« IndietroContinua »
authorizin' arrest, conviction and imprisonment of persons that succeed in concealin' their crimes from the police.
"' Don't ye know Jimmy Clancy?' says I. 'Ye pink-gilled monster.' So, when O'Hara recognized me beneath the scandalous exterior bestowed upon me by the tropics, I backed him into a doorway and told him what I wanted, and why I wanted it. 'All right, Jimmy,' says O'Hara. 'Go back and hold the bench. I'll be along in ten minutes.'
"In that time O'Hara strolled through Lafayette Square and spied two Weary Willies disgracin' one of the benches. In ten minutes more J. Clancy and General De Vega, late candidate for the presidency of Guatemala, was in the station house. The general is badly frightened, and calls upon me to proclaim his distinguishments and rank.
"'The man,' says I to the police,' used to be a railroad man. He's on the bum now. 'Tis a little bughouse he is, on account of losin' his job.'
"'Carrambos!' says the general, fizzin' like a little soda-water fountain, 'you fought, senor, with my forces in my native country. Why do you say the lies? You shall say I am the General De Vega, one soldier, one caballero —'
"' Railroader,' says I again. 'On the hog. No good. Been livin' for three days on stolen bananas. Look at him. Ain't that enough?'
"Twenty-five dollars or sixty days, was what the recorder gave the general. He didn't have a cent, so he took the time. They let me go, as I knew they would, for I had money to show, and O'Hara spoke forme. Yes; sixty days he got. 'Twas just so long that I slung a pick for the great country of Kam — Guatemala."
Clancy paused. The bright starlight showed a reminiscent look of happy content on his seasoned features. Keogh leaned in his chair and gave his partner a slap on his thinly-clad back that sounded like the crack of the surf on the sands. "Tell 'em, ye divil," he chuckled, "how you got even with the tropical general in the way of agricultural manoeuvrings."
"Havin' no money," concluded Clancy, with unction, "they set him to work his fine out with a gang from the parish prison clearing Ursulines Street. Around the corner was a saloon decorated genially with electric fans and cool merchandise. I made that me headquarters, and every fifteen minutes I'd walk around and take a look at the little man filibusterin' with a rake and shovel. 'Twas just such a hot broth of a day as this has been. And I'd call at him 'Hey, monseer!' and he'd look at me black, with the damp showin' through his shirt in places.
"' Fat, strong mans,' says I to General De Vega, * is needed in New Orleans. Yes. To carry on the good work. Carrambos! Erin go bragh!'"
THE REMNANTS OF THE CODE
Breakfast in Coralio was at eleven. Therefore the people did not go to market early. The little wooden market-house stood on a patch of short-trimmed grass, under the vivid green foliage of a bread-fruit tree.
Thither one morning the venders leisurely convened, bringing their wares with them. A porch or platform six feet wide encircled the building, shaded from the mid-morning sun by the projecting, grassthatched roof. Upon this platform the venders were wont to display their goods — newly-killed beef, fish, crabs, fruit of the country, cassava, eggs, dulces and high, tottering stacks of native tortillas as large around as the sombrero of a Spanish grandee.
But on this morning they whose stations lay on the seaward side of the market-house, instead of spreading their merchandise formed themselves into a softly jabbering and gesticulating group. For there upon their space of the platform was sprawled, asleep, the unbeautiful figure of "Beelzebub" Blythe. He lay upon a ragged strip of cocoa matting, more than ever a fallen angel in appearance. His suit of coarse flax, soiled, bursting at the seams, crumpled into a thousand diversified wrinkles and creases, inclosed him absurdly, like the garb of some effigy that had been stuffed in sport and thrown there after indignity had been wrought upon it. But firmly upon the high bridge of his nose reposed his gold-rimmed glasses, the surviving badge of his ancient glory.
The sun's rays, reflecting quiveringly from the rippling sea upon his face, and the voices of the marketmen woke " Beelzebub " Blythe. He sat up, blinking, and leaned his back against the wall of the market. Drawing a blighted silk handkerchief from his pocket, he assiduously rubbed and burnished his glasses. And while doing this he became aware that his bedroom had been invaded, and that polite brown and yellow men were beseeching him to vacate in favour of their market stuff.
If the senor would have the goodness — a thousand pardons for bringing to him molestation — but soon would come the compradores for the day's provisions — surely they had ten thousand regrets at disturbing him!
In this manner they expanded to him the intima