Part 3 out of 9
music of a band caused him to halt. A side street led to a great gateway
surmounted by an anchor. Beyond it Swanson saw lawns of well-kept
grass, regular paths, pretty cottages, the two-starred flag of an admiral,
and, rising high above these, like four Eiffel towers, the gigantic masts
of a wireless. He recognized that he was at the entrance to the Key
West naval station, and turned quickly away.
He walked a few feet, the music of the band still in his ears. In
an hour he would be steaming toward Cuba, and, should he hold to
his present purpose, in many years this would be the last time he
would stand on American soil, would see the uniform of his country,
would hear a military band lull the sun to sleep. It would hurt, but
he wondered if it were not worth the hurt. A smart sergeant of marines,
in passing, cast one glance at the man who seemed always to wear
epaulets, and brought his hand sharply to salute. The act determined
Swanson. He had obtained the salute under false pretenses, but it had
pleased, not hurt him. He turned back and passed into the gate of the
From the gate a grass-lined carriage drive led to the waters of
the harbor and the wharfs. At its extreme end was the band-stand,
flanked on one side by the cottage of the admiral, on the other
by a sail-loft with iron-barred windows and whitewashed walls.
Upon the turf were pyramids of cannon-balls and, laid out in rows
as though awaiting burial, old-time muzzle-loading guns. Across
the harbor the sun was sinking into the coral reefs, and the spring
air, still warm from its caresses, was stirred by the music of the
band into gentle, rhythmic waves. The scene was one of peace,
order, and content.
But as Swanson advanced, the measure of the music was instantly
shattered by a fierce volley of explosions. They came so suddenly
and sharply as to make him start. It was as though from his flank
a quick-firing gun in ambush had opened upon him. Swanson smiled
at having been taken unawares. For in San Francisco he often had
heard the roar and rattle of the wireless. But never before had he
listened to an attack like this.
From a tiny white-and-green cottage, squatting among the four
giant masts, came the roar of a forest fire. One could hear the
crackle of the flames, the crash of the falling tree-trunks. The
air about the cottage was torn into threads; beneath the shocks
of the electricity the lawn seemed to heave and tremble. It was
like some giant monster, bound and fettered, struggling to be
free. Now it growled sullenly, now in impotent rage it spat and
spluttered, now it lashed about with crashing, stunning blows. It
seemed as though the wooden walls of the station could not
From the road Swanson watched, through the open windows of the
cottage, the electric bolts flash and flare and disappear. The thing
appealed to his imagination. Its power, its capabilities fascinated
him. In it he saw a hungry monster reaching out to every corner
of the continent and devouring the news of the world; feeding
upon tales of shipwreck and disaster, lingering over some dainty
morsel of scandal, snatching from ships and cities two thousand
miles away the thrice-told tale of a conflagration, the score of a
baseball match, the fall of a cabinet, the assassination of a king.
In a sudden access of fierceness, as though in an ecstasy over
some fresh horror just received, it shrieked and chortled. And
then, as suddenly as it had broken forth, it sank to silence, and
from the end of the carriage drive again rose, undisturbed, the
music of the band.
The musicians were playing to a select audience. On benches
around the band-stand sat a half dozen nurse-maids with knitting
in their hands, the baby-carriages within arm's length. On the
turf older children of the officers were at play, and up and down
the paths bareheaded girls, and matrons, and officers in uniform
strolled leisurely. From the vine-covered cottage of Admiral
Preble, set in a garden of flowering plants and bending palmettos,
came the tinkle of tea-cups and the ripple of laughter, and at a
respectful distance, seated on the dismantled cannon, were
marines in khaki and bluejackets in glistening white.
It was a family group, and had not Swanson recognized among the
little audience others of the passengers from the steamer and
natives of the town who, like himself, had been attracted by the
music, he would have felt that he intruded. He now wished to
remain. He wanted to carry with him into his exile a memory of
the men in uniform, of the music, and pretty women, of the gorgeous
crimson sunset. But, though he wished to remain, he did not wish
to be recognized.
From the glances already turned toward him, he saw that in this
little family gathering the presence of a stranger was an event,
and he was aware that during the trial the newspapers had made
his face conspicuous. Also it might be that stationed at the post
was some officer or enlisted man who had served with him in Cuba,
China, or the Philippines, and who might point him out to others.
Fearing this, Swanson made a detour and approached the band-stand
from the wharf, and with his back to a hawser-post seated himself
upon the string-piece.
He was overcome with an intolerable melancholy. From where he
sat he could see, softened into shadows by the wire screens of the
veranda, Admiral Preble and his wife and their guests at tea. A
month before, he would have reported to the admiral as the
commandant of the station, and paid his respects. Now he could
not do that; at least not without inviting a rebuff. A month
before, he need only have shown his card to the admiral's orderly,
and the orderly and the guard and the officers' mess and the
admiral himself would have turned the post upside down to do
him honor. But of what avail now was his record in three
campaigns? Of what avail now was his medal of honor? They
now knew him as Swanson, who had been court-martialled, who
had been allowed to resign, who had left the army for the army's
good; they knew him as a civilian without rank or authority, as an
ex-officer who had robbed his brother officers, as an outcast.
His position, as his morbid mind thus distorted it, tempted
Swanson no longer. For being in this plight he did not feel that
in any way he was to blame. But with a flaming anger he still
blamed his brother officers of the court-martial who had not
cleared his name and with a clean bill of health restored him to
duty. Those were the men he blamed; not Rueff, the sergeant, who
he believed had robbed him, nor himself, who, in a passion of
wounded pride, had resigned and so had given reason for gossip;
but the men who had not in tones like a bugle-call proclaimed his
innocence, who, when they had handed him back his sword, had
given it grudgingly, not with congratulation.
As he saw it, he stood in a perpetual pillory. When they had
robbed him of his honor they had left him naked, and life without
honor had lost its flavor. He could eat, he could drink, he could
exist. He knew that in many corners of the world white arms would
reach out to him and men would beckon him to a place at table.
But he could not cross that little strip of turf between him and
the chattering group on the veranda and hand his card to the
admiral's orderly. Swanson loved life. He loved it so that
without help, money, or affection he could each morning have
greeted it with a smile. But life without honor! He felt a sudden
hot nausea of disgust. Why was he still clinging to what had
lost its purpose, to what lacked the one thing needful?
"If life be an ill thing," he thought, "I can lay it down!"
The thought was not new to him, and during the two past weeks of
aimless wandering he had carried with him his service automatic.
To reassure himself he laid his fingers on its cold smooth surface.
He would wait, he determined, until the musicians had finished
their concert and the women and children had departed, and then--
Then the orderly would find him where he was now seated, sunken
against the hawser-post with a hole through his heart. To his disordered
brain his decision appeared quite sane. He was sure he never had been
more calm. And as he prepared himself for death he assured himself
that for one of his standard no other choice was possible. Thoughts
of the active past, or of what distress in the future his act would bring
to others, did not disturb him. The thing had to be, no one lost more
heavily than himself, and regrets were cowardly.
He counted the money he had on his person and was pleased to find
there was enough to pay for what services others soon must render
him. In his pockets were letters, cards, a cigarette-case, each of
which would tell his identity. He had no wish to conceal it, for of
what he was about to do he was not ashamed. It was not his act.
He would not have died "by his own hand." To his unbalanced
brain the officers of the court-martial were responsible. It was
they who had killed him. As he saw it, they had made his death
as inevitable as though they had sentenced him to be shot at
A line from "The Drums of the Fore and Aft" came back to him.
Often he had quoted it, when some one in the service had suffered
through the fault of others. It was the death-cry of the boy officer,
Devlin. The knives of the Ghazi had cut him down, but it was his
own people's abandoning him in terror that had killed him. And so,
with a sob, he flung the line at the retreating backs of his comrades:
"You've killed me, you cowards!"
Swanson, nursing his anger, repeated this savagely. He wished he
could bring it home to those men of the court-martial. He wished
he could make them know that his death lay at their door. He
determined that they should know. On one of his visiting-cards he
"To the Officers of my Court-Martial: 'You've killed me, you
He placed the card in the pocket of his waistcoat. They would
find it just above the place where the bullet would burn the cloth.
The band was playing "Auf Wiedersehen," and the waltz carried
with it the sadness that had made people call the man who wrote
it the waltz king. Swanson listened gratefully. He was glad that
before he went out, his last mood had been of regret and gentleness.
The sting of his anger had departed, the music soothed and sobered
him. It had been a very good world. Until he had broken the spine
of things it had treated him well, far better, he admitted, than he
deserved. There were many in it who had been kind, to whom he
was grateful. He wished there was some way by which he could let
them know that. As though in answer to his wish, from across the
parade-ground the wireless again began to crash and crackle; but now
Swanson was at a greater distance from it, and the sighing rhythm of
the waltz was not interrupted.
Swanson considered to whom he might send a farewell message, but
as in his mind he passed from one friend to another, he saw that to
each such a greeting could bring only distress. He decided it was
the music that had led him astray. This was no moment for false
sentiment. He let his hand close upon the pistol.
The audience now was dispersing. The nurse-maids had collected
their charges, the musicians were taking apart their music-racks,
and from the steps of the vine-covered veranda Admiral Preble was
bidding the friends of his wife adieu. At his side his aide, young,
alert, confident, with ill-concealed impatience awaited their departure.
Swanson found that he resented the aide. He resented the manner in
which he speeded the parting guests. Even if there were matters of
importance he was anxious to communicate to his chief, he need not
make it plain to the women folk that they were in the way.
When, a month before, he had been adjutant, in a like situation he
would have shown more self-command. He disapproved of the aide
entirely. He resented the fact that he was as young as himself,
that he was in uniform, that he was an aide. Swanson certainly
hoped that when he was in uniform he had not looked so much the
conquering hero, so self-satisfied, so supercilious. With a smile
he wondered why, at such a moment, a man he had never seen
before, and never would see again, should so disturb him.
In his heart he knew. The aide was going forward just where he
was leaving off. The ribbons on the tunic of the aide, the straps
on his shoulders, told Swanson that they had served in the same
campaigns, that they were of the same relative rank, and that
when he himself, had he remained in the service, would have been
a brigadier-general the aide would command a battle-ship. The
possible future of the young sailor filled Swanson with honorable
envy and bitter regret. With all his soul he envied him the right
to look his fellow man in the eye, his right to die for his country,
to give his life, should it be required of him, for ninety million
people, for a flag. Swanson saw the two officers dimly, with eyes
of bitter self-pity. He was dying, but he was not dying gloriously
for a flag. He had lost the right to die for it, and he was dying
because he had lost that right.
The sun had sunk and the evening had grown chill. At the wharf
where the steamer lay on which he had arrived, but on which he
was not to depart, the electric cargo lights were already burning.
But for what Swanson had to do there still was light enough.
From his breast-pocket he took the card on which he had
written his message to his brother officers, read and reread it,
and replaced it.
Save for the admiral and his aide at the steps of the cottage,
and a bareheaded bluejacket who was reporting to them, and the
admiral's orderly, who was walking toward Swanson, no one was
in sight. Still seated upon the stringpiece of the wharf, Swanson
so moved that his back was toward the four men. The moment
seemed propitious, almost as though it had been prearranged. For
with such an audience, for his taking off no other person could be
blamed. There would be no question but that death had been
Approaching from behind him Swanson heard the brisk steps of the
orderly drawing rapidly nearer. He wondered if the wharf were
government property, if he were trespassing, and if for that reason
the man had been sent to order him away. He considered bitterly
that the government grudged him a place even in which to die.
Well, he would not for long be a trespasser. His hand slipped
into his pocket, with his thumb he lowered the safety-catch of
But the hand with the pistol in it did not leave his pocket. The
steps of the orderly had come to a sudden silence. Raising his
head heavily, Swanson saw the man, with his eyes fixed upon him,
standing at salute. They had first made his life unsupportable,
Swanson thought, now they would not let him leave it.
"Captain Swanson, sir?" asked the orderly.
Swanson did not speak or move.
"The admiral's compliments, sir," snapped the orderly, "and will
the captain please speak with him?"
Still Swanson did not move.
He felt that the breaking-point of his self-control had come.
This impertinent interruption, this thrusting into the last few
seconds of his life of a reminder of all that he had lost, this
futile postponement of his end, was cruel, unhuman, unthinkable.
The pistol was still in his hand. He had but to draw it and
press it close, and before the marine could leap upon him he
would have escaped.
From behind, approaching hurriedly, came the sound of
The orderly stiffened to attention. "The admiral!" he warned.
Twelve years of discipline, twelve years of recognition of authority,
twelve years of deference to superior officers, dragged Swanson's
hand from his pistol and lifted him to his feet. As he turned,
Admiral Preble, the aide, and the bareheaded bluejacket were
close upon him. The admiral's face beamed, his eyes were young
with pleasurable excitement; with the eagerness of a boy he waved
aside formal greetings.
"My dear Swanson," he cried, "I assure you it's a most astonishing,
most curious coincidence! See this man?" He flung out his arm at
the bluejacket. "He's my wireless chief. He was wireless operator
on the transport that took you to Manila. When you came in here
this afternoon he recognized you. Half an hour later he picks up
a message--picks it up two thousand miles from here--from San
Francisco--Associated Press news--it concerns you; that is, not
really concerns you, but I thought, we thought"-as though
signalling for help, the admiral glanced unhappily at his aide-
"we thought you'd like to know. Of course, to us," he added
hastily, "it's quite superfluous--quite superfluous, but--"
The aide coughed apologetically. "You might read, sir," he
"What? Exactly! Quite so!" cried the admiral.
In the fading light he held close to his eyes a piece of paper.
"San Francisco, April 20," he read. "Rueff, first sergeant, shot
himself here to-day, leaving written confession theft of regimental
funds for which Swanson, captain, lately court-martialled. Money
found intact in Rueff's mattress. Innocence of Swanson never
questioned, but dissatisfied with findings of court-martial has
left army. Brother officers making every effort to find him and
The admiral sighed happily. "And my wife," he added, with an
impressiveness that was intended to show he had at last arrived
at the important part of his message, "says you are to stay to
Abruptly, rudely, Swanson swung upon his heel and turned his face
from the admiral. His head was thrown back, his arms held rigid
at his sides. In slow, deep breaths, like one who had been dragged
from drowning, he drank in the salt, chill air. After one glance the
four men also turned, and in the falling darkness stood staring at
nothing, and no one spoke.
The aide was the first to break the silence. In a polite tone, as
though he were continuing a conversation which had not been
interrupted, he addressed the admiral. "Of course, Rueff's written
confession was not needed," he said.
"His shooting himself proved that he was guilty."
Swanson started as though across his naked shoulders the aide had
drawn a whip.
In penitence and gratitude he raised his eyes to the stars. High
above his head the strands of the wireless, swinging from the
towering masts like the strings of a giant Aeolian harp, were
swept by the wind from the ocean. To Swanson the sighing and
whispering wires sang in praise and thanksgiving.
THE GOD OF COINCIDENCE
The God of Coincidence is fortunate in possessing innumerable
press agents. They have made the length of his arm a proverb. How
at exactly the right moment he extends it across continents and
drags two and two together, thus causing four to result where but
for him sixes and sevens would have obtained, they have made
known to the readers of all of our best magazines. For instance,
Holworthy is leaving for the Congo to find a cure for the sleeping
sickness, and for himself any sickness from which one is warranted
never to wake up. This is his condition because the beautiful
million-heiress who is wintering at the Alexander Young Hotel
in Honolulu has refused to answer his letters, cables, and appeals.
He is leaning upon the rail taking his last neck-breaking look at
the Woolworth Building. The going-ashore bugle has sounded,
pocket-handkerchiefs are waving; and Joe Hutton, the last visitor
to leave the ship, is at the gangway.
"Good-by, Holworthy!" he calls. "Where do you keep yourself?
Haven't seen you at the club in a year!"
"Haven't been there in a year--nor mean to!" is the ungracious
reply of our hero.
"Then, for Heaven's sake," exclaims Hutton, "send some one to
take your mail out of the H box! Every time I look for letters
I wade through yours."
"Tear them up!" calls Holworthy. "They're bills."
Hutton now is half-way down the gangplank.
"Then your creditors," he shouts back, "must all live at the
Alexander Young Hotel in Honolulu!"
That night an express train shrieking through the darkness
carried with it toward San Francisco--
In this how evident is the fine Italian hand of the God of
Had Hutton's name begun with an M; had the H in Hutton been
silent; had he not carried to the Mauretania a steamer basket for
his rich aunt; had he not resented the fact that since Holworthy's
election to the Van Sturtevant Club he had ceased to visit the
Grill Club--a cure for sleeping sickness might have been discovered;
but two loving hearts never would have been reunited and that story
would not have been written.
Or, Mrs. Montclair, with a suit-case, is leaving her home forever
to join handsome Harry Bellairs, who is at the corner with a
racing-car and all the money of the bank of which he has been
cashier. As the guilty woman places the farewell letter against
the pin-cushion where her husband will be sure to find it, her
infant son turns in his sleep and jabs himself with a pin. His
howl of anguish resembles that of a puppy on a moonlight night.
The mother recognizes her master's voice. She believes her child
dying, flies to the bedside, tears up the letter, unpacks the suit-case.
The next morning at breakfast her husband, reading the newspaper,
"Harry Bellairs," he cries, "has skipped with the bank's money! I
always told you he was not a man you ought to know."
"His manner to me," she says severely, "always was that of a
Again coincidence gets the credit. Had not the child tossed--had
not at the critical moment the safety pin proved untrue to the man
who invented it--that happy family reunion would have been
Or, it might be told this way:
Old Man McCurdy, the Pig-Iron King, forbids his daughter Gwendolyn
even to think of marrying poor but honest Beef Walters, the baseball
pitcher, and denies him his house. The lovers plan an elopement.
At midnight Beef is to stand at the tradesman's entrance and whistle
"Waiting at the Church"; and down the silent stairs Gwendolyn is to
steal into his arms. At the very same hour the butler has planned with
the policeman on fixed post to steal Mother McCurdy's diamonds
and pass them to a brother of the policeman, who is to wait at the
tradesman's entrance and whistle "Waiting for the Robert E. Lee."
This sounds improbable--especially that the policeman would
allow even his brother to get the diamonds before he did; but,
with the God of Coincidence on the job, you shall see that it
will all come out right. Beef is first at the door. He whistles.
The butler--an English butler--with no ear for music, shoves into
his hands tiaras and sunbursts. Honest Beef hands over the butler
to the policeman and the tiaras to Mother McCurdy.
"How can I reward you?" exclaims the grateful woman.
"Your daughter's hand!"
Again the God of Coincidence scores and Beef Walters is credited
with an assist. And for preventing the robbery McCurdy has the
peg-post cop made a captain; thus enabling him to wear diamonds
of his own and raising him above the need of taking them from
These examples of what the god can do are mere fiction; the story
that comes now really happened. It also is a story of coincidence.
It shows how this time the long arm was stretched out to make two
young people happy; it again illustrates that, in the instruments he
chooses, the God of Coincidence works in a mysterious way his
wonders to perform. This time the tool he used was a hat of green felt.
The story really should be called "The Man in the Green Hat."
At St. James's Palace the plenipotentiaries of the Allies and of Turkey
were trying to bring peace to Europe; in Russell Square, Bloomsbury,
Sam Lowell was trying to arrange a peace with Mrs. Wroxton, his
landlady. The ultimatum of the Allies was: "Adrianople or fight!"
The last words of Mrs. Wroxton were: "Five pounds or move out!"
Sam did not have five pounds. He was a stranger in London; he had
lost his position in New York and that very morning had refused to
marry the girl he loved--Polly Seward, the young woman the Sunday
papers called "The Richest Girl in America."
For any man--for one day--that would seem to be trouble enough; but
to the Sultan of Turkey that day brought troubles far more serious.
And, as his losses were Sam's gain, we must follow the troubles of
the Sultan. Until, with the aid of a green felt hat, the God of
Coincidence turns the misfortunes of the Sultan into a fortune
for Sam, Sam must wait.
From the first days of the peace conference it was evident there
was a leak. The negotiations had been opened under a most solemn
oath of secrecy. As to the progress of the conference, only such
information or misinformation--if the diplomats considered it better-
as was mutually agreed upon by the plenipotentiaries was given to
a waiting world. But each morning, in addition to the official report
of the proceedings of the day previous, one newspaper, the Times,
published an account which differed from that in every other paper,
and which undoubtedly came from the inside. In details it was far
more generous than the official report; it gave names, speeches,
arguments; it described the wordy battles of the diplomats, the
concessions, bluffs, bargains.
After three days the matter became public scandal. At first, the
plenipotentiaries declared the events described in the Times were
invented each evening in the office of the Times; but the proceedings
of the day following showed the public this was not so.
Some one actually present at the conference was telling tales out
of school. These tales were cabled to Belgrade, Sofia, Athens,
Constantinople; and hourly from those capitals the plenipotentiaries
were assailed by advice, abuse, and threats. The whole world began
to take part in their negotiations; from every side they were attacked;
from home by the Young Turks, or the On to Constantinople Party;
and from abroad by peace societies, religious bodies, and chambers
of commerce. Even the armies in the field, instead of waiting for the
result of their deliberations, told them what to do, and that unless
they did it they would better remain in exile. To make matters worse,
in every stock exchange gambling on the news furnished by the Times
threatened the financial peace of Europe. To work under such
conditions of publicity was impossible. The delegates appealed to
their hosts of the British Foreign Office.
Unless the chiel amang them takin' notes was discovered and the
leak stopped, they declared the conference must end. Spurred on
by questions in Parliament, by appeals from the great banking world,
by criticisms not altogether unselfish from the other newspapers,
the Foreign Office surrounded St. James's Palace and the office
of the Times with an army of spies. Every secretary, stenographer,
and attendant at the conference was under surveillance, his past
record looked into, his present comings and goings noted. Even
the plenipotentiaries themselves were watched; and employees of
the Times were secretly urged to sell the government the man who
was selling secrets to them. But those who were willing to be "urged"
did not know the man; those who did know him refused to be bought.
By a process of elimination suspicion finally rested upon one
Adolf Hertz, a young Hungarian scholar who spoke and wrote all
the mongrel languages of the Balkans; who for years, as a copying
clerk and translator, had been employed by the Foreign Office,
and who now by it had been lent to the conference. For the reason
that when he lived in Budapest he was a correspondent of the
Times, the police, in seeking for the leak, centred their attention
upon Hertz. But, though every moment he was watched, and though
Hertz knew he was watched, no present link between him and the
Times had been established- and this in spite of the fact that the
hours during which it was necessary to keep him under closest
observation were few. Those were the hours between the closing
of the conference, and midnight, when the provincial edition of the
Times went to press. For the remainder of the day, so far as the
police cared, Hertz could go to the devil! But for those hours,
except when on his return from the conference he locked himself
in his lodgings in Jermyn Street, detectives were always at his elbow.
It was supposed that it was during this brief period when he was
locked in his room that he wrote his report; but how, later, he
conveyed it to the Times no one could discover. In his rooms there
was no telephone; his doors and windows were openly watched;
and after leaving his rooms his movements were--as they always
had been--methodical, following a routine open to observation.
His programme was invariably the same. Each night at seven from
his front door he walked west. At Regent Street he stopped to buy
an evening paper from the aged news-vender at the corner; he then
crossed Piccadilly Circus into Coventry Street, skirted Leicester
Square, and at the end of Green Street entered Pavoni's Italian
restaurant. There he took his seat always at the same table, hung
his hat always on the same brass peg, ordered the same Hungarian
wine, and read the same evening paper. He spoke to no one; no one
spoke to him.
When he had finished his coffee and his cigarette he returned to
his lodgings, and there he remained until he rang for breakfast.
From the time at which he left his home until his return to it he
spoke to only two persons--the news-vender to whom he handed
a halfpenny; the waiter who served him the regular table d'hote
dinner--between whom and Hertz nothing passed but three and six
for the dinner and sixpence for the waiter himself.
Each evening, the moment he moved into the street a plain-clothes
man fell into step beside him; another followed at his heels; and
from across the street more plain-clothes men kept their eyes on
every one approaching him in front or from the rear. When he
bought his evening paper six pairs of eyes watched him place a
halfpenny in the hand of the news-vender, and during the entire
time of his stay in Pavoni's every mouthful he ate was noted-
every direction he gave the waiter was overheard.
Of this surveillance Hertz was well aware. To have been ignorant
of it would have argued him blind and imbecile. But he showed no
resentment. With eyes grave and untroubled, he steadily regarded
his escort; but not by the hastening of a footstep or the acceleration
of a gesture did he admit that by his audience he was either distressed
or embarrassed. That was the situation on the morning when the
Treaty of London was to be signed and sealed.
In spite of the publicity given to the conference by the Times,
however, what the terms of the treaty might be no one knew. If
Adrianople were surrendered; if Salonika were given to Greece; if
Servia obtained a right-of-way to the Adriatic--peace was assured;
but, should the Young Turks refuse--should Austria prove obstinate-
not only would the war continue, but the Powers would be involved,
and that greater, more awful war--the war dreaded by all the Christian
world--might turn Europe into a slaughter-house.
Would Turkey and Austria consent and peace ensue? Would they
refuse and war follow? That morning those were the questions on
the lips of every man in London save one. He was Sam Lowell; and
he was asking himself another and more personal question: "How
can I find five pounds and pacify Mrs. Wroxton?"
He had friends in New York who would cable him money to pay his
passage home; but he did not want to go home. He preferred to
starve in London than be vulgarly rich anywhere else. That was
not because he loved London, but because above everything in life
he loved Polly Seward--and Polly Seward was in London. He had
begun to love her on class day of his senior year; and, after his
father died and left him with no one else to care for, every day
he had loved her more.
Until a month before he had been in the office of Wetmore &
Hastings, a smart brokers' firm in Wall Street. He had obtained
the position not because he was of any use to Wetmore & Hastings,
but because the firm was the one through which his father had
gambled the money that would otherwise have gone to Sam. In
giving Sam a job the firm thought it was making restitution. Sam
thought it was making the punishment fit the crime; for he knew
nothing of the ways of Wall Street, and having to learn them bored
him extremely. He wanted to write stories for the magazines. He
wanted to bind them in a book and dedicate them to Polly. And
in this wish editors humored him--but not so many editors or with
such enthusiasm as to warrant his turning his back on Wall Street.
That he did later when, after a tour of the world that had begun
from the San Francisco side, Polly Seward and her mother and
Senator Seward reached Naples. There Senator Seward bought
old Italian furniture for his office on the twenty-fifth floor of the
perfectly new Seward building. Mrs. Seward tried to buy for Polly
a prince nearly as old as the furniture, and Polly bought picture
post-cards which she sent to Sam.
Polly had been absent six months, and Sam's endurance had been so
timed as just to last out the half-year. It was not guaranteed to
withstand any change of schedule, and the two months' delay in
Italy broke his heart. It could not run overtime on a starvation
diet of post-cards; so when he received a cable reading, "Address
London, Claridge's," his heart told him it could no longer wait-
and he resigned his position and sailed.
On her trip round the world Polly had learned many things. She
was observant, alert, intent on asking questions, hungering for
facts. And a charming young woman who seeks facts rather than
attention will never lack either. But of all the facts Polly collected,
the one of surpassing interest, and which gave her the greatest
happiness, was that she could not live without Sam Lowell. She
had suspected this, and it was partly to make sure that she had
consented to the trip round the world. Now that she had made
sure, she could not too soon make up for the days lost. Sam had
spent his money, and he either must return to New York and earn
more or remain near Polly and starve. It was an embarrassing
choice. Polly herself made the choice even more difficult.
One morning when they walked in St. James's Park to feed the
ducks she said to him:
"Sam, when are we to be married?"
When for three years a man has been begging a girl to marry him,
and she consents at the exact moment when, without capitulation
to all that he holds honorable, he cannot marry anybody, his
position deserves sympathy.
"My dear one," exclaimed the unhappy youth, "you make me the
most miserable of men! I can't marry! I'm in an awful place! If I
married you now I'd be a crook! It isn't a question of love in a
cottage, with bread and cheese. If cottages were renting for a
dollar a year I couldn't rent one for ten minutes. I haven't cheese
enough to bait a mouse-trap. It's terrible! But we have got to wait."
"Wait!" cried Polly. "I thought you had been waiting! Have I been
away too long? Do you love some one else?"
"Don't be ridiculous!" said Sam crossly. "Look at me," he
commanded, "and tell me whom I love!"
Polly did not take time to look.
"But I," she protested, "have so much money!"
"It's not your money," explained Sam. "It's your mother's money
or your father's, and both of them dislike me. They even have told
me so. Your mother wants you to marry that Italian; and your
father, having half the money in America, naturally wants to
marry you to the other half. If I were selfish and married you
I'd be all the things they think I am."
"You are selfish!" cried Polly. "You're thinking of yourself and
of what people will say, instead of how to make me happy. What's
the use of money if you can't buy what you want?"
"Are you suggesting you can buy me?" demanded Sam.
"Surely," said Polly--"if I can't get you any other way. And you
may name your own price, too."
"When I am making enough to support myself without sponging on
you," explained Sam, "you can have as many millions as you like;
but I must first make enough to keep me alive. A man who can't do
that isn't fit to marry."
"How much," demanded Polly, "do you need to keep you alive? Maybe
I could lend it to you."
Sam was entirely serious.
"Three thousand a year," he said.
Polly exclaimed indignantly.
"I call that extremely extravagant!" she cried. "If we wait until you
earn three thousand a year we may be dead. Do you expect to earn
that writing stories?"
"I can try," said Sam--"or I will rob a bank."
Polly smiled upon him appealingly.
"You know how I love your stories," she said, "and I wouldn't
hurt your feelings for the world; but, Sam dear, I think you had
better rob a bank!"
Addressing an imaginary audience, supposedly of men, Sam
"Isn't that just like a woman? She wouldn't care," he protested,
"how I got the money!"
Polly smiled cheerfully.
"Not if I got you!" she said. In extenuation, also, she addressed
an imaginary audience, presumably of women. "That's how I love
him!" she exclaimed. "And he asks me to wait! Isn't that just like
a man? Seriously," she went on, "if we just go ahead and get married
father would have to help us. He'd make you a vice-president or
At this suggestion Sam expressed his extreme displeasure.
"The last time I talked to your father," he said, "I was in a position
to marry, and I told him I wanted to marry you. What he said to
that was: 'Don't be an ass!' Then I told him he was unintelligent--
and I told him why. First, because he could not see that a man
might want to marry his daughter in spite of her money; and
second, because he couldn't see that her money wouldn't make
up to a man for having him for a father-in-law."
"Did you have to tell him that?" asked Polly.
"Some one had to tell him," said Sam gloomily. "Anyway, as a
source of revenue father is eliminated. I have still one chance
in London. If that fails I must go home. I've been promised a job
in New York reporting for a Wall Street paper--and I'll write stories
on the side. I've cabled for money, and if the London job falls
through I shall sail Wednesday."
"Wednesday!" cried Polly. "When you say things like 'Wednesday'
you make the world so dark! You must stay here! It has been such
a long six months; and before you earn three thousand dollars I
shall be an old, old maid. But if you get work here we could see
each other every day."
They were in the Sewards' sitting-room at Claridge's. Sam took up
the desk telephone.
"In London," he said, "my one best and only bet is a man named
Forsythe, who helps edit the Pall Mall. I'll telephone him now.
If he can promise me even a shilling a day I'll stay on and starve--
but I'll be near you. If Forsythe fails me I shall sail Wednesday."
The telephone call found Forsythe at the Pall Mall office. He would
be charmed to advise Mr. Lowell on a matter of business. Would he
that night dine with Mr. Lowell? He would. And might he suggest
that they dine at Pavoni's? He had a special reason for going there,
and the dinner would cost only three and six.
"That's reason enough!" Sam told him.
"And don't forget," said Polly when, for the fifth time, Sam rose
to go, "that after your dinner you are to look for me at the Duchess
of Deptford's dance. I asked her for a card and you will find it at
your lodgings. Everybody will be there; but it is a big place-full
of dark corners where we can hide."
"Don't hide until I arrive," said Sam. "I shall be very late, as
I shall have to walk. After I pay for Forsythe's dinner and for
white gloves for your dance I shall not be in a position to hire
a taxi. But maybe I shall bring good news. Maybe Forsythe will
give me the job. If he does we will celebrate in champagne.
"You will let me at least pay for the champagne?" begged Polly.
"No," said Sam firmly--"the duchess will furnish that."
When Sam reached his lodgings in Russell Square, which he
approached with considerable trepidation, he found Mrs. Wroxton
awaiting him. But her attitude no longer was hostile. On the
contrary, as she handed him a large, square envelope, decorated
with the strawberry leaves of a duke, her manner was humble.
Sam opened the envelope and, with apparent carelessness, stuck it
over the fireplace.
"About that back rent," he said; "I have cabled for money, and as
"I know," said Mrs. Wroxton. "I read the cable." She was reading
the card of invitation also. "There's no hurry, sir," protested Mrs.
Wroxton. "Any of my young gentlemen who is made welcome at
Deptford House is made welcome here!"
"Credit, Mrs. Wroxton," observed Sam, "is better than cash. If
you have only cash you spend it and nothing remains. But with
credit you can continue indefinitely to-to-"
"So you can!" exclaimed Mrs. Wroxton enthusiastically. "Stay as
long as you like, Mr. Lowell."
At Pavoni's Sam found Forsythe already seated and, with evident
interest, observing the scene of gayety before him. The place was
new to Sam, and after the darkness and snow of the streets it
appeared both cheerful and resplendent. It was brilliantly lighted;
a ceiling of gay panels picked out with gold, and red plush sofas,
backed against walls hung with mirrors and faced by rows of
marble-topped tables, gave it an air of the Continent.
Sam surrendered his hat and coat to the waiter. The hat was a
soft Alpine one of green felt. The waiter hung it where Sam
could see it, on one of many hooks that encircled a gilded pillar.
After two courses had been served Forsythe said:
"I hope you don't object to this place. I had a special reason
for wishing to be here on this particular night. I wanted to be
in at the death!"
"Whose death?" asked Sam. "Is the dinner as bad as that?"
Forsythe leaned back against the mirror behind them and, bringing
his shoulder close to Sam's, spoke in a whisper.
"As you know," he said, "to-day the delegates sign the Treaty of
London. It still must receive the signatures of the Sultan and
the three kings; and they will sign it. But until they do, what
the terms of the treaty are no one can find out."
"I'll bet the Times finds out!" said Sam.
"That's it!" returned Forsythe. "Hertz, the man who is supposed to
be selling the secrets of the conference to the Times, dines here.
To-night is his last chance. If to-night he can slip the Times a
copy of the Treaty of London without being caught, and the
Times has the courage to publish it, it will be the biggest
newspaper sensation of modern times; and it will either cause
a financial panic all over Europe--or prevent one. The man they
suspect is facing us. Don't look now, but in a minute you will
see him sitting alone at a table on the right of the middle pillar.
The people at the tables nearest him--even the women--are
detectives. His waiter is in the employ of Scotland Yard. The
maitre d'hotel, whom you will see always hovering round his
table, is a police agent lent by Bulgaria. For the Allies are even
more anxious to stop the leak than we are. We are interested
only as their hosts; with them it is a matter of national life or
death. A week ago one of our own inspectors tipped me off to
what is going on, and every night since then I've dined here,
hoping to see something suspicious."
"Have you?" asked Sam.
"Only this," whispered Forsythe--"on four different nights I've
recognized men I know are on the staff of the Times, and on the
other nights men I don't know may have been here. But after all
that proves nothing, for this place is a resort of newspaper writers
and editors--and the Times men's being here may have been only
"And Hertz?" asked Sam--"what does he do?"
The Englishman exclaimed with irritation.
"Just what you see him doing now!" he protested. "He eats his
dinner! Look at him!" he commanded. "Of all in the room he's the
Sam looked and saw the suspected Adolf Hertz dangling a mass
of macaroni on the end of his fork. Sam watched him until it
"Maybe that's a signal!" suggested Sam. "Maybe everything he does
is part of a cipher code! He gives the signals and the Times men
read them and write them down."
"A man would have a fine chance to write anything down in this
room!" said Forsythe.
"But maybe," persisted Sam, "when he makes those strange
movements with his lips he is talking to a confederate who can
read the lip language. The confederate writes it down at the
"Fantastic and extremely improbable!" commented Forsythe. "But,
nevertheless, the fact remains, the fellow does communicate with
some one from the Times; and the police are positive he does it
here and that he is doing it now!"
The problem that so greatly disturbed his friend would have more
deeply interested Sam had the solving of his own trouble been
less imperative. That alone filled his mind. And when the coffee
was served and the cigars lit, without beating about the bush Sam
asked Forsythe bluntly if on his paper a rising and impecunious
genius could find a place. With even less beating about the bush
Forsythe assured him he could not. The answer was final, and the
disappointment was so keen that Sam soon begged his friend to
excuse him, paid his bill, and rose to depart.
"Better wait!" urged Forsythe. "You'll find nothing so good out
at a music-hall. This is Houdini getting out of his handcuffs
before an audience entirely composed of policemen."
Sam shook his head gloomily.
"I have a few handcuffs of my own to get rid of," he said, "and
it makes me poor company."
He bade his friend good night and, picking his way among the
tables, moved toward the pillar on which the waiter had hung his
hat. The pillar was the one beside which Hertz was sitting, and
as Sam approached the man he satisfied his curiosity by a long
look. Under the glance Hertz lowered his eyes and fixed them
upon his newspaper. Sam retrieved his hat and left the restaurant.
His mind immediately was overcast. He remembered his disappointment
and that the parting between himself and Polly was now inevitable.
Without considering his direction he turned toward Charing Cross
Road. But he was not long allowed to meditate undisturbed.
He had only crossed the little street that runs beside the restaurant
and passed into the shadow of the National Gallery when, at the
base of the Irving Memorial, from each side he was fiercely attacked.
A young man of eminently respectable appearance kicked his legs
from under him, and another of equally impeccable exterior made
an honest effort to knock off his head.
Sam plunged heavily to the sidewalk. As he sprawled forward his
hat fell under him and in his struggle to rise was hidden by the
skirts of his greatcoat. That, also, he had fallen heavily upon his
hat with both knees Sam did not know. The strange actions of
his assailants enlightened him. To his surprise, instead of
continuing their assault or attempting a raid upon his pockets,
he found them engaged solely in tugging at the hat. And so
preoccupied were they in this that, though still on his knees,
Sam was able to land some lusty blows before a rush of feet
caused the young men to leap to their own and, pursued by
several burly forms, disappear in the heart of the traffic.
Sam rose and stood unsteadily. He found himself surrounded by
all of those who but a moment before he had left contentedly
dining at Pavoni's. In an excited circle waiters and patrons of
the restaurant, both men and women, stood in the falling snow,
bareheaded, coatless, and cloakless, staring at him. Forsythe
pushed them aside and took Sam by the arm.
"What happened?" demanded Sam.
"You ought to know," protested Forsythe. "You started it! The
moment you left the restaurant two men grabbed their hats and
jumped after you; a dozen other men, without waiting for hats,
jumped after them. The rest of us got out just as the two men
and the detectives dived into the traffic."
A big man, with an air of authority, drew Sam to one side.
"Did they take anything from you, sir?" he asked.
"I've nothing they could take," said Sam. "And they didn't try to
find out. They just knocked me down."
Forsythe turned to the big man.
"This gentleman is a friend of mine, inspector," he said. "He is
a stranger in town and was at Pavoni's only by accident."
"We might need his testimony," suggested the official.
Sam gave his card to the inspector and then sought refuge in a
taxicab. For the second time he bade his friend good night.
"And when next we dine," he called to him in parting, "choose a
restaurant where the detective service is quicker!"
Three hours later, brushed and repaired by Mrs. Wroxton, and
again resplendent, Sam sat in a secluded corner of Deptford House
and bade Polly a long farewell. It was especially long, owing to
the unusual number of interruptions; for it was evident that Polly
had many friends in London, and that not to know the Richest One
in America and her absurd mother, and the pompous, self-satisfied
father, argued oneself nobody. But finally the duchess carried Polly
off to sup with her; and as the duchess did not include Sam in her
invitation--at least not in such a way that any one could notice it--
Sam said good-night--but not before he had arranged a meeting
with Polly for eleven that same morning. If it was clear, the
meeting was to be at the duck pond in St. James's Park; if it
snowed, at the National Gallery in front of the "Age of
After robbing the duchess of three suppers, Sam descended to
the hall and from an attendant received his coat and hat, which
latter the attendant offered him with the inside of the hat
showing. Sam saw in it the trademark of a foreign maker.
"That's not my hat," said Sam.
The man expressed polite disbelief.
"I found it rolled up in the pocket of your greatcoat, sir," he
The words reminded Sam that on arriving at Deptford House he had
twisted the hat into a roll and stuffed it into his overcoat
"Quite right," said Sam. But it was not his hat; and with some hope
of still recovering his property he made way for other departing
guests and at one side waited.
For some clew to the person he believed was now wearing his hat,
Sam examined the one in his hand. Just showing above the inside
band was something white. Thinking it might be the card of the
owner, Sam removed it. It was not a card, but a long sheet of thin
paper, covered with typewriting, and many times folded. Sam
read the opening paragraph. Then he backed suddenly toward a
great chair of gold and velvet, and fell into it.
He was conscious the attendants in pink stockings were regarding
him askance; that, as they waited in the drafty hall for cars and taxis,
the noble lords in stars and ribbons, the noble ladies in tiaras and
showing much-fur-lined galoshes, were discussing his strange
appearance. They might well believe the youth was ill; they might
easily have considered him intoxicated. Outside rose the voices of
servants and police calling the carriages. Inside other servants echoed
"The Duchess of Sutherland's car!" they chanted. "Mrs. Trevor
Hill's carriage! The French ambassador's carriage! Baron
Like one emerging from a trance, Sam sprang upright. A little fat
man, with mild blue eyes and curly red hair, was shyly and with
murmured apologies pushing toward the exit. Before he gained it
Sam had wriggled a way to his elbow.
"Baron Haussmann!" he stammered. "I must speak to you. It's a
matter of gravest importance. Send away your car," he begged,
"and give me five minutes."
The eyes of the little fat man opened wide in surprise, almost in
alarm. He stared at Sam reprovingly.
"Impossible!" he murmured. "I--I do not know you."
"This is a letter of introduction," said Sam. Into the unwilling
fingers of the banker he thrust the folded paper. Bending over
him, he whispered in his ear. "That," said Sam, "is the Treaty of
The alarm of Baron Haussmann increased to a panic.
"Impossible!" he gasped. And, with reproach, he repeated: "I do
not know you, sir! I do not know you!"
At that moment, towering above the crush, appeared the tall figure
of Senator Seward. The rich man of the New World and the rich
man of Europe knew each other only by sight. But, upon seeing
Sam in earnest converse with the great banker, the senator
believed that without appearing to seek it he might through Sam
effect a meeting. With a hearty slap on the shoulder he greeted
his fellow countryman.
"Halloo, Sam!" he cried genially. "You walking home with me?"
Sam did not even turn his head.
"No!" he snapped. "I'm busy. Go 'way!"
Crimson, the senator disappeared. Baron Haussmann regarded the
young stranger with amazed interest.
"You know him!" he protested. "He called you Sam!"
"Know him?" cried Sam impatiently. "I've got to know him! He's
going to be my father-in-law."
The fingers of the rich man clutched the folded paper as the
claws of a parrot cling to the bars of his cage. He let his sable
coat slip into the hands of a servant; he turned back toward the
"Come!" he commanded.
Sam led him to the secluded corner Polly and he had left vacant
and told his story.
"So, it is evident," concluded Sam, "that each night some one in
the service of the Times dined at Pavoni's, and that his hat was
the same sort of hat as the one worn by Hertz; and each night,
inside the lining of his hat, Hertz hid the report of that day's
proceedings. And when the Times man left the restaurant he
exchanged hats with Hertz. But to-night--I got Hertz's hat and
with it the treaty!"
In perplexity the blue eyes of the little great man frowned.
"It is a remarkable story," he said.
"You mean you don't believe me!" retorted Sam. "If I had
financial standing--if I had credit--if I were not a stranger-
you would not hesitate."
Baron Haussmann neither agreed nor contradicted. He made a polite
and deprecatory gesture. Still in doubt, he stared at the piece of white
paper. Still deep in thought, he twisted and creased between his fingers
the Treaty of London!
Returning with the duchess from supper, Polly caught sight of Sam
and, with a happy laugh, ran toward him. Seeing he was not alone,
she halted and waved her hand.
"Don't forget!" she called. "At eleven!"
She made a sweet and lovely picture. Sam rose and bowed.
"I'll be there at ten," he answered.
With his mild blue eyes the baron followed Polly until she had
disappeared. Then he turned and smiled at Sam.
"Permit me," he said, "to offer you my felicitations. Your young
lady is very beautiful and very good." Sam bowed his head. "If
she trusts you," murmured the baron, "I think I can trust you
"How wonderful is credit!" exclaimed Sam. "I was just saying so
to my landlady. If you have only cash you spend it and nothing
remains. But with credit you can--"
"How much," interrupted the banker, "do you want for this?"
Sam returned briskly to the business of the moment.
"To be your partner," he said--"to get half of what you make out
The astonished eyes of the baron were large with wonder. Again he
"What I shall make out of it?" he demanded incredulously. "Do you
know how much I shall make out of it?"
"I cannot even guess," said Sam; "but I want half."
The baron smiled tolerantly.
"And how," he asked, "could you possibly know what I give you is
In his turn, Sam made a deprecatory gesture.
"Your credit," said Sam, "is good!"
That morning, after the walk in St. James's Park, when Sam returned
with Polly to Claridge's, they encountered her father in the hall.
Mindful of the affront of the night before, he greeted Sam only
with a scowl.
"Senator," cried Sam happily, "you must be the first to hear the news!
Polly and I are going into partnership. We are to be married."
This time Senator Seward did not trouble himself even to tell Sam
he was an ass. He merely grinned cynically.
"Is that all your news?" he demanded with sarcasm.
"No," said Sam--"I am going into partnership with Baron Haussmann
THE BURIED TREASURE OF COBRE
Young Everett at last was a minister plenipotentiary. In London
as third secretary he had splashed around in the rain to find the
ambassador's carriage. In Rome as a second secretary he had
served as a clearing-house for the Embassy's visiting-cards; and
in Madrid as first secretary he had acted as interpreter for a
minister who, though valuable as a national chairman, had much
to learn of even his own language. But although surrounded by
all the wonders and delights of Europe, although he walked, talked,
wined, and dined with statesmen and court beauties, Everett was
not happy. He was never his own master. Always he answered the
button pressed by the man higher up. Always over him loomed his
chief; always, for his diligence and zeal, his chief received credit.
As His Majesty's naval attache put it sympathetically, "Better be
a top-side man on a sampan than First Luff on the Dreadnought.
Don't be another man's right hand. Be your own right hand."
Accordingly when the State Department offered to make him
minister to the Republic of Amapala, Everett gladly deserted the
flesh-pots of Europe, and, on mule-back over trails in the living
rock, through mountain torrents that had never known the shadow
of a bridge, through swamp and jungle, rode sunburnt and
saddle-sore into his inheritance.
When giving him his farewell instructions, the Secretary of State
had not attempted to deceive him.
"Of all the smaller republics of Central America," he frankly told
him, "Amapala is the least desirable, least civilized, least acceptable.
It offers an ambitious young diplomat no chance. But once a minister,
always a minister. Having lifted you out of the secretary class we can't
demote you. Your days of deciphering cablegrams are over, and if you
don't die of fever, of boredom, or brandy, call us up in a year or two
and we will see what we can do."
Everett regarded the Secretary blankly.
"Has the department no interest in Amapala?" he begged. "Is there
nothing you want there?"
"There is one thing we very much want," returned the Secretary,
"but we can't get it. We want a treaty to extradite criminals."
The young minister laughed confidently.
"Why!" he exclaimed, "that should be easy."
The Secretary smiled.
"You have our full permission to get it," he said. "This department,"
he explained, "under three administrations has instructed four
ministers to arrange such a treaty. The Bankers' Association wants
it; the Merchants' Protective Alliance wants it. Amapala is the only
place within striking distance of our country where a fugitive is safe.
It is the only place where a dishonest cashier, swindler, or felon can
find refuge. Sometimes it seems almost as though when a man planned
a crime he timed it exactly so as to catch the boat for Amapala. And,
once there, we can't lay our hands on him; and, what's more, we can't
lay our hands on the money he takes with him. I have no right to make
a promise," said the great man, "but the day that treaty is signed you
can sail for a legation in Europe. Do I make myself clear?"
"So clear, sir," cried Everett, laughing, "that if I don't
arrange that treaty I will remain in Amapala until I do."
"Four of your predecessors," remarked the Secretary, "made
exactly the same promise, but none of them got us the treaty."
"Probably none of them remained in Amapala, either," retorted
"Two did," corrected the Secretary; "as you ride into Camaguay
you see their tombstones."
Everett found the nine-day mule-ride from the coast to the capital
arduous, but full of interest. After a week at his post he appreciated
that until he left it and made the return journey nothing of equal
interest was again likely to occur. For life in Camaguay, the capital
of Amapala, proved to be one long, dreamless slumber. In the morning
each of the inhabitants engaged in a struggle to get awake; after the
second breakfast he ceased struggling, and for a siesta sank into his
hammock. After dinner, at nine o'clock, he was prepared to sleep in
earnest, and went to bed. The official life as explained to Everett by
Garland, the American consul, was equally monotonous. When
President Mendoza was not in the mountains deer-hunting, or
suppressing a revolution, each Sunday he invited the American
minister to dine at the palace. In return His Excellency expected
once a week to be invited to breakfast with the minister. He preferred
that the activities of that gentleman should go no further. Life in the
diplomatic circle was even less strenuous. Everett was the doyen
of the diplomatic corps because he was the only diplomat. All
other countries were represented by consuls who were commission
merchants and shopkeepers. They were delighted at having among
them a minister plenipotentiary. When he took pity on them and
invited them to tea, which invitations he delivered in person to
each consul at the door of each shop, the entire diplomatic corps,
as the consuls were pleased to describe themselves, put up the
shutters, put on their official full-dress uniforms and arrived in
The first week at his post Everett spent in reading the archives of
the legation. They were most discouraging. He found that for the
sixteen years prior to his arrival the only events reported to the
department by his predecessors were revolutions and the refusals
of successive presidents to consent to a treaty of extradition. On
that point all Amapalans were in accord. Though overnight the
government changed hands, though presidents gave way to dictators,
and dictators to military governors, the national policy of Amapala
continued to be "No extradition!" The ill success of those who had
preceded him appalled Everett. He had promised himself by a
brilliant assault to secure the treaty and claim the legation in
Europe. But the record of sixteen years of failure caused him
to alter his strategy. Instead of an attack he prepared for a siege.
He unpacked his books, placed the portrait of his own President
over the office desk, and proceeded to make friends with his fellow
Of the foreign colony in Camaguay some fifty were Americans, and
from the rest of the world they were as hopelessly separated as the
crew of a light-ship. From the Pacific they were cut off by the
Cordilleras, from the Caribbean by a nine-day mule-ride. To the
north and south, jungle, forests, swamp-lands, and mountains
hemmed them in.
Of the fifty Americans, one-half were constantly on the trail;
riding to the coast to visit their plantations, or into the mountains
to inspect their mines. When Everett arrived, of those absent
the two most important were Chester Ward and Colonel Goddard.
Indeed, so important were these gentlemen that Everett was made
to understand that, until they approved, his recognition as the
American minister was in a manner temporary.
Chester Ward, or "Chet," as the exiles referred to him, was one of
the richest men in Amapala, and was engaged in exploring the ruins
of the lost city of Cobre, which was a one-hour ride from the capital.
Ward possessed the exclusive right to excavate that buried city and
had held it against all comers. The offers of American universities,
of archaeological and geographical societies that also wished to dig
up the ancient city and decipher the hieroglyphs on her walls, were
met with a curt rebuff. That work, the government of Amapala would
reply, was in the trained hands of Senor Chester Ward. In his chosen
effort the government would not disturb him, nor would it permit others
coming in at the eleventh hour to rob him of his glory. This Everett
learned from the consul, Garland.
"Ward and Colonel Goddard," the consul explained, "are two of
five countrymen of ours who run the American colony, and, some
say, run the government. The others are Mellen, who has the
asphalt monopoly; Jackson, who is building the railroads, and
Major Feiberger, of the San Jose silver-mines. They hold
monopolies and pay President Mendoza ten per cent of the
earnings, and, on the side, help him run the country. Of the
five, the Amapalans love Goddard best, because he's not trying
to rob them. Instead, he wants to boost Amapala. His ideas are
perfectly impracticable, but he doesn't know that, and neither do
they. He's a kind of Colonel Mulberry Sellers and a Southerner.
Not the professional sort, that fight elevator-boys because they're
colored, and let off rebel yells in rathskellers when a Hungarian
band plays 'Dixie,' but the sort you read about and so seldom see.
He was once State Treasurer of Alabama."
"What's he doing down here?" asked the minister.
"Never the same thing two months together," the consul told him;
"railroads, mines, rubber. He says all Amapala needs is developing."
As men who can see a joke even when it is against themselves, the
two exiles smiled ruefully.
"That's all it needs," said Everett.
For a moment the consul regarded him thoughtfully.
"I might as well tell you," he said, "you'll learn it soon enough
anyway, that the men who will keep you from getting your treaty
are these five, especially old man Goddard and Ward."
Everett exclaimed indignantly:
"Why should they interfere?"
"Because," explained the consul, "they are fugitives from justice,
and they don't want to go home. Ward is wanted for forgery or
some polite crime, I don't know which. And Colonel Goddard
for appropriating the State funds of Alabama. Ward knew what
he was doing and made a lot out of it. He's still rich. No one's
weeping over him. Goddard's case is different. He was imposed
on and made a catspaw. When he was State treasurer the men
who appointed him came to him one night and said they must
have some of the State's funds to show a bank examiner in the
morning. They appealed to him on the ground of friendship, as
the men who'd given him his job. They would return the money
the next evening. Goddard believed they would. They didn't,
and when some one called for a show-down the colonel was shy
about fifty thousand dollars of the State's money. He lost his head,
took the boat out of Mobile to Porto Cortez, and hid here. He's
been here twenty years and all the Amapalans love him. He's the
adopted father of their country. They're so afraid he'll be taken
back and punished that they'll never consent to an extradition
treaty even if the other Americans, Mellen, Jackson, and Feiberger,
weren't paying them big money not to consent. President Mendoza
himself told me that as long as Colonel Goddard honored his
country by remaining in it, he was his guest, and he would never
agree to extradition. 'I could as soon,' he said, 'sign his
Everett grinned dismally.
"That's rather nice of them," he said, "but it's hard on me. But," he
demanded, "why Ward? What has he done for Amapala? Is it because
of Cobre, because of his services as an archaeologist?"
The consul glanced around the patio and dragged his chair nearer
"This is my own dope," he whispered; "it may be wrong. Anyway,
it's only for your private information."
He waited until, with a smile, Everett agreed to secrecy.
"Chet Ward," protested the consul, "is no more an archaeologist
than I am! He talks well about Cobre, and he ought to, because
every word he speaks is cribbed straight from Hauptmann's
monograph, published in 1855. And he has dug up something at
Cobre; something worth a darned sight more than stone monkeys
and carved altars. But his explorations are a bluff. They're a blind
to cover up what he's really after; what I think he's found!"
As though wishing to be urged, the young man paused, and Everett
nodded for him to continue. He was wondering whether life in
Amapala might not turn out to be more interesting than at first
it had appeared, or whether Garland was not a most charming liar.
"Ward visits the ruins every month," continued Garland. "But he
takes with him only two mule-drivers to cook and look after the
pack-train, and he doesn't let even the drivers inside the ruins.
He remains at Cobre three or four days and, to make a show, fills
his saddle-bags with broken tiles and copper ornaments. He turns
them over to the government, and it dumps them in the back yard
of the palace. You can't persuade me that he holds his concession
with that junk. He's found something else at Cobre and he shares
it with Mendoza, and I believe it's gold."
The minister smiled delightedly.
"What kind of gold?
"Maybe in the rough," said the consul. "But I prefer to think
it's treasure. The place is full of secret chambers, tombs, and
passage-ways cut through the rock, deep under the surface. I
believe Ward has stumbled on some vault where the priests used
to hide their loot. I believe he's getting it out bit by bit and
going shares with Mendoza."
"If that were so," ventured Everett, "why wouldn't Mendoza take
"Because Ward," explained the consul, "is the only one who knows
where it is. The ruins cover two square miles. You might search
for years. They tried to follow and spy on him, but Ward was too
clever for them. He turned back at once. If they don't take what
he gives, they get nothing. So they protect him from real explorers
and from extradition. The whole thing is unfair. A real archaeologist
turned up here a month ago. He had letters from the Smithsonian
Institute and several big officials at Washington, but do you suppose
they would let him so much as smell of Cobre? Not they! Not even
when I spoke for him as consul. Then he appealed to Ward, and Ward
turned him down hard. You were arriving, so he's hung on here hoping
you may have more influence. His name is Peabody; he's a professor,
but he's young and full of 'get there,' and he knows more about the ruins
of Cobre now than Ward does after having them all to himself for two
years. He's good people and I hope you'll help him."
Everett shook his head doubtfully.
"If the government has given the concession to him," he pointed
out, "no matter who Ward may be, or what its motives were for
giving it to him, I can't ask it to break its promise. As an
American citizen Ward is as much entitled to my help--
officially--as Professor Peabody, whatever his standing."
"Ward's a forger," protested Garland, "a fugitive from justice; and
Peabody is a scholar and a gentleman. I'm not keen about dead
cities myself--this one we're in now is dead enough for me--but if
civilization is demanding to know what Cobre was like eight
hundred years ago, civilization is entitled to find out, and
Peabody seems the man for the job. It's a shame to turn him
down for a gang of grafters."
"Tell him to come and talk to me," said the minister.
"He rode over to the ruins of Copan last week," explained Garland,
"where the Harvard expedition is. But he's coming back to-morrow
on purpose to see you."
The consul had started toward the door when he suddenly returned.
"And there's some one else coming to see you," he said. "Some
one," he added anxiously, "you want to treat right. That's Monica
Ward. She's Chester Ward's sister, and you mustn't get her mixed
up with anything I told you about her brother. She's coming to
ask you to help start a Red Cross Society. She was a volunteer
nurse in the hospital in the last two revolutions, and what she
saw makes her want to be sure she won't see it again. She's
taught the native ladies the 'first aid' drill, and they expect
you to be honorary president of the society. You'd better
Shaking his head, Garland smiled pityingly upon the new minister.
"You've got a swell chance to get your treaty," he declared.
"Monica is another one who will prevent it."
Everett sighed patiently.
"What," he demanded, "might her particular crime be; murder,
"If her brother had to leave this country," interrupted Garland,
"she'd leave with him. And the people don't want that. Her pull
is the same as old man Goddard's. Everybody loves him and
everybody loves her. I love her," exclaimed the consul
cheerfully; "the President loves her, the sisters in the hospital,
the chain-gang in the street, the washerwomen in the river,
the palace guard, everybody in this flea-bitten, God-forsaken
country loves Monica Ward--and when you meet her you
Garland had again reached the door to the outer hall before
Everett called him back.
"If it is not a leading question," asked the minister, "what
little indiscretion in your life brought you to Amapala?"
Garland grinned appreciatively.
"I know they sound a queer lot," he assented, "but when you get
to know 'em, you like 'em. My own trouble," he added, "was a
horse. I never could see why they made such a fuss about him. He
was lame when I took him."
Disregarding Garland's pleasantry, for some time His Excellency
sat with his hands clasped behind his head, frowning up from the
open patio into the hot, cloudless sky. On the ridge of his tiled
roof a foul buzzard blinked at him from red-rimmed eyes, across
the yellow wall a lizard ran for shelter, at his elbow a macaw
compassing the circle of its tin prison muttered dreadful oaths.
Outside, as the washerwomen beat their linen clubs upon the flat
rocks of the river, the hot, stale air was spanked with sharp reports.
In Camaguay theirs was the only industry, the only sign of
cleanliness; and recognizing that another shirt had been thrashed
into subjection and rags, Everett winced. No less visibly did his
own thoughts cause him to wince. Garland he had forgotten,
and he was sunk deep in self-pity. His thoughts were of London,
with its world politics, its splendid traditions, its great and gracious
ladies; of Paris in the spring sunshine, when he cantered through the
Bois; of Madrid, with its pomp and royalty, and the gray walls of its
galleries proclaiming Murillo and Velasquez. These things he had
forsaken because he believed he was ambitious; and behold into
what a cul-de-sac his ambition had led him! A comic-opera country
that was not comic, but dead and buried from the world; a savage
people, unread, unenlightened, unclean; and for society of his
countrymen, pitiful derelicts in hiding from the law. In his soul
he rebelled. In words he exploded bitterly.
"This is one hell of a hole, Garland," cried the diplomat. His
jaws and his eyes hardened. "I'm going back to Europe. And
the only way I can go is to get that treaty. I was sent here to get
it. Those were my orders. And I'll get it if I have to bribe them
out of my own pocket; if I have to outbid Mr. Ward, and send
him and your good Colonel Goddard and all the rest of the crew
to the jails where they belong!"
Garland heard him without emotion. From long residence near the
equator he diagnosed the outbreak as a case of tropic choler,
aggravated by nostalgia and fleas.
"I'll bet you don't," he said.
"I'll bet you your passage-money home," shouted Everett, "against
my passage-money to Europe."
"Done!" said Garland. "How much time do you want--two years?"
The diplomat exclaimed mockingly:
"I win now, "said the consul. "I'll go home and pack."
The next morning his clerk told Everett that in the outer office
Monica Ward awaited him.
Overnight Everett had developed a prejudice against Miss Ward.
What Garland had said in her favor had only driven him the wrong
way. Her universal popularity he disliked. He argued that to gain
popularity one must concede and capitulate. He felt that the sister
of an acknowledged crook, no matter how innocent she might be,
were she a sensitive woman, would wish to efface herself. And
he had found that, as a rule, women who worked in hospitals and
organized societies bored him. He did not admire the militant,
executive sister. He pictured Miss Ward as probably pretty, but
with the coquettish effrontery of the village belle and with the
pushing, "good-fellow" manners of the new school. He was prepared
either to have her slap him on the back or, from behind tilted
eye-glasses, make eyes at him. He was sure she wore eye-glasses,
and was large, plump, and Junoesque. With reluctance he entered
the outer office. He saw, all in white, a girl so young that she
was hardly more than a child, but with the tall, slim figure of a
boy. Her face was lovely as the face of a violet, and her eyes
were as shy. But shy not through lack of confidence in Everett,
nor in any human being, but in herself. They seemed to say, "I am
a very unworthy, somewhat frightened young person; but you, who
are so big and generous, will overlook that, and you are going to
be my friend. Indeed, I see you are my friend."
Everett stood quite still. He nodded gloomily.
"Garland was right," he exclaimed; "I do!"
The young lady was plainly distressed.
"Do what?" she stammered.
"Some day I will tell you," said the young man. "Yes," he added,
without shame, "I am afraid I will." He bowed her into the inner
"I am sorry," apologized Monica, "but I am come to ask a favor--
two favors; one of you and one of the American minister."
Everett drew his armchair from his desk and waved Monica into it.
"I was sent here," he said, "to do exactly what you want. The
last words the President addressed to me were, 'On arriving at
your post report to Miss Monica Ward."'
Fearfully, Monica perched herself on the edge of the armchair; as
though for protection she clasped the broad table before her.
"The favor I want," she hastily assured him, "is not for myself."
"I am sorry," said Everett, "for it is already granted."
"You are very good," protested Monica.
"No," replied Everett, "I am only powerful. I represent ninety-five
million Americans, and they are all entirely at your service. So is
the army and navy."
Monica smiled and shook her head. The awe she felt was due an
American minister was rapidly disappearing, and in Mr. Everett
himself her confidence was increasing. The other ministers
plenipotentiary she had seen at Camaguay had been old, with
beards like mountain-goats, and had worn linen dusters. They
always were very red in the face and very damp. Monica decided
Mr. Everett also was old; she was sure he must be at least
thirty-five; but in his silk pongee and pipe-clayed tennis-shoes
he was a refreshing spectacle. Just to look at him turned one
"We have a very fine line of battle-ships this morning at
Guantanamo," urged Everett; "if you want one I'll cable for it."
Monica laughed softly. It was good to hear nonsense spoken. The
Amapalans had never learned it, and her brother said just what he
meant and no more.
"Our sailors were here once," Monica volunteered. She wanted
Mr. Everett to know he was not entirely cut off from the world.
"During the revolution," she explained. "We were so glad to see
them; they made us all feel nearer home. They set up our flag in
the plaza, and the color-guard let me photograph it, with them
guarding it. And when they marched away the archbishop stood
on the cathedral steps and blessed them, and we rode out along the
trail to where it comes to the jungle. And then we waved good-by,
and they cheered us. We all cried."
For a moment, quite unconsciously, Monica gave an imitation of
how they all cried. It made the appeal of the violet eyes even more
"Don't you love our sailors?" begged Monica.
Fearful of hurting the feelings of others, she added hastily,
"And, of course, our marines, too."
Everett assured her if there was one thing that meant more to him
than all else, it was an American bluejacket, and next to him an
It took a long time to arrange the details of the Red Cross
Society. In spite of his reputation for brilliancy, it seemed to
Monica Mr. Everett had a mind that plodded. For his benefit it
was necessary several times to repeat the most simple proposition.
She was sure his inability to fasten his attention on her League
of Mercy was because his brain was occupied with problems of
state. It made her feel selfish and guilty. When his visitor
decided that to explain further was but to waste his valuable
time and had made her third effort to go, Everett went with her.
He suggested that she take him to the hospital and introduce him
to the sisters. He wanted to talk to them about the Red Cross
League. It was a charming walk. Every one lifted his hat to
Monica; the beggars, the cab-drivers, the barefooted policemen,
and the social lights of Camaguay on the sidewalks in front of
the cafes rose and bowed.
"It is like walking with royalty!" exclaimed Everett.
While at the hospital he talked to the Mother Superior--his eyes
followed Monica. As she moved from cot to cot he noted how
the younger sisters fluttered happily around her, like bridesmaids
around a bride, and how as she passed, the eyes of those in the
cots followed her jealously, and after she had spoken with them
smiled in content.
"She is good," the Mother Superior was saying, "and her brother,
too, is very good."
Everett had forgotten the brother. With a start he lifted his eyes
and found the Mother Superior regarding him.
"He is very good," she repeated. "For us, he built this wing of
the hospital. It was his money. We should be very sorry if any
harm came to Mr. Ward. Without his help we would starve." She
smiled, and with a gesture signified the sick. "I mean they would
starve; they would die of disease and fever." The woman fixed
upon him grave, inscrutable eyes. "Will Your Excellency
remember?" she said. It was less of a question than a command.
"Where the church can forgive--" she paused.
Like a real diplomat Everett sought refuge in mere words.
"The church is all-powerful, Mother," he said. "Her power to
forgive is her strongest weapon. I have no such power. It lies
beyond my authority. I am just a messenger-boy carrying the
wishes of the government of one country to the government of
The face of the Mother Superior remained grave, but undisturbed.
"Then, as regards our Mr. Ward," she said, "the wishes of your
Again she paused; again it was less of a question than a command.
With interest Everett gazed at the whitewashed ceiling.
"I have not yet," he said, "communicated them to any one."
That night, after dinner in the patio, he reported to Garland the
words of the Mother Superior.
"That was my dream, 0 Prophet," concluded Everett; "you who can
read this land of lotus-eaters, interpret! What does it mean?"
"It only means what I've been telling you," said the consul. "It means
that if you're going after that treaty, you've only got to fight the
Catholic Church. That's all it means!"
Later in the evening Garland said: "I saw you this morning crossing
the plaza with Monica. When I told you everybody in this town
loved her, was I right?"
"Absolutely!" assented Everett. "But why didn't you tell me she
was a flapper?"
"I don't know what a flapper is," promptly retorted Garland. "And
if I did, I wouldn't call Monica one."
"A flapper is a very charming person," protested Everett. "I used
the term in its most complimentary sense. It means a girl between
fourteen and eighteen. It's English slang, and in England at the
present the flapper is very popular. She is driving her sophisticated
elder sister, who has been out two or three seasons, and the predatory
married woman to the wall. To men of my years the flapper is really
at the dangerous age."
In his bamboo chair Garland tossed violently and snorted.
"I sized you up," he cried, "as a man of the finest perceptions. I was
wrong. You don't appreciate Monica! Dangerous! You might as
well say God's sunshine is dangerous, or a beautiful flower is
Everett shook his head at the other man reproachfully:
"Did you ever hear of a sunstroke?" he demanded. "Don't you know
if you smell certain beautiful flowers you die? Can't you grasp any
other kind of danger than being run down by a trolley-car? Is the
danger of losing one's peace of mind nothing, of being unfaithful
to duty, nothing! Is--"
Garland raised his arms.
"Don't shoot!" he begged. "I apologize. You do appreciate Monica.
You have your consul's permission to walk with her again."
The next day young Professor Peabody called and presented his
letters. He was a forceful young man to whom the delays of
diplomacy did not appeal, and one apparently accustomed to riding
off whatever came in his way. He seemed to consider any one who
opposed him, or who even disagreed with his conclusions, as
offering a personal affront. With indignation he launched into
"These people," he declared, "are dogs in the manger, and Ward is
the worst of the lot. He knows no more of archaeology than a
congressman. The man's a faker! He showed me a spear-head of
obsidian and called it flint; and he said the Aztecs borrowed from
the Mayas, and that the Toltecs were a myth. And he got the Aztec
solar calendar mixed with the Ahau. He's as ignorant as that."
"I can't believe it!" exclaimed Everett.
"You may laugh," protested the professor, "but the ruins of Cobre
hold secrets the students of two continents are trying to solve.
They hide the history of a lost race, and I submit it's not proper
one man should keep that knowledge from the world, certainly
not for a few gold armlets!"
Everett raised his eyes.
"What makes you say that?"' he demanded.
"I've been kicking my heels in this town for a month," Peabody
told him, "and I've talked to the people here, and to the Harvard
expedition at Copan, and everybody tells me this fellow has found
treasure." The archaeologist exclaimed with indignation: "What's
gold," he snorted, "compared to the discovery of a lost race?"
"I applaud your point of view," Everett assured him. "I am to see the
President tomorrow, and I will lay the matter before him. I'll ask him
to give you a look in."
To urge his treaty of extradition was the reason for the audience with
the President, and with all the courtesy that a bad case demanded
Mendoza protested against it. He pointed out that governments
entered into treaties only when the ensuing benefits were mutual.
For Amapala in a treaty of extradition he saw no benefit. Amapala
was not so far "advanced" as to produce defaulting bank presidents,
get-rich-quick promoters, counterfeiters, and thieving cashiers. Her
fugitives were revolutionists who had fought and lost, and every one
was glad to have them go, and no one wanted them back.
"Or," suggested the President, "suppose I am turned out by a
revolution, and I seek asylum in your country? My enemies desire
my life. They would ask for my extradition--"
"If the offense were political," Everett corrected, "my government
would surrender no one."
"But my enemies would charge me with murder," explained the
President. "Remember Castro. And by the terms of the treaty your
government would be forced to surrender me. And I am shot against
the wall." The President shrugged his shoulders. "That treaty would
not be nice for me!"
"Consider the matter as a patriot," said the diplomat. "Is it good that
the criminals of my country should make their home in yours? When
you are so fortunate as to have no dishonest men of your own, why
import ours? We don't seek the individual. We want to punish him
only as a warning to others. And we want the money he takes with
him. Often it is the savings of the very poor."
The President frowned. It was apparent that both the subject and
Everett bored him.
"I name no names," exclaimed Mendoza, "but to those who come
here we owe the little railroads we possess. They develop our mines
and our coffee plantations. In time they will make this country very
modern, very rich. And some you call criminals we have learned to
love. Their past does not concern us. We shut our ears. We do not
spy. They have come to us as to a sanctuary, and so long as they claim
the right of sanctuary, I will not violate it."
As Everett emerged from the cool, dark halls of the palace into
the glare of the plaza he was scowling; and he acknowledged the
salute of the palace guard as though those gentlemen had offered
him an insult.
Garland was waiting in front of a cafe and greeted him with a
"Congratulations," he shouted.
"I have still twenty-two days," said Everett
The aristocracy of Camaguay invited the new minister to formal
dinners of eighteen courses, and to picnics less formal. These
latter Everett greatly enjoyed, because while Monica Ward was too
young to attend the state dinners, she was exactly the proper age
for the all-day excursions to the waterfalls, the coffee plantations,
and the asphalt lakes. The native belles of Camaguay took no
pleasure in riding farther afield than the military parade-ground.
Climbing a trail so steep that you viewed the sky between the ears
of your pony, or where with both hands you forced a way through
hanging vines and creepers, did not appeal. But to Monica, with
the seat and balance of a cowboy, riding astride, with her leg straight
and the ball of her foot just feeling the stirrup, these expeditions were
the happiest moments in her exile. So were they to Everett; and that
on the trail one could ride only in single file was a most poignant
regret. In the column the place of honor was next to whoever rode
at the head, but Everett relinquished this position in favor of Monica.
By this manoeuvre she always was in his sight, and he could call
upon her to act as his guide and to explain what lay on either hand.
His delight and wonder in her grew daily. He found that her mind
leaped instantly and with gratitude to whatever was most fair. Just
out of reach of her pony's hoofs he pressed his own pony forward,
and she pointed out to him what in the tropic abundance about them
she found most beautiful. Sometimes it was the tumbling waters of
a cataract; sometimes, high in the topmost branches of a ceiba-tree,
a gorgeous orchid; sometimes a shaft of sunshine as rigid as a
search-light, piercing the shadow of the jungle. At first she would
turn in the saddle and call to him, but as each day they grew to know
each other better she need only point with her whip-hand and he would
answer, "Yes," and each knew the other understood.
As a body, the exiles resented Everett. They knew his purpose in
regard to the treaty, and for them he always must be the enemy.
Even though as a man they might like him, they could not forget
that his presence threatened their peace and safety. Chester Ward
treated him with impeccable politeness; but, although his house
was the show-place of Camaguay, he never invited the American
minister to cross the threshold. On account of Monica, Everett
regretted this and tried to keep the relations of her brother and
himself outwardly pleasant. But Ward made it difficult. To no
one was his manner effusive, and for Monica only he seemed to
hold any real feeling. The two were alone in the world; he was
her only relative, and to the orphan he had been father and mother.
When she was a child he had bought her toys and dolls; now, had
the sisters permitted, he would have dressed her in imported frocks,
and with jewels killed her loveliness. He seemed to understand
how to spend his money as little as did the gossips of Camaguay
understand from whence it came.
That Monica knew why her brother lived in Camaguay Everett was
uncertain. She did not complain of living there, but she was not
at rest, and constantly she was asking Everett of foreign lands.
As Everett was homesick for them, he was most eloquent.
"I should like to see them for myself," said Monica, "but until my
brother's work here is finished we must wait. And I am young,
and after a few years Europe will be just as old. When my brother
leaves Amapala, he promises to take me wherever I ask to go: to
London, to Paris, to Rome. So I read and read of them; books of
history, books about painting, books about the cathedrals. But
the more I read the more I want to go at once, and that is disloyal."
"Disloyal?" asked Everett.
"To my brother," explained Monica. "He does so much for me.
I should think only of his work. That is all that really counts.
For the world is waiting to learn what he has discovered. It is
like having a brother go in search of the North Pole. You are
proud of what he is doing, but you want him back to keep him
to yourself. Is that selfish?"
Everett was a trained diplomat, but with his opinion of Chester Ward
he could not think of the answer. Instead, he was thinking of Monica
in Europe; of taking her through the churches and galleries which she
had seen only in black and white. He imagined himself at her side
facing the altar of some great cathedral, or some painting in the Louvre,
and watching her face lighten and the tears come to her eyes, as they
did now, when things that were beautiful hurt her. Or he imagined her
rid of her half-mourning and accompanying him through a cyclonic
diplomatic career that carried them to Japan, China, Persia; to Berlin,
Paris, and London. In these imaginings Monica appeared in pongee
and a sun-hat riding an elephant, in pearls and satin receiving
royalty, in tweed knickerbockers and a woollen jersey coasting
around the hairpin curve at Saint Moritz.
Of course he recognized that except as his wife Monica could not
accompany him to all these strange lands and high diplomatic posts.
And of course that was ridiculous. He had made up his mind for
the success of what he called his career, that he was too young to
marry; but he was sure, should he propose to marry Monica, every
one would say he was too old. And there was another consideration.
What of the brother? Would his government send him to a foreign
post when his wife was the sister of a man they had just sent to the
He could hear them say in London, "We know your first secretary,
but who is Mrs. Everett?" And the American visitor would explain:
"She is the sister of 'Inky Dink,' the forger. He is bookkeeping
in Sing Sing."
Certainly it would be a handicap. He tried to persuade himself
that Monica so entirely filled his thoughts because in Camaguay
there was no one else; it was a case of propinquity; her loneliness
and the fact that she lay under a shadow for which she was not to
blame appealed to his chivalry. So, he told himself, in thinking of
Monica except as a charming companion, he was an ass. And then,
arguing that in calling himself an ass he had shown his saneness
and impartiality, he felt justified in seeing her daily.