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“Henry whispers to me and wants the pause in the programme interpreted. I whisper back: 'H. P. is up against a bribe, senator's size, and the coons have got him going.' I saw Mellinger's hand moving closer to the package. “He's weakening,' I whispered to Henry. “We'll remind him,' says Henry, ‘of the peanut-roaster on Thirty-fourth Street, New York.'
“Henry stooped down and got a record from the basketful we'd brought, slid it in the phonograph, and started her off. It was a cornet solo, very neat and beautiful, and the name of it was 'Home, Sweet Home. Not one of them fifty odd men in the room moved while it was playing, and the governor man kept his eyes steady on Mellinger. I saw Mellinger's head go up little by little, and his hand came creeping away from the package. Not until the last note sounded did anybody stir.
And then Homer P. Mellinger takes up the bundle of boodle and slams it in the governor man's face.
" "That's my answer,' says Mellinger, private secretary, 'and there'll be another in the morning. I have proofs of conspiracy against every man of you. The show is over, gentlemen.'
“ “There's one more act,' puts in the governor man. ‘You are a servant, I believe, employed by the presi
dent to copy letters and answer raps at the door. I am governor here. Señores, I call upon you in the name of the cause to seize this man.'
“That brindled gang of conspirators shoved back their chairs and advanced in force. I could see where Mellinger had made a mistake in massing his enemy so as to make a grand-stand play. I think he made. another one, too; but we can pass that, Mellinger's idea of a graft and mine being different, according to estimations and points of view..
“There was only one window and door in that room, and they were in the front end. Here was fifty odd Latin men coming in a bunch to obstruct the legislation of Mellinger. You may say there were three of us, for me and Henry, simultaneous, declared New York City and the Cherokee Nation in sympathy with the weaker party.
"Then it was that Henry Horsecollar rose to a point of disorder and intervened, showing, admirable, the advantages of education as applied to the American Indian's natural intellect and native refinement. He stood up and smoothed back his hair on each side with his hands as you have seen little girls do when they play.
“Get behind me, both of you,' says Henry. 66 "What's it to be, chief?' I asked.
««I'm going to buck centre,' says Henry, in his football idioms. There isn't a tackle in the lot of them. Follow me close, and rush the game.'
“Then that cultured Red Man exhaled an arrangement of sounds with his mouth that made the Latin aggregation paụse, with thoughtfulness and hesitations. The matter of his proclamation seemed to be a co-operation of the Carlisle war-whoop with the Cherokee college yell. He went at the chocolate team like a bean out of a little boy's nigger shooter. His right elbow laid out the governor man on the gridiron, and he made a lane the length of the crowd so wide
woman could have carried a step-ladder through it without striking against anything. All Mellinger and me had to do was to follow.
“It took us just three minutes to get out of that street around to military headquarters, where Mellinger had things his own way. A colonel and a battalion of bare-toed infantry turned out and went back to the scene of the musicale with us, but the conspirator gang was gone. But we recaptured the phonograph with honours of war, and marched back to the cuartel with it playing 'All Coons Look Alike to Me.'
“The next day Mellinger takes me and Henry to one side, and begins to shed tens and twenties.
“ 'I want to buy that phonograph,' says he. “I liked that last tune it played at the soirée.'
“This is more money than the machine is worth,
««'Tis government expense money,' says Mellin"The
for it, and it's getting the tune-grinder cheap.'
"Me and Henry knew that pretty well. We knew that it had saved Homer P. Mellinger’s graft when he was on the point of losing it; but we never let him know we knew it.
“ 'Now you boys better slide off further down the coast for a while,' says Mellinger, 'till I get the screws put on these fellows here. If you don't they'll give you trouble. And if you ever happen to see Billy Renfrow again before I do, tell him I'm coming back to New York as soon as I can make a stake honest.'
"Me and Henry laid low until the day the steamer came back. When we saw the captain's boat on the beach we went down and stood in the edge of the water. The captain grinned when he saw us.
“I told you you'd be waiting,' he says. “Where's the Hamburger machine?'
“ 'It stays behind,' I says, “to play "Home, Sweet Home.",
“ 'I told you so,' says the captain again. "Climb in the boat.'
“And that,” said Keogh, “is the way me and Henry Horsecollar introduced the phonograph into this country. Henry went back to the States, but I've been rummaging around in the tropics ever since. They say Mellinger never travelled a mile after that without his phonograph. I guess it kept him reminded about his graft whenever he saw the siren voice of the boodler tip him the wink with a bribe in its hand.”
“I suppose he's taking it home with him as souvenir," remarked the consul.
“Not as a souvenir,” said Keogh. “He'll need two of 'em in New York, running day and night.”