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there had been wrested from the jungle and planted with bananas and cane and orange groves. The rest was a riot of wild vegetation, the home of monkeys, tapirs, jaguars, alligators and prodigious reptiles and insects. Where no road was cut a serpent could scarcely make its way through the tangle of vines and creepers. Across the treacherous mangrove swamps few things without wings could safely pass. Therefore the fugitives could hope to reach the coast only by one of the routes named.
"Keep the matter quiet, Billy," advised Goodwin. "We don't want the Ins to know that the president is in flight. I suppose Bob's information is something of a scoop in the capital as yet. Otherwise he would not have tried to make his message a confidential one; and, besides, everybody would have heard the news. I'm going around now to see Dr. Zavalla, and start a man up the trail to cut the telegraph wire."
As Goodwin rose, Keogh threw his hat upon the grass by the door and expelled a tremendous sigh.
"What's the trouble, Billy?" asked Goodwin, pausing. "That's the first time I ever heard you sigh."
"'Tis the last," said Keogh. "With that sorrowful puff of wind I resign myself to a life of praiseworthy but harassing honesty. What are tintypes, if you please, to the opportunities of the great and hilarious class of ganders and geese? Not that I would be a president, Frank — and the boodle he's got is too big for me to handle — but in some ways I feel my conscience hurting me for addicting myself to photographing a nation instead of running away with it. Frank, did you ever see the ' bundle of muslin ' that His Excellency has wrapped up and carried off?"
"Isabel Guilbert? " said Goodwin, laughing. "No, I never did. From what I've heard of her, though, I imagine that she wouldn't stick at anything to carry her point. Don't get romantic, Billy. Sometimes I begin to fear that there's Irish blood in your ancestry."
"I never saw her either," went on Keogh; "but they say she's got all the ladies of mythology, sculpture, and fiction reduced to chromos. They say she can look at a man once, and he'll turn monkey and climb trees to pick cocoanuts for her. Think of that president man with Lord knows how many hundreds of thousands of dollars in one hand, and this muslin siren in the other, galloping down hill on a sympathetic mule amid songbirds and flowers! And here is Billy Keogh, because he is virtuous, condemned to the unprofitable swindle of slandering the faces of missing links on tin for an honest living! 'Tis an injustice of nature."
"Cheer up," said Goodwin. "You are a pretty poor fox to be envying a gander. Maybe the enchanting Guilbert will take a fancy to you and your tintypes after we impoverish her royal escort."
"She could do worse," reflected Keogh; "but she won't. 'Tis not a tintype gallery, but the gallery of the gods that she's fitted to adorn. She's a very wicked lady, and the president man is in luck. But I hear Clancy swearing in the back room for having to do all the work." And Keogh plunged for the rear of the "gallery," whistling gaily in a spontaneous way that belied his recent sigh over the questionable good luck of the flying president.
Goodwin turned from the main street into a much narrower one that intersected it at a right angle.
These side streets were covered by a growth of thick, rank grass, which was kept to a navigable shortness by the machetes of the police. Stone sidewalks, little more than a ledge in width, ran along the base of the mean and monotonous adobe houses. At the outskirts of the village these streets dwindled to nothing; and here were set the palm-thatched huts of the Caribs and the poorer natives, and the shabby cabins of negroes from Jamaica and the West India the red-tiled roofs of tie mK-stflrr houses — the >wTi tower of the Colobflsa. tie Hotel 3f Ins the residence of the TescrJas Fruit a^eni. tic store and resa3f3>« of Bernard & nnned citbedra] Ie "a C<»himt»a* foot, and. nKsst impasiTi£ of *IL the O«s* Mown* — tie grmrmpr *• What* House "" of the Presxfent <vf Atj
On the prinfdp*! stpct-t nm — tie Bro*dw«T of Comlio — Wct* the stores, the govercroeaDt bodfpa and post-ofto^ th* cxartd^ the nun-shops and the market placeOn his war Goodwin passed the house of Bernani Brannigan. It was a nxxkrn wooden building, twv» stories in height. The ground floor was occupied by Brannigsn's store, the upper one contained the living apartments, A wide cool porch ran around the house half way up its outer walls. A handsome, vivacious girl neatly dressed in flowing white huwd over the railing and smiled down upon Goodwin. She was no darker than many an And&Iusian of high descent; and she sparkled and glowed like a tropical moonlight.
"Good evening, Miss Paula," said Goodwin, taking off his hat, with his ready smile. There was little difference in his manner whether he addressed women or men. Everybody in Coralio liked to receive the saletation of the big American.
"Is there any news, Mr. Goodwin? Please don't say no. Isn't it warm? I feel just like Mariana in her moated grange — or was it a range? — it's hot enough."
"No, there's no news to tell, I believe," said Goodwin, with a mischievous look in his eye, " except that old Geddie is getting grumpier and crosser every day. If something doesn't happen to relieve his mind I'll have to quit smoking on his back porch — and there's no other place available that is cool enough."
"He isn't grumpy," said Paula Brannigan, impulsively, "when he —"
But she ceased suddenly, and drew back with a deepening colour; for her mother had been a mestizo lady, and the Spanish blood had brought to Paula a certain shyness that was an adornment to the other half of her demonstrative nature.