« IndietroContinua »
der her eyes.
a small loaf of bread. There were dark circles un
She seemed as calm as ever. “By jingo,” said Dicky, who seemed to speak in English or Spanish as the whim seized him, “this is dry provender, muchachita. Is this the best you can dig up for a fellow ?”
Pasa looked at him as a mother looks at a beloved but capricious babe.
“Think better of it,” she said, in a low voice; “since for the next meal there will be nothing. The last centavo is spent.” She pressed closer against the grating.
“Sell the goods in the shop — take anything for them."
“Have I not tried ? Did I not offer them for onetenth 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 endeavoured 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 harbour. Dicky called to the sentry who was pacing before the door: "What steamer comes?”
“Go you, picarilla,” said Dicky joyously to Pasa, sto 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 comfortable or newspapers
"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, 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 exceedingly sorry - exceedingly 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 nced 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 very well.”