "could I reach out
my hand this day across the lamentable silence of the grave to
Olivarra the Good, to the ruler who was one of you, whose tears fell
when you sorrowed and whose smile followed your joy--I would bring him
back to you, but--Olivarra is dead--dead at the hands of a craven
The speaker turned and gazed boldly into the carriage of the
president. His arm remained extended aloft as if to sustain his
peroration. The president was listening aghast, at this remarkable
address of welcome. He was sunk back upon his seat, trembling with
rage and dumb surprise, his dark hands tightly gripping the carriage
Half rising, he extended one arm toward the speaker and shouted
a harsh command at Captain Cruz. The leader of the "Flying Hundred"
sat his horse, immovable, with folded arms, giving no sign of having
heard. Losada sank back again, his dark features distinctly paling.
Who says that Olivarra is dead?" suddenly cried the speaker,
his voice, old as he was, sounding like a battle trumpet. His body
lies in the grave, but to the people he loved he has bequeathed
his spirit--yes, more--his learning, his courage, his kindness--yes,
more--his youth, his image--people of Anchuria, have you forgotten
Ramon, the son of Olivarra?"
Cronin and Vincenti, watching closely, saw Dicky Maloney suddenly
raise his hat, tear off his shock of red hair, leap up the steps
and stand at the side of General Pilar. The Minister of War laid
his arm across the young man's shoulders. All who had known President
Olivarra saw again his same lion-like pose, the same frank, undaunted
expression, the same high forehead with the peculiar line of
the clustering, crisp black hair.
General Pilar was an experienced orator. He seized the moment
of breathless silence that preceded the storm.
"Citizens of Anchuria," he trumpeted, holding aloft the keys of Casa
Morena, "I am here to deliver these keys--the keys to your homes and
liberty--to your chosen president. Shall I deliver them to Enrico
Olivarra's assassin, or to his son?"
"Olivarra! Olivarra!" the crowd shrieked and howled. All vociferated
the magic name--men, women, children and the parrots.
And the enthusiasm was not confined to the blood of the plebs.
Colonel Rocas ascended the steps and laid his sword theatrically
at young Ramon Olivarra's feet. Four members of the cabinet embraced
him. Captain Cruz gave a command, and twenty of ~El Ciento Huilando~
dismounted and arranged themselves in a cordon about the steps
of Casa Morena.
But Ramon Olivarra seized that moment to prove himself a born
genius and politician. He waved those soldiers aside, and descended
the steps to the street. There, without losing his dignity or
the distinguished elegance that the loss of his red hair brought
him, betook the proletariat to his bosom--the barefooted, the dirty,
Indians, Caribs, babies, beggars, old, young, saints, soldiers
and sinners--he missed none of them.
While this act of the drama was being presented, the scene shifters
had been busy at the duties that had been assigned to them. Two
of Cruz's dragoons had seized the bridle reins of Losada's horses;
others formed a close guard around the carriage; and they galloped
off with the tyrant and his two unpopular Ministers. No doubt a place
had been prepared for them. There are a number of well-barred stone
apartments in Coralio.
"~Rouge~ wins," said Mr. Vincenti, calmly lighting another cigar.
Captain Cronin had been intently watching the vicinity of the stone
steps for some time.
"Good boy!" he exclaimed suddenly, as if relieved. "I wondered if
he was going to forget his Kathleen Mavourneen."
Young Olivarra had reascended the steps and spoken a few words to
General Pilar. Then that distinguished veteran descended to the
ground and approached Pasa, who still stood, wonder-eyed, where Dicky
had left her. With his plumed hat in his hand, and his medals and
decorations shining on his breast, the general spoke to her and gave
her his arm, and they went up the stone steps of the Casa Morena
together. And then Ramon Olivarra stepped forward and took both
her hands before all the people.
And while the cheering was breaking out afresh everywhere, Captain
Cronin and Mr. Vincenti turned and walked back toward the shore where
the gig was waiting for them.
"There'll be another '~presidente proclamada~' in the morning," said
Mr. Vincenti, musingly. "As a rule they are not as reliable as the
elected ones, but this youngster seems to have some good stuff in him.
He planned and maneuvered the entire campaign. Olivarra's widow,
you know, was wealthy. After her husband was assassinated she went
to the States, and educated her son at Yale. The Vesuvius Company
hunted him up, and backed him in the little game."
"It's a glorious thing," said Cronin, half jestingly, "to be able
to discharge a government, and insert one of your own choosing, in
"Oh, it is only amatter of business," said Vincenti, stopping and
offering the stump of his cigar to a monkey that swung down from
a lime tree; "and that is what moves the world of today. That extra
real on the price of bananas had to go. We took the shortest way
of removing it."
There remains three duties to be performed before the curtain falls
upon the patched comedy. Two have been promised: the third is no
It was set forth in the program of this tropic vaudeville that
it would be made known why Shorty 0'Day, of the Columbia Detective
Agency, lost his position. Also that Smith should come again to tell
us what mystery he followed that night on the shores of Anchuria when
he strewed so many cigar stumps around the coconut palm during his
lonely night vigil on the beach. These things were promised; but
a bigger thing yet remains to be accomplished--the clearing up of a
seeming wrong that has been done according to the array of chronicled
facts (truthfully set forth) that have been presented. And one voice,
speaking, shall do these three things.
Two men sat on a stringer of a North River pier in the City of New
York. A steamer from the tropics had begun to unload bananas and
oranges on the pier. Now and then a banana or two would fall from
an overripe bunch, and one of the two men would shamble forward,
seize the fruit and return to share it with his companion.
One of the men was in the ultimate stage of deterioration. As far as
rain and wind and sun could wreck the garments he wore, it had been
done. In his person the ravages of drink were as plainly visible.
And yet, upon his high-bridged, rubicund nose was jauntily perched
a pair of shining and flawless gold-rimmed glasses.
The other man was not so far gone upon the descending Highway of the
Incompetents. Truly, the flower of his manhood had gone to seed--seed
that, perhaps, no soil might sprout. But there were still cross-cuts
along where he travelled through which he might yet regain the pathway
of usefulness without disturbing the slumbering Miracles. This man
was short and compactly built. He had an oblique, dead eye, like
that of a sting-ray, and the moustache of a cocktail mixer. We know
the eye and the moustache; we know that Smith of the luxurious yacht,
the gorgeous raiment, the mysterious mission, the magic disappearance,
has come again, though shorn of the accessories of his former state.
At his third banana, the man with the nose glasses spat it from him
with a shudder.
"Deuce take all fruit!" he remarked, in a patrician tone of disgust.
"I lived for two years where these things grow. The memory of their
taste lingers with you. The oranges are not so bad. Just see if you
can gather a couple of them, O'Day, when the next broken crate comes
Did you live down with the monkeys?" asked the other, made tepidly
garrulous by the sunshine and the alleviating meal of juicy fruit.
"I was down there, once myself. But only for a few hours. That was
when I was with the Columbia Detective Agency. The monkey people
did me up. I'd have my job yet if it hadn't been for them. I'll
tell you about it.
"One day the chief sent a note around to the office that read: 'Send
O'Day here at once for a big piece of business.' I was the crack
detective of the agency at that time. They always handed me the big
jobs. The address the chief wrote from was down in the Wall Street
"When I got there I found him in a private office with a lot of
directors who were looking pretty fuzzy. They stated the case.
The president of the Republic Insurance Company had skipped with
about a tenth of a million dollars in cash. The directors wanted
him back pretty bad, but they wanted the money worse. They said
they needed it. They had traced the old gent's movements to where
he boarded a tramp fruit steamer bound for South America that same
morning with his daughter and a big gripsack--all the family
"One of the directors had his steam yacht coaled and with steam up,
ready for a trip; and he turned her over to me, cart blongsh. In
four hours I was on board of her, and hot on the trail of the fruit
tub. I had a pretty good idea where old Wahrfield--that was his name,
J. Churchill Wahrfield--would head for. At that time we had a treaty
with about every foreign country except Belgium and that banana
republic, Anchuria. There wasn't a photo of old Wahrfield to be
had in New York--he had been foxy there--but I had his description.
And besides, the lady with him would be a dead-give-away anywhere.
She was one of the high-flyers in Society--not the kind that have
their pictures in the Sunday papers--but the real sort that open
chrysanthemum shows and christen battleships.
"Well, sir, we never got a sight of that fruit tub on the road.
The ocean is a pretty big place; and I guess we took different
paths across it. But we kept going toward this Anchuria, where
the fruiter was bound for.
"We struck the monkey coast one afternoon about four. There was a
ratty-looking steamer off shore taking on bananas. The monkeys were
loading her up with big barges. It might be the one the old man had
taken, and it might not. I went ashore to look around. The scenery
was pretty good. I never saw any finer on the New York stage.
I struck an American on shore, a big, cool chap, standing around
with the monkeys. He showed me the consul's office. The consul was
a nice young fellow. He said the fruiter was the ~Karlsefin~, running
generally to New Orleans, but took her last cargo to New York. Then
I was sure my people were on board, although everybody told me that
no passengers had landed. I didn't think they would land until after
dark, for they might have been shy about it on account of seeing that
yacht of mine hanging around. So, all I had to do was to wait and nab
'em when they came ashore. I couldn't arrest old Wahrfield without
extradition papers, but my play was to get the cash. They generally
give up if you strike 'em when they're tired and rattled and short
"After dark I sat under a coconut tree on the beach for a while,
and then I walked around and investigated that town some, and it was
enough to give you the lions. If a man could stay in New York and be
honest, he'd better do it than to hit that monkey town with a million.
"Dinky little mud houses; grass over your shoe tops in the streets;
ladies in low-neck-and-short-sleeves walking around smoking cigars;
tree-frogs rattling like a hose cart going to a ten blow; big
mountains dropping gravel in the back yards, and the sea licking
the paint off in front--no, sir--a man had better be in God's country
living on free lunch than there.
"The main street ran along the beach, and I walked down it, and
then turned up a kind of lane where the houses were made of poles
and straw. I wanted to see what the monkeys did when they weren't
climbing coconut trees. The very first shack I looked in I saw my
people. They must have come ashore while I was promenading. A man
about fifty, smooth face, heavy eyebrows, dressed in black broadcloth,
looking like he was just about to say, "Can any little boy in the
Sunday school answer that?' He was freezing on to a grip that weighed
like a dozen gold bricks, and a swell girl--a regular peach, with
a Fifth Avenue cut--was sitting on a wooden chair. An old black woman
was fixing some coffee and beans on a table. The light they had come
from a lantern hung on a nail. I went and stood in the door, and they
looked at me, and I said:
"Mr. Wahrfield, you are my prisoner. I hope, for the lady's sake,
you will take the matter sensibly. You know why I want you.'
"'Who are you?' says the old gent.
"'O'Day,' says I, 'of the Columbia Detective Agency. And now, sir,
let me give you a piece of good advice. You go back and take your
medicine like a man. Hand 'em back the boodle; and maybe they'll let
you off light. Go back easy, and I'll put in a word for you. I'll
give you five minutes to decide." I pulled out my watch and waited.
"Then the young lady chipped in. She was one of the genuine
high-steppers. You could tell by the way her clothes fit and
the style she had that Fifth Avenue was made for her.
"'Come inside,' she says. 'Don't stand in the door and disturb the
whole street with that suit of clothes. Now, what is it you want?'
"'Three minutes gone,' I said. 'I'll tell you again while the other
two tick off.'
"'You'll admit being the president of the Republic, won't you?'
"'I am,' says he.
'Well, then,' says I, 'it ought to be plain to you. Wanted, in
New York, J. Churchill Wahrfield, president of the Republic Insurance
"'Also the funds belonging to said company, now in that grip, in
the unlawful possession of said J. Churchill Wahrfield.'
"'Oh-h-h-h!' says the young lady, as if she was thinking, 'you want
to take us back to New York?'
"'To take Mr. Wahrfield. There's no charge against you, miss.
There'll be no objection, of course, to your returning with your
"Of a sudden the girl gave a tiny scream and grabbed the old boy
around the neck. 'Oh, father, father!' she says, kind of contralto,
'can this be true? Have you taken money that is not yours? Speak,
father!' It made you shiver to hear the tremolo stop she put on her
"The old boy looked pretty bughouse when she first grappled him,
but she went on, whispering in his ear and patting his offshoulder
till he stood still, but sweating a little.
"She got him to one side and they talked together a minute, and then
he put on some gold eyeglasses and walked up and handed me the grip.
"'Mr. Detective,' he says, talking a little broken, 'I conclude
to return with you. I have finished to discover that life on this
desolate and displeased coast would be worse than to die, itself.
I will go back and hurl myself upon the mercy of the Republic Company.
Have you brought a sheep?'
"'Sheep!' says I; 'I haven't a single--'
"'Ship,' cut in the young lady. 'Don't get funny. Father is of
German birth, and doesn't speak perfect English. How did you come
"The girl was all broke up. She had a handkerchief to her face,
and kept saying every little bit, '0h, father, father!' She walked
up to me and laid her lily-white hand on the clothes that had pained
her at first. I smelt a million violets. She was a lulu. I told
her I came in a private yacht.
"'Mr. O'Day,' she says. 'Oh, take us away from this horrid country
at once. Can you! Will you! Say you will.'
"'I'll try,' I said, concealing the fact that I was dying to get them
on salt water before they could change their mind.
"One thing they both kicked against was going through the town to
the boat landing. Said they dreaded publicity, and now that they
were going to return, they had a hope that the thing might yet be
kept out of the papers. They swore they wouldn't go unless I got
them out to the yacht without any one knowing it, so I agreed
to humor them.
"The sailors who rowed me ashore were playing billiards in a bar-room
near the water, waiting for orders, and I proposed to have them take
the boat down the beach half a mile or so, and take us up there.
How to get them word was the question, for I couldn't leave the grip
with the prisoner, and I couldn't take it with me, not knowing but
what the monkeys might stick me up.
"The young lady says the old colored woman would take them a note.
I sat down and wrote it, and gave it to the dame with plain directions
what to do, and she grins like a baboon and shakes her head.
"Then Mr. Wahrfield handed her a string of foreign dialect, and she
nods her head and says, 'See, senor' maybe fifty times, and lights
out with the note.
"'0ld Augusta only understands German,' said Miss Wahrfield, smiling
at me. 'We stopped in her house to ask where we could find lodging,
and she insisted upon our having coffee. She tells us she was raised
in a German family in San Domingo.'
"'Very likely,' I said. 'But you can search me for German words,
except ~nix verstay~ and ~noch einst~, I would have called that
"See, senor" French, though, on a gamble.'
"Well, we three made a sneak around the edge of town so as not to
be seen. We got tangled in vines and ferns and the banana bushes
and tropical scenery a good deal. The monkey suburbs was as wild
as places in Central Park. We came out on the beach a good half
mile below. A brown chap was lying asleep under a coconut tree,
with a ten-foot musket beside him. Mr. Wahrfield takes up the gun
and pitches it into the sea. 'The coast is guarded,' he says.
'Rebellion and plots ripen like fruit.' He pointed to the sleeping
man, who never stirred. 'Thus,' he says, 'they perform trusts.
"I saw our boat coming, and I struck a match and lit a piece of
newspaper to show them where we were. In thirty minutes we were
on board the yacht.
"The first thing, Mr. Wahrfield and his daughter and I took the grip
into the owner's cabin, opened it up, and took an inventory. There
was one hundred and five thousand dollars. United States treasury
notes in it, besides a lot of diamond jewelry and a couple of hundred
Havana cigars. I gave the old man the cigars and a receipt for the
rest of the lot, as agent for the company, and locked the stuff up
in my private quarters.
"I never had a pleasanter trip than that one. After we got to sea
the young lady turned out to be the jolliest ever. The very first
time we sat down to dinner, and the steward filled her glass with
champagne--that director's yacht was a regular floating Waldorf-
Astoria--she winks at me and says, 'What's the use to borrow trouble,
Mr. Fly Cop? Here's hoping you may live to eat the hen that scratches
on your grave.' There was a piano on board, and she sat down to it
and sung better than you give up two cases to hear plenty times. She
knew about nine operas clean through. She was sure enough ~bon ton~
and swell. She wasn't one of the 'among others present' kind; she
belonged on the special mention list!
"The old man, too, perked up amazingly on the way. He passed the
cigars, and says to me once, quite chipper, out of a cloud of smoke,
'Mr. O'Day, somehow I think the Republic Company will not give me
the much trouble. Guard well the gripvalise of the money, Mr. O'Day,
for that it must be returned to them that it belongs when we finish
"When we landed in New York I 'phoned to the chief to meet us in
that director's office. We got in a cab and went there. I carried
the grip, and we walked in, and I was pleased to see that the chief
had got together that same old crowd of moneybugs with pink faces
and white vests to see us march in. I set the grip on the table.
'There's the money,' I said.
"'And your prisoner?' said the chief.
"I pointed to Mr. Wahrfield, and he stepped forward and says:
"'The honor of a word with you, sir, to explain.'
"He and the chief went into another room and stayed ten minutes.
When they came back the chief looked as black as a ton of coal.
"'Did this gentleman,' he says to me, 'have this valise in
his possession when you first saw him?'
"'He did,' said I.
"The chief took up the grip and handed it to the prisoner with
a bow, and says to the director crowd: 'Do any of you recognize
"They all shook their pink faces.
"'Allow me to present,' he goes on, 'Senor Miraflores, president
of the republic of Anchuria. The senor has generously consented
to overlook this outrageous blunder, on condition that we undertake
to secure him against the annoyance of public comment. It is a
concession on his part to overlook an insult for which he might
claim international redress. I think we can gratefully promise him
secrecy in the matter.'
"They gave him a pink nod all round.
"'O'Day,' he says to me. 'As a private detective you're wasted.
In a war, where kidnapping governments is in the rules, you'd be
invaluable. Come down to the office at eleven.'
"I knew what that meant.
"'So that's the president of the monkeys,' says I. 'Well,
why couldn't he have said so?'
"Wouldn't it jar you?"
Vaudeville is intrinsically episodic and discontinuous. Its audiences
do not demand denouements. Sufficient unto each "turn" is the evil
thereof. No one cares how many romances the singing comedienne may
have had if she can capably sustain the limelight and a high note or
two. The audiences reck not if the performing dogs get to the pound
the moment they have jumped through their last hoop. They do not
desire bulletins about the possible injuries received by the comic
cyclist who retires head-first from the stage in a crash of (property)
china-ware. Neither do they consider that their seat coupons entitle
them to be instructed whether or no there is a sentiment between the
lady solo banjoist and the Irish monologist.
Therefore let us have no lifting of the curtain upon a tableau of
the united lovers, backgrounded by defeated villainy and derogated
by the comic, osculating maid and butler, thrown in as a sop to
the Cerberi of the fifty-cent seats.
But our program ends with a brief "turn" or two; and then to the
exits. Whoever sits the show out may find, if he will, the slender
thread that binds together, though ever so slightly, the story that,
perhaps, only the Walrus will understand.
~Extracts from a letter from the first vice-president of the Republic
Insurance Company, of New York City, to Frank Goodwin, of Coralio,
Republic of Anchuria.~
~My Dear Mr. Goodwin:~--Your communication per Messrs. Howland and
Fourchet, of New Orleans, has reached us. Also their draft on N.Y.
for $100,000, the amount abstracted from the funds of this company
by the late J. Churchill Wahrfield, its former president.... The
officers and directors unite in requesting me to express to you their
sincere esteem and thanks for your prompt and much appreciated return
of the entire missing sum within two weeks from the time of its
disappearance.... Can assure you that the matter will not be allowed
to receive the least publicity.... Regret exceedingly the distressing
death of Mr. Wahrfield by his own hand, but... Congratulations on your
marriage to Miss Wahrfield... many charms, winning manners, noble and
womanly nature and envied position in the best metropolitan
Lucius E. Applegate,~
~The Last Sausage~
SCENE--An Artist's Studio. The artist, a young man of prepossessing
appearance, sits in a dejected attitude, amid a litter of sketches,
with his head resting upon his hand. An oil stove stands on a pine
box in the center of the studio. The artist rises, tightens his waist
belt to another hole, and lights the stove. He goes to a tin bread
box, half-hidden by a screen, takes out a solitary link of sausage,
turns the box upside-down to show that there is no more, and chucks
the sausage into a frying-pan, which he sets upon the stove.
The flame of the stove goes out, showing that there is no more oil.
The artist, in evident despair, seizes the sausage, in a sudden access
of rage, and hurls it violently from him. At the same time a door
opens, and a man who enters receives the sausage forcibly against
his nose. He seems to cry out; and is observed to make a dance step
or two, vigorously. The newcomer is a ruddy-faced, active, keen-
looking man, apparently of Irish ancestry. Next he is observed
to laugh immoderately; he kicks over the stove; he claps the artist
(who is vainly striving to grasp his hand) vehemently upon the back.
Then he goes through a pantomime which to the sufficiently intelligent
spectator reveals that he has acquired large sums of money by trading
pot-metal hatchets and razors to the Indians of the Cordillera
Mountains for gold dust. He draws a roll of money as large as
a small loaf of bread from his pocket, and waves it above his head,
while at the same time he makes pantomime of drinking from a glass.
The artist hurriedly secures his hat, and the two leave the studio
~The Writing on the Sands~
SCENE--The Beach at Nice. A woman, beautiful, still young,
exquisitely clothed, complacent, poised, reclines near the water,
idly scrawling letters in the sand with the staff of her silken
parasol. The beauty of her face is audacious; her languid pose
is one that you feel to be impermanent--you wait, expectant, for her
to spring or glide or crawl, like a panther that has unaccountably
become stock-still. She idly scrawls in the sand; and the word that
she always writes is "Isabel." A man sits a few yards away. You can
see that they are companions, ever if no longer comrades. His face
is dark and smooth, and almost inscrutable--but not quite. The two
speak little together. The man also scratches on the sand with his
cane. And the word that he writes is "Anchuria." And then he looks
out where the Mediterranean and the sky intermingle with death in
~The Wilderness and Thou~
SCENE--~The Borders of a Gentleman's Estate in a Tropical Land.~
An old Indian, with a mahogany-colored face, is trimming the grass
on a grave by a mangrove swamp. Presently he rises to his feet and
walks slowly toward a grove that is shaded by the gathering, brief
twilight. In the edge of the grove stands a man who is stalwart,
with a kind and courteous air, and a woman of a serene and clear-cut
loveliness. When the old Indian comes up to them the man drops money
in his hand. The grave-tender, with the stolid pride of his race,
takes it as his due, and goes his way. The two in the edge of
the grove turn back along the dim pathway, and walk close, close--
for, after all, what is the world at its best but a little round
field of the moving pictures with two walking together in it?
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