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business firm does not go to war with a nation .but it reminded Señor Espirition and others in those carriages that the Vesuvius Fruit Company was doubtedly 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-humoured 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 sceneshifters.”
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 honoured guest at European courts and camps. An eloquent speaker and a friend to the people, he represented the highest type of the Anchurians.
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 régime 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 still free."
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 useful
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 schemibg 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 assassin!"
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 cushions.
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 kindyes, more
his youth, his image people