« IndietroContinua »
lot of college men seem to have m.sused 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, or newspa
“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 in Anchuria.
“I am exceeding sorry- exceeding sorry, the captain, “to see this occur. I place myself at your service, Mr. Maloney. Whatever 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 not -- it 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, capitán mio. No; there is no failure in my business. The little shop is doing
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 author.
Surely there is no martial law in effect now, señor,”
“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 tread:
“ 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 and 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, to-night, 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
That is what I wish to
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 to-night. 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 harbour.
Presently Pasa rippled out one of her infrequent chirrups of audible laughter.
“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!"