One night when there was no breeze, and Coralio seemed closer than
ever to the gratings of Avernus, five men were grouped about the door
of the photograph establishment of Keogh and Clancy. Thus, in all
the scorched and exotic places of the earth, Caucasians meet when
the day's work is done to preserve the fulness of their heritage
by the aspersion of alien things.
Johnny Atwood lay stretched upon the grass in the undress uniform of
a Carib, and prated feebly of cool water to be had in the cucumber-
wood pumps of Dalesburg. Doctor Gregg, through the prestige of
his whiskers and as a bribe against the relation of his imminent
professional tales, was conceded the hammock that was swung between
the door jamb and a calabash-tree. Keogh had moved out upon the grass
a little table that held the instrument for burnishing completed
photographs. He was the only busy one of the group. Industriously
from between the cylinders of the burnisher rolled the finished
depictments of Coralio's citizens. Blanchard, the French mining
engineer, in his cool linen viewed the smoke of his cigarette through
his calm glasses, impervious to the heat. Clancy sat on the steps,
smoking his short pipe. His mood was the gossip's; the others were
reduced, by the humidity, to the state of disability desirable in
Clancy was an American with an Irish diathesis and cosmopolitan
proclivities. Many businesses had claimed him, but not for long.
The roadster's blood was in his veins. The voice of the tintype was
but one of the many callings that had wooed him upon so many roads.
Sometimes he could be persuaded to oral construction of his voyages
into the informal and egregious. Tonight there were symptoms of
divulgement in him.
"'Tis elegant weather for filibustering'," he volunteered. "It
reminds me of the time I struggled to liberate a nation from the
poisonous breath of a tyrant's clutch. 'Twas hard work. 'Tis
straining to the back and makes corns on the hands."
"I didn't know you had ever lent your sword to an oppressed people,"
murmured Atwood, from the grass.
"I did," said Clancy; "and they turned it into a plowshare."
"What country was so fortunate as to secure your aid?" airily inquired
"Where's Kamchatka?" asked Clancy, with seeming irrelevance.
"Why, off Siberia somewhere in the Arctic regions," somebody answered,
"I thought that was the cold one," said Clancy, with a satisfied nod.
"I'm always gettin' the two names mixed. 'Twas Guatemala, then--the
hot one--I've been filibusterin' with. Ye'll find that country on
the map. 'Tis in the district known as the tropics. By the foresight
of Providence, it lies on the coast so the geography men could run the
names of the towns off into the water. They're an inch long, small
type, composed of Spanish dialects, and, 'tis my opinion, of the same
system of syntax that blew up the ~Maine~. Yes, 'twas that country
I sailed against, single-handed, and endeavored to liberate it from
a tyrannical government with a single-barrelled pickaxe, unloaded
at that. Ye don't understand, of course. 'Tis a statement demandin'
elucidation and apologies.
"'Twas in New Orleans one morning about the first ofJune; I was
standing down on the wharf, looking about at the ships in the river.
There was a little steamer moored right opposite me that seemed about
ready to sail. The funnels of it were throwing out smoke, and a gang
of roustabouts were carrying aboard a pile of boxes that was stacked
up on the wharf. The boxes were about two feet square, and something
like four feet long, and they seemed to be pretty heavy.
"I walked over, careless, to the stack of boxes. I saw one of them
had been broken in handlin'. 'Twas curiosity made me pull up
the loose top and look inside. The box was packed full of Winchester
rifles. 'So, so,' says I to myself; 'somebody's gettin' a twist
on the neutrality laws. Somebody's aidin' with munitions of war.
I wonder where the popguns are goin'?'
"I heard somebody cough, and I turned around. There stood a little,
round, fat man with a brown face and white clothes, a first-class-
looking little man, with a four-karat diamond on his finger and
his eye full of interrogations and respects. I judged he was a kind
of foreigner--may be from Russia or Japan or the archipelagoes.
"'Hist!' says the round man, full of concealments and confidences.
'Will the senor respect the discoveryments he has made, that the mans
on the ship shall not be acquaint? The senor will be a gentleman
that shall not expose one thing that by accident occur.'
"'Monseer,' says I--for I judged him to be a kind of Frenchman--
'receive my most exasperated assurances that your secret is safe with
James Clancy. Furthermore, I will go so far as to remark, Veev la
Liberty--veev it good and strong. Whenever you hear of a Clancy
obstructin' the abolishment of existin' governments you may notify
me by return mail.'
"'The senor is good,' says the dark, fat man, smilin' under his black
mustache. 'Wish you to come aboard my ship and drink of wine a glass.'
"Bein' a Clancy, in two minutes me and the foreigner man were seated
at a table in the cabin of the steamer, with a bottle between us. I
could hear the heavy boxes bein' dumped into the hold. I judged that
cargo must consist of at least 2,000 Winchesters. Me and the brown
man drank the bottle of stuff, and he called the steward to bring
another. When you amalgamate a Clancy with the contents of a bottle
you practically instigate secession. I had heard a good deal about
these revolutions in them tropical localities, and I begun to want
a hand in it.
"'You goin' to stir things up in your country, ain't you, monseer?'
says I, with a wink to let him know I was on.
"'Yes, yes,' said the little man, pounding his fist on the table.
'A change of the greatest will occur. Too long have the people been
oppressed with the promises and the never-to-happen things to become.
The great work it shall be carry on. Yes. Our forces shall in the
capital city strike of the soonest. ~Carrambos!~'
"'~Carrambos~ is the word,' says I, beginning to invest myself with
enthusiasm and more wine, 'likewise veeva, as I said before. May the
shamrock of old--I mean the banana-vine or the pie-plant, or whatever
the imperial emblem may be of your down-trodden country, wave
"'A thousand thank-yous,' says the round man, 'for your emission of
amicable utterances. What our cause needs of the very most is mans
who will the work do, to lift it along. Oh, for one thousands strong,
good mans to aid the General De Vega that he shall to his country
bring those success and glory! It is hard--oh, so hard to find good
mans to help in the work.'
"'Monseer,' says I, leanin' over the table and graspin' his hand,
I don't know where your country is, but me heart bleeds for it. The
heart of a Clancy was never deaf to the sight of an oppressed people.
The family is filibusterers by birth, and foreigners by trade. If you
can use James Clancy's arms and his blood in denuding your shores of
the tyrant's yoke they're yours to command.'
"General De Vega was overcome with joy to confiscate my condolence
of his conspiracies and predicaments. He tried to embrace me across
the table, but his fatness, and the wine that had been in the bottles,
prevented. Thus was I welcomed into the ranks of filibustery. Then
the general man told me his country had the name of Guatemala, and was
the greatest nation laved by any ocean whatever anywhere. He looked
at me with tears in his eyes, and from time to time he would emit the
remark, 'Ah! big, strong, brave mans! That is what my country need.'
"General De Vega, as was the name by which he denounced himself,
brought out a document for me to sign, which I did, makin' a fine
flourish and curlycue with the tail of the 'y.'
"'Your passage-money,' says the general, business-like, 'shall from
your pay be deduct.'
"''Twill not,' says I, haughty. I'll pay my own passage.' A hundred
and eighty dollars I had in my inside pocket, and 'twas no common
filibuster I was goin' to be, filibusterin' for me board and clothes.
"The steamer was to sail in two hours, and I went ashore to get some
things together I'd need. When I came aboard I showed the general
with pride the outfit. 'Twas a fine Chinchilla overcoat, Arctic
overshoes, fur cap and earmuffs, with elegant fleece-lined gloves
and woollen muffler.
"~'Carrambos!~ says the little general. 'What clothes are these that
shall go to the tropic?' And then the little spalpeen laughs, and he
calls the captain, and the captain calls the purser, and they pipe up
the chief engineer, and the whole gang leans against the cabin and
laughs at Clancy's wardrobe for Guatemala.
"I reflects a bit, serious, and asks the general again to denominate
the terms by which his country is called. He tells me, and I see then
that 'twas the t'other one, Kamchatka, I had in mind. Since then I've
had difficulty in separatin' the two nations in name, climate and
"I paid my passage--twenty-four dollars, first cabin--and ate at
table with the officer crowd. Down on the lower deck was a gang
of second-class passengers, about forty of them, seemin' to be Dagoes
and the like. I wondered what so many of them were goin' along for.
"Well, then, in three days we sailed alongside that Guatemala. 'Twas
a blue country, and not yellow as 'tis miscolored on the map. We
landed at a town on the coast, where a train of cars was waitin' for
us on a dinky little railroad. The boxes on the steamer were brought
ashore and loaded on the cars. The gang of Dagoes got aboard, too,
the general and me in the front car. Yes, me and General De Vega
headed the revolution, as it pulled out of the seaport town. That
train travelled about as fast as a policeman goin' to a riot. It
penetrated the most conspicuous lot of fuzzy scenery ever seen outside
a geography. We run some forty miles in seven hours, and the train
stopped. There was no more railroad. 'Twas a sort of camp in a damp
gorge full of wildness and melancholies. They was grading and
choppin' out the forests ahead to continue the road. 'Here,' says
I to myself, 'is the romantic haunt of the revolutionists. Here will
Clancy, by the virtue that is in a superior race and the inculcation
of Fenian tactics, strike a tremendous blow for liberty.'
"They unloaded the boxes from the train and begun to knock the tops
off. From the first one that was open I saw General De Vega take the
Winchester rifles and pass them around to a squad of morbid soldiery.
The other boxes was opened next, and, believe me or not, divil another
gun was to be seen. Every other box in the load was full of pickaxes
"And then--sorrow be upon them tropics--the proud Clancy and
the dishonored Dagoes, each one of them, had to shoulder a pick or
a spade, and march away to work on that dirty little railroad. Yes;
'twas that the Dagoes shipped for, and 'twas that the filibusterin'
Clancy signed for, though unbeknownst to himself at the time. In
after days I found out about it. It seems 'twas hard to get hands
to work on that road. The intelligent natives of the country was
too lazy to work. Indeed, the saints know, 'twas unnecessary. By
stretchin' out one hand, they could seize the most delicate and costly
fruits of the earth, and, by stretchin' out the other, they could
sleep for days at a time without hearin' a seven o'clock whistle
or the footsteps of the rent man upon the stairs. So, regular, the
steamers travelled to the United States to seduce labor. Usually the
imported spade-slingers died in two or three months from eatin' the
over-ripe water and breathing the violent tropical scenery. Wherefore
they made them sign contracts for a year, when they hired them, and
put an armed guard over the poor devils to keep them from runnin'
"'Twas thus I was double-crossed by the tropics through a family
failing of goin' out of the way to hunt disturbances.
"They gave me a pick, and I took it, meditating an insurrection on
the spot; but there was the guards handling the Winchesters careless,
and I come to the conclusion that discretion was the best part of
filibusterin'. There was about a hundred of us in the gang starting
out to work, and the word was given to move. I steps out of the ranks
and goes up to that General De Vega man, who was smokin' a cigar and
gazin' upon the scene with satisfactions and glory. He smiles at me
polite and devilish. 'Plenty work,' says he, 'for big, strong mans
in Guatemala. Yes. Thirty dollars in the month. Good pay. Ah, yes.
You strong, brave man. Bimeby we push those railroad in the capital
very quick. They want you go work now. ~Adios~, strong mans.'
"'Monseer,' says I, lingerin', 'will you tell a poor little Irishman
this: When I set foot on your cockroachy steamer, and breathed
liberal and revolutionary sentiments into your sour wine, did you
think I was conspirin' to sling a pick on your contemptuous little
railroad? And when you answered me with patriotic recitations,
humping up the star-spangled cause of liberty, did you have
meditations of reducin' me to the ranks of the stump-grubbin' Dagoes
in the chain-gangs of your vile and grovelin' country?'
'The general man expanded his rotundity and laughed considerable.
Yes, he laughed very long and loud, and I, Clancy, stood and waited.
"'Comical mans!' he shouts, at last. 'So you will kill me from the
laughing. Yes; it is hard to find the brave, strong mans to aid my
country. Revolutions? Did I speak of r-r-revolutions? Not one
word. I say, big, strong man is need in Guatemala. So. The mistake
is of you. You have looked in those one box containing those gun
for the guard. You think all boxes is contain gun? No.
"'There is not war in Guatemala. But work? Yes. Good. Thirty dollar
in the month. You shall shoulder one pickaxe, senor, and dig for
the liberty and prosperity of Guatemala. Off to your work. The guard
waits for you.'
"'Little, fat, poodle dog of a brown man,' says I, quiet, but full of
indignations and discomforts, 'things shall happen to you. Maybe not
right away, but as soon as J. Clancy can formulate somethin' in the
way of repartee.'
"The boss of the gang orders us to work. I tramps off with the
Dagoes, and I hears the distinguished patriot and kidnapper laughin'
hearty as we go.
"Tis a sorrowful fact, for eight weeks I built railroads for that
misbehavin' country. I filibustered twelve hours a day with a heavy
pick and a spade, choppin' away the luxurious landscape that grew
upon the right of way. We worked in swamps that smelled like there
was a leak in the gas mains, trampin' down a fine assortment of
the most expensive hothouse plants and vegetables. The scene was
tropical beyond the wildest imagination of the geography man. The
trees was all sky-scrapers; the underbrush was full of needles and
pins; there was monkeys jumpin' around and crocodiles and pink-tailed
mockin'-birds, and ye stood knee-deep in the rotten water and grabbled
roots for the liberation of Guatemala. Of nights we would build
smudges in camp to discourage the mosquitoes, and sit in the smoke,
with the guards pacin' all around us. There was two hundred men
working on the road--mostly Dagoes, nigger-men, Spanish-men and
Swedes. Three or four were Irish.
"One old man named Halloran--a man of Hibernian entitlements and
discretions, explained it to me. He had been working on the road
a year. Most of them died in less than six months. He was dried up
to gristle and bone, and shook with chills every third night. "'When
you first come,' says he, 'ye think ye'll leave right away. But they
hold out your first month's pay for your passage over, and by that
time the tropics has its grip on ye. Ye're surrounded by a ragin'
forest full of disreputable beasts--lions and baboons and anacondas--
waiting to devour ye. The sun strikes ye hard, and melts the marrow
in your bones. Ye get similar to the lettuce--eaters the poetry-books
speaks about. Ye forget the elevated sintiments of life, such as
patriotism, revenge, disturbances of the peace and the dacint love of
a clane shirt. Ye do your work, and ye swallow the kerosene ile and
rubber pipestems dished up to ye by the Dago cook for food. Ye light
your pipeful, and say to yourself, "Nixt week I'll break away," and ye
go to sleep and call yersilf a liar, for ye know yell never do it.'
'Who is this general man,' asks I, 'that calls himself De Vega?'
"'Tis the man,' says Halloran, 'who is tryin' to complete the
finishin' of the railroad. 'Twas the project of a private
corporation, but it busted, and then the government took it up.
De Vegy is a big politician, and wants to be president. The people
want the railroad completed, as they're taxed mighty on account of it.
The De Vegy man is pushing it along as a campaign move.'
"''Tis not my way,' says I, 'to make threats against any man, but
there's an account to be settled between the railroad man and James
"''Twas that way I thought, mesilf, at first,' Halloran says, with
a big sigh, 'until I got to be a lettuce-eater. The fault's wid these
tropics. They rejuices a man's system. 'Tis a land, as the poet
says, "Where it always seems to be after dinner." I does me work
and smokes me pipe and sleeps. There's little else in life, anyway.
Ye'll get that way yersilf, mighty soon. Don't be harborin' any
sentiments at all, Clancy.'
"'I can't help it,' says I; I'm full of 'em. I enlisted in the
revolutionary army of this dark country in good faith to fight for
its liberty, honors, and silver candlesticks; instead of which I am
set to amputatin' its scenery and grubbin' its roots. 'Tis the
general man will have to pay for it.'
"Two months I worked on that railroad before I found a chance to get
away. One day a gang of us was sent back to the end of the completed
line to fetch some picks that had been sent down to Port Barrios to
be sharpened. They were brought on a hand-car, and I noticed, when
I started away, that the car was left there on the track.
"That night, about twelve, I woke up Halloran and told him my scheme.
"'Run away?' says Halloran. 'Good Lord, Clancy, do ye mean it? Why,
I ain't got the nerve. It's too chilly, and I ain't slept enough.
Run away? I told you, Clancy, I've eat the lettuce. I've lost my
grip. 'Tis the tropics that's done it. 'Tis like the poet says:
"Forgotten are our friends that we have left behind; in the hollow
lettuce-land we will live and lay reclined." You better go on,
Clancy. I'll stay, I guess. It's too early and cold, and I'm
"So I had to leave Halloran. I dressed quiet, and slipped out
of the tent we were in. When the guard came along I knocked him
over, like a ninepin, with a green coconut I had, and made for the
railroad. I got on that hand-car and made it fly. 'Twas yet a while
before daybreak when I saw the lights of Port Barrios about a mile
away. I stopped the hand-car there and walked to the town. I stepped
inside the corporations of that town with care and hesitations.
I was not afraid of the army of Guatemala, but me soul quaked at
the prospect of a hand-to-hand struggle with its employment bureau.
'Tis a country that hires its help easy and keeps 'em long. Sure I
can fancy Missis America and Missis Guatemala passin' a bit of gossip
some fine, still night across the mountains. 'Oh, dear,' says Missis
America, 'and it's a lot of trouble I'm havin' ag'in with the help,
senora, ma'am.' 'Laws, now!' says Missis Guatemala, 'you don't say
so, ma'am! now, mine never think ofleavin me--te-he! ma'am,' snickers
"I was wonderin' how I was goin' to move away from them tropics
without bein' hired again. Dark as it was, I could see a steamer
ridin' in the harbor, with smoke emergin' from her stacks. I turned
down a little grass street that run down to the water. On the beach
I found a little brown nigger-man just about to shove off in a skiff.
"'Hold on, Sambo,' says I, 'savve English?'
"'Heap plenty, yes,' says he, with a pleasant grin.
"'What steamer is that?' I asks him, 'and where is it going? And
what's the news, and the good word and the time of day?'
" 'That steamer the ~Conchita~,' said the brown man, affable and easy,
rollin' a cigarette. 'Him come from New Orleans for load banana.
Him got load last night. I think him sail in one, two hour. Verree
nice day we shall be goin' have. You hear some talkee 'bout big
battle, maybe so? You think catchee General De Vega, senor? Yes?
"'How's that, Sambo?' says I. 'Big battle? What battle? Who wants
catchee General De Vega? I've been up at my old gold mines in the
interior for a couple of months, and haven't heard any news.'
"'Oh,' says the nigger-man, proud to speak the English, 'verree great
revolution in Guatemala one week ago. General De Vega, him try be
president. Him raise armee--one--five--ten thousand mans for fight
at the government. Those one government send five--forty--hundred
thousand soldier to suppress revolution. They fight big battle
yesterday at Lomagrande--that about nineteen or fifty mile in the
mountain. That government soldier wheep General De Vega--oh, most
bad. Five hundred--nine hundred--two thousand of his mans is kill.
That revolution is smash suppress--bust--very quick. General De Vega,
him r-r-run away fast on one big mule. Yes, ~carrambos!~ The
general, him r-r-run away, and his armee is kill. That government
soldier, they try find General De Vega verree much. They want catchee
him for shoot. You think they catchee that general, senor?'
"'Saints grant it!' says I. ''Twould be the judgment of Providence
for settin' the warlike talent of a Clancy to gradin' the tropics
with a pick and shovel. But 'tis not so much a question of
insurrections now, me little man, as 'tis of the hired-man problem.
'Tis anxious I am to resign a situation of responsibility and trust
with the white wings department of your great and degraded country.
Row me in your little boat out to that steamer, and I'll give ye five
dollars--sinker pacers--sinker pacers,' says I, reducing the offer
to the language and denomination of the tropic dialects.
"'Cinco pesos,' repeats the little man. Five dollee, you give?'
"'Twas not such a bad little man. He had hesitations at first,
sayin' that passengers leavin' the country had to have papers and
passports, but at last he took me out alongside the steamer.
"Day was just breakin' as we struck her, and there wasn't a soul to
be seen on board. The water was very still, and the nigger-man gave
me a lift from the boat, and I climbed onto the steamer where her side
was sliced to the deck for loadin' fruit. The hatches was open, and
I looked down and saw the cargo of bananas that filled the hold to
within six feet of the top. I thinks to myself, 'Clancy, you better
go as a stowaway. It's safer. The steamer men might hand you back
to the employment bureau. The tropic'll get you, Clancy, if you
don't watch out.'
"So I jumps down easy among the bananas, and digs out a hole to hide
in among the bunches. In an hour or so I could hear the engines
goin', and feel the steamer rockin', and I knew we were off to sea.
They left the hatches open for ventilation, and pretty soon it was
light enough in the hold to see fairly well. I got to feelin'
a bit hungry, and thought I'd have a light fruit lunch, by way
of refreshment. I creeped out of the hole I'd made and stood up
straight. Just then I saw another man crawl up about ten feet away
and reach out and skin a banana and stuff it into his mouth. 'Twas
a dirty man, black-faced and ragged and disgraceful of aspect. Yes,
the man was a ringer for the pictures of the fat Weary Willie in the
funny papers. I looked again, and saw it was my general man--De Vega,
the great revolutionist, mule-rider and pickaxe importer. When he
saw me the general hesitated with his mouth filled with banana and
his eyes the size of coconuts.
"'Hist!' I says. 'Not a word, or they'll put us off and make us walk.
"Veev la Liberty!"' I adds, copperin' the sentiment by shovin' a
banana into the source of it. I was certain the general wouldn't
recognize me. The nefarious work of the tropics had left me lookin'
different. There was half an inch of roan whiskers coverin' me face,
and me costume was a pair of blue overalls and a red shirt.
"'How you come in the ship, senor?' asked the general as soon as he
"'By the back door--whist!' says I. ''Twas a glorious blow for
liberty we struck,' I continues; 'but we was overpowered by numbers.
Let us accept our defeat like brave men and eat another banana.'
"'Were you in the cause of liberty fightin', senor?' says the general,
sheddin' tears on the cargo.
"'To the last,' says I. ''Twas I led the last desperate charge
against the minions of the tyrant. But it made them mad, and we was
forced to retreat. 'Twas I, general, procured the mule upon which
you escaped. Could you give that ripe bunch a little boost this way,
general? It's a bit out of my reach. Thanks.'
"'Say you so, brave patriot?' said the general, again weepin'. 'Ah,
~Dios!~ And I have not the means to reward your devotion. Barely
did I my life bring away. ~Carrambos!~ what a devil's animal was that
mule, senor! Like ships in one storm was I dashed about. The skin
on myself was ripped away with the thorns and vines. Upon the bark
of a hundred trees did that beast of the infernal bump, and cause
outrage to the legs of mine. In the night to Port Barrios I came.
I dispossess myself of that mountain of mule and hasten along the
water shore. I find a little boat to be tied. I launch myself and
row to the steamer. I cannot see any mans on board, so I climbed one
rope which hang at the side. I then myself hide in the bananas.
Surely, I say, if the ship captains view me, they shall throw me again
to those Guatemala. Those things are not good. Guatemala will shoot
General De Vega. Therefore, I am hide and remain silent. Life itself
is glorious. Liberty, it is pretty good; but so good as life I do not
"Three days, as I said, was the trip to New Orleans. The general man
and me got to be cronies of the deepest dye. Bananas we ate until
they were distasteful to the sight and an eyesore to the palate, but
to bananas alone was the bill of fare reduced. At night I crawls out,
careful, on the lower deck, and gets a bucketful of fresh water.
"That General De Vega was a man inhabited by an engorgement of words
and sentences. He added to the monotony of the voyage by divestin'
himself of conversation. He believed I was a revolutionist of his
own party, there bein' as he told me, a good many Americans and other
foreigners in its ranks. 'Twas a braggart and a conceited little
gabbler it was, though he considered himself a hero. 'Twas on himself
he wasted all his regrets at the failing of his plot. Not a word did
the little balloon have to say about the other misbehaving idiots that
had been shot, or run themselves to death in his revolution.
"The second day out he was feelin' pretty braggy and uppish for a
stowed-away conspirator that owed his existence to a mule and stolen
bananas. He was tellin' me about the great railroad he had been
buildin', and he relates what he calls a comic incident about a fool
Irishman he inveigled from New Orleans to sling a pick on his little
morgue of a narrow-gauge line. 'Twas sorrowful to hear the little,
dirty general tell the opprobrious story of how he put salt upon the
tail of that reckless and silly bird, Clancy. Laugh, he did, hearty
and long. He shook with laughin', the black-faced rebel and outcast,
standing neck-deep in bananas, without friends or country.
"'Ah, senor,' he snickers, 'to death you would have laughed at that
drollest Irish. I say to him: "Strong, big mans is need very much
in Guatemala." "I will blows strike for your down-pressed country,"
he say. "That shall you do," I tell him. Ah! it was an Irish so
comic. He sees one box break upon the wharf that contain for the
guard a few gun. He think there is gun in all the box. But that is
all pickaxe. Yes. Ah! senor, could you the face of that Irish have
seen when they set him to the work!'
"'Twas thus the ex-boss of the employment bureau contributed to the
tedium of the trip with merry jests and anecdote. But now and then
he would weep upon the bananas and make oration about the lost cause
of liberty and the mule.
"'Twas a pleasant sound when the steamer bumped against the pier in
New Orleans. Pretty soon we heard the pat-a-pat of hundreds of bare
feet, and the Dago gang that unloads the fruit jumped on the deck and
down into the hold. Me and the general worked a while at passing up
the bunches, and they thought we were part of the gang. After about
an hour we managed to slip off the steamer onto the wharf.
"'Twas a great honor on the hands of an obscure Clancy, havin' the
entertainment of the representative of a great foreign filibustering
power. I first bought for the general and myself many long drinks
and things to eat that were not bananas. The general man trotted
along at my side, leaving all the arrangements to me. I led him
up to Lafayette Square and set him on a bench in the little park.
Cigarettes I had bought for him, and he humped himself down on the
seat like a little, fat, contented hobo. I look him over as he sets
there, and what I see pleases me. Brown by nature and instinct, he
is now brindled with dirt and dust. Praise to the mule, his clothes
is mostly strings and flaps. Yes, the looks of the general man is
agreeable to Clancy.
"I asks him, delicate, if, by any chance, he brought away anybody's
money with him from Guatemala. He sighs and humps his shoulders
against the bench. Not a cent. All right. Maybe, he tells me,
some of his friends in the tropic outfit will send him funds later.
The general was as clear a case of no visible means as I ever saw.
"I told him not to move from the bench, and then I went up to the
corner of Poydras and Carondelet. Along there is O'Hara's beat.
In five minutes along comes O'Hara, a big, fine man, red-faced,
with shinin' buttons, swinging his club. 'Twould be a fine thing
for Guatemala to move into O'Hara's precinct. 'Twould be a fine bit
of recreation for Danny to suppress revolutions and uprisins once or
twice a week with his club.
"'Is 5046 workin' yet, Danny?' says I, walking up to him.
"'Overtime,' says O'Hara, looking over me suspicious. 'Want some
"Fifty-forty-six is the celebrated city ordinance authorizing arrest,
conviction and imprisonment of persons that succeed in concealing
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'
"'~Carrambos!~' says the general, fizzin' like a little soda-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,
"'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 for
me. Yes; sixty days he got. 'Twas just so long as 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 maneuverings."
"'Having 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