It has been indicated that disaffection followed the elevation of
Losada to the presidency. This feeling continued to grow. Throughout
the entire republic there seemed to be a spirit of silent, sullen
discontent. Even the old Liberal party to which Goodwin, Zavalla and
other patriots had lent their aid was disappointed. Losada had failed
to become a popular idol. Fresh taxes, fresh import duties and,
more than all, his tolerance of the outrageous oppression of citizens
by the military had rendered him the most obnoxious president since
the despicable Alforan. The majority of his own cabinet were out
of sympathy with him. The army, which he had courted by giving it
license to tyrannize, had been his main, and thus far adequate,
But the most impolitic of the administration's moves had been when
it antagonized the Vesuvius Fruit Company, an organization plying
twelve steamers with a cash capital somewhat larger than Anchuria's
surplus and debt combined.
Reasonably, an established concern like the Vesuvius would become
irritated at having a small, retail republic with no rating at all
attempt to squeeze it. So, when the government proxies applied for
a subsidy they encountered a polite refusal. The president at once
retaliated by clapping an export duty of one ~real~ per bunch on
bananas--a thing unprecedented in fruit-growing countries. The
Vesuvius Company had invested large sums in wharves and plantations
along the Anchurian coast, their agents had erected fine homes in
the towns where they had their headquarters, and heretofore had worked
with the republic in good-will and with advantage to both. It would
lose an immense sum if compelled to move out. The selling price of
bananas from Vera Cruz to Trinidad was three ~reales~ per bunch.
This new duty of one ~real~ would have ruined the fruit growers in
Anchuria and have seriously discommoded the Vesuvius Company had it
declined to pay it. But for some reason, the Vesuvius continued to
buy Anchurian fruit, paying four ~reals~ for it; and not suffering
the growers to bear the loss.
This apparent victory deceived His Excellency; and he began to hunger
for more of it. He sent an emissary to request a conference with a
representative of the fruit company. The Vesuvius sent Mr. Franzoni,
a little, stout, cheerful man, always cool, and whistling airs from
Verdi's operas. Senor Espirition, of the office of the Minister
of Finance, attempted the sandbagging in behalf of Anchuria. The
meeting took place in the cabin of the ~Salvador~, of the Vesuvius
Senor Espirition opened negotiations by announcing that the government
contemplated the building of a railroad to skirt the alluvial coast
lands. After touching upon the benefits such a road would confer upon
the interests of the Vesuvius, he reached the definite suggestion that
a contribution to the road's expenses of, say, fifty thousand ~pesos~
would not be more than an equivalent to benefits received.
Mr. Franzoni denied that his company would receive any benefits
from a contemplated road. As its representative he must decline
to contribute fifty thousand ~pesos~. But he would assume
the responsibility of offering twenty-five.
Did Senor Espirition understand Senor Franzoni to mean twenty-five
By no means. Twenty-five ~pesos~. And in silver, not in gold.
"Your offer insults my government," cried Senor Espirition, rising,
"Then," said Mr. Franzoni, in warning tone, "~we will change it.~"
The offer was never changed. Could Mr. Franzoni have meant the
This was the state of affairs in Anchuria when the winter season
opened at Coralio at the end of the second year of Losada's
administration. So, when the government and society made its annual
exodus to the seashore it was evident that the presidential advent
would not be celebrated by unlimited rejoicing. The tenth of November
was the day set for the entrance into Coralio of the gay company
from the capital. A narrow-gauge railroad runs twenty miles into
the interior from Solitas. The government party travels by carriage
from San Mateo to this road's terminal point, and proceeds by train
to Solitas. From here they march in grand procession to Coralio
where, on the day of their coming, festivities and ceremonies abound.
But this season saw an ominous dawning of the tenth of November.
Although the rainy season was over, the day seemed to hark back to
reeking June. A fine drizzle of rain fell all during the forenoon.
The procession entered Coralio amid a strange silence.
President Losada was an elderly man, grizzly bearded, with
a considerable ratio of Indian blood revealed in his cinnamon
complexion. His carriage headed the procession, surrounded
and guarded by Captain Cruz and his famous troop of one hundred
light horse "~El Ciento Huilando~." Colonel Rocas followed,
with a regiment of the regular army.
The president's sharp, beady eyes glanced about him for the expected
demonstration of welcome; but he faced a stolid, indifferent array
of citizens. Sightseers the Anchurians are by birth and habit, and
they turned out to their last able-bodied unit to witness the scene;
but they maintained an accusive silence. They crowded the streets
to the very wheel ruts; they covered the red tile roofs to the eaves,
but there was never a "~viva~" from them. No wreaths of palm
and lemon branches or gorgeous strings of paper roses hung from
the windows and balconies as was the custom. There was an apathy,
a dull, dissenting disapprobation, that was the more ominous because
it puzzled. No one feared an outburst, a revolt of the discontents,
for they had no leader. The president and those loyal to him had
never even heard whispered a name among them capable of crystallizing
the dissatisfaction into opposition. No, there could be no danger.
The people always procured a new idol before they destroyed an old
At length, after a prodigious galloping and curvetting of red-sashed
majors, gold-laced colonels and epauletted generals, the procession
formed for its annual progress down the Calle Grande to the Casa
Morena, where the ceremony of welcome to the visiting president
always took place.
The Swiss band led the line of march. After it pranced the local
~comandante~, mounted, and a detachment of his troops. Next came
a carriage with four members of the cabinet, conspicuous among them
the Minister of War, old General Pilar, with his white moustache
and his soldierly bearing. Then the president's vehicle, containing
also the Ministers of Finance and State; and surrounded by
Captain Cruz's light horse formed in a close double file of fours.
Following them, the rest of the officials of state, the judges and
distinguished military and social ornaments of public and private
As the band struck up, and the movement began, like a bird of
ill-omen the ~Valhalla~, the swiftest steamship of the Vesuvius line,
glided into the harbor in plain view of the president and his train.
Of course, there was nothing menacing about its arrival--a business
firm does not go to war with a nation--but it reminded Senor
Espirition and others in those carriages that the Vesuvius Fruit
Company was undoubtedly 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-humored 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 scene-shifters."
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 honored guest at European courts and camps. An eloquent speaker
and a friend to the people, he represented the highest type of
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 regime 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
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
usefulness. 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 scheming 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
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
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 kindness--yes,
more--his youth, his image--people of Anchuria, have you forgotten
Ramon, the son of Olivarra?"
Cronin and Vincenti, watching closely, saw Dicky Maloney suddenly
raise his hat, tear off his shock of red hair, leap up the steps
and stand at the side of General Pilar. The Minister of War laid
his arm across the young man's shoulders. All who had known President
Olivarra saw again his same lion-like pose, the same frank, undaunted
expression, the same high forehead with the peculiar line of
the clustering, crisp black hair.
General Pilar was an experienced orator. He seized the moment
of breathless silence that preceded the storm.
"Citizens of Anchuria," he trumpeted, holding aloft the keys of Casa
Morena, "I am here to deliver these keys--the keys to your homes and
liberty--to your chosen president. Shall I deliver them to Enrico
Olivarra's assassin, or to his son?"
"Olivarra! Olivarra!" the crowd shrieked and howled. All vociferated
the magic name--men, women, children and the parrots.
And the enthusiasm was not confined to the blood of the plebs.
Colonel Rocas ascended the steps and laid his sword theatrically
at young Ramon Olivarra's feet. Four members of the cabinet embraced
him. Captain Cruz gave a command, and twenty of ~El Ciento Huilando~
dismounted and arranged themselves in a cordon about the steps
of Casa Morena.
But Ramon Olivarra seized that moment to prove himself a born
genius and politician. He waved those soldiers aside, and descended
the steps to the street. There, without losing his dignity or
the distinguished elegance that the loss of his red hair brought
him, betook the proletariat to his bosom--the barefooted, the dirty,
Indians, Caribs, babies, beggars, old, young, saints, soldiers
and sinners--he missed none of them.
While this act of the drama was being presented, the scene shifters
had been busy at the duties that had been assigned to them. Two
of Cruz's dragoons had seized the bridle reins of Losada's horses;
others formed a close guard around the carriage; and they galloped
off with the tyrant and his two unpopular Ministers. No doubt a place
had been prepared for them. There are a number of well-barred stone
apartments in Coralio.
"~Rouge~ wins," said Mr. Vincenti, calmly lighting another cigar.
Captain Cronin had been intently watching the vicinity of the stone
steps for some time.
"Good boy!" he exclaimed suddenly, as if relieved. "I wondered if
he was going to forget his Kathleen Mavourneen."
Young Olivarra had reascended the steps and spoken a few words to
General Pilar. Then that distinguished veteran descended to the
ground and approached Pasa, who still stood, wonder-eyed, where Dicky
had left her. With his plumed hat in his hand, and his medals and
decorations shining on his breast, the general spoke to her and gave
her his arm, and they went up the stone steps of the Casa Morena
together. And then Ramon Olivarra stepped forward and took both
her hands before all the people.
And while the cheering was breaking out afresh everywhere, Captain
Cronin and Mr. Vincenti turned and walked back toward the shore where
the gig was waiting for them.
"There'll be another '~presidente proclamada~' in the morning," said
Mr. Vincenti, musingly. "As a rule they are not as reliable as the
elected ones, but this youngster seems to have some good stuff in him.
He planned and maneuvered the entire campaign. Olivarra's widow,
you know, was wealthy. After her husband was assassinated she went
to the States, and educated her son at Yale. The Vesuvius Company
hunted him up, and backed him in the little game."
"It's a glorious thing," said Cronin, half jestingly, "to be able
to discharge a government, and insert one of your own choosing, in
"Oh, it is only amatter of business," said Vincenti, stopping and
offering the stump of his cigar to a monkey that swung down from
a lime tree; "and that is what moves the world of today. That extra
real on the price of bananas had to go. We took the shortest way
of removing it."