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The Fourth in Salvador
by [?]

“And while I was sitting there, down through the blazing sunshine in his clean, white clothes comes Maximilian Jones, an American interested in rubber and rosewood.

“‘Great carrambos!’ says I, when he stepped in, for I was in a bad temper, ‘didn’t I have catastrophes enough? I know what you want. You want to tell me that story again about Johnny Ammiger and the widow on the train. You’ve told it nine times already this month.’

“‘It must be the heat,’ says Jones, stopping in at the door, amazed. ‘Poor Billy. He’s got bugs. Sitting on ice, and calling his best friends pseudonyms. Hi!–/muchacho/!’ Jones called my force of employees, who was sitting in the sun, playing with his toes, and told him to put on his trousers and run for the doctor.

“‘Come back,’ says I. ‘Sit down, Maxy, and forget it. ‘Tis not ice you see, nor a lunatic upon it. ‘Tis only an exile full of homesickness sitting on a lump of glass that’s just cost him a thousand dollars. Now, what was it Johnny said to the widow first? I’d like to hear it again, Maxy–honest. Don’t mind what I said.’

“Maximilian Jones and I sat down and talked. He was about as sick of the country as I was, for the grafters were squeezing him for half the profits of his rosewood and rubber. Down in the bottom of a tank of water I had a dozen bottles of sticky Frisco beer; and I fished these up, and we fell to talking about home and the flag and Hail Columbia and home-fried potatoes; and the drivel we contributed would have sickened any man enjoying those blessings. But at that time we were out of ’em. You can’t appreciate home till you’ve left it, money till it’s spent, your wife till she’s joined a woman’s club, nor Old Glory till you see it hanging on a broomstick on the shanty of a consul in a foreign town.

“And sitting there me and Maximilian Jones, scratching at our prickly heat and kicking at the lizards on the floor, became afflicted with a dose of patriotism and affection for our country. There was me, Billy Casparis, reduced from a capitalist to a pauper by over-addiction to my glass (in the lump), declares my troubles off for the present and myself to be an uncrowned sovereign of the greatest country on earth. And Maximilian Jones pours out whole drug stores of his wrath on oligarchies and potentates in red trousers and calico shoes. And we issues a declaration of interference in which we guarantee that the fourth day of July shall be celebrated in Salvador with all the kinds of salutes, explosions, honours of war, oratory, and liquids known to tradition. Yes, neither me nor Jones breathed with soul so dead. There shall be rucuses in Salvador, we say, and the monkeys had better climb the tallest cocoanut trees and the fire department get out its red sashes and two tin buckets.

“About this time into the factory steps a native man incriminated by the name of General Mary Esperanza Dingo. He was some pumpkin both in politics and colour, and the friend of me and Jones. He was full of politeness and a kind of intelligence, having picked up the latter and managed to preserve the former during a two years’ residence in Philadelphia studying medicine. For a Salvadorian he was not such a calamitous little man, though he always would play jack, queen, king, ace, deuce for a straight.

“General Mary sits with us and has a bottle. While he was in the States he had acquired a synopsis of the English language and the art of admiring our institutions. By and by the General gets up and tiptoes to the doors and windows and other stage entrances, remarking ‘Hist!’ at each one. They all do that in Salvador before they ask for a drink of water or the time of day, being conspirators from the cradle and matinee idols by proclamation.