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The Fourth in Salvador
by [?]

“‘Assistance, amigos,’ the General shouts, trying to stop his horse. ‘Assistance, in the name of Liberty!’

“‘That’s the Campania Azul, the President’s bodyguard,’ says Jones. ‘What a shame! They’ve jumped on poor old Mary just because he was helping us to celebrate. Come on, boys, it’s our Fourth;–do we let that little squad of A.D.T’s break it up?’

“‘I vote No,’ says Martin Dillard, gathering his Winchester. ‘It’s the privilege of an American citizen to drink, drill, dress up, and be dreadful on the Fourth of July, no matter whose country he’s in.’

“‘Fellow citizens!’ says old man Billfinger, ‘In the darkest hour of Freedom’s birth, when our brave forefathers promulgated the principles of undying liberty, they never expected that a bunch of blue jays like that should be allowed to bust up an anniversary. Let us preserve and protect the Constitution.’

“We made it unanimous, and then we gathered our guns and assaulted the blue troops in force. We fired over their heads, and then charged ’em with a yell, and they broke and ran. We were irritated at having our barbecue disturbed, and we chased ’em a quarter of a mile. Some of ’em we caught and kicked hard. The General rallied his troops and joined in the chase. Finally they scattered in a thick banana grove, and we couldn’t flush a single one. So we sat down and rested.

“If I were to be put, severe, through the third degree, I wouldn’t be able to tell much about the rest of the day. I mind that we pervaded the town considerable, calling upon the people to bring out more armies for us to destroy. I remember seeing a crowd somewhere, and a tall man that wasn’t Billfinger making a Fourth of July speech from a balcony. And that was about all.

“Somebody must have hauled the old ice factory up to where I was, and put it around me, for there’s where I was when I woke up the next morning. As soon as I could recollect by name and address I got up and held an inquest. My last cent was gone. I was all in.

“And then a neat black carriage drives to the door, and out steps General Dingo and a bay man in a silk hat and tan shoes.

“‘Yes,’ says I to myself, ‘I see it now. You’re the Chief de Policeos and High Lord Chamberlain of the Calaboosum; and you want Billy Casparis for excess of patriotism and assault with intent. All right. Might as well be in jail, anyhow.’

“But it seems that General Mary is smiling, and the bay man shakes my hand, and speaks in the American dialect.

“‘General Dingo has informed me, Senor Casparis, of your gallant service in our cause. I desire to thank you with my person. The bravery of you and the other senores Americanos turned the struggle for liberty in our favour. Our party triumphed. The terrible battle will live forever in history.

“‘Battle?’ says I; ‘what battle?’ and I ran my mind back along history, trying to think.

“‘Senor Casparis is modest,’ says General Dingo. ‘He led his brave compadres into the thickest of the fearful conflict. Yes. Without their aid the revolution would have failed.’

“‘Why, now,’ says I, ‘don’t tell me there was a revolution yesterday. That was only a Fourth of–‘

“But right there I abbreviated. It seemed to me it might be best.

“‘After the terrible struggle,’ says the bay man, ‘President Bolano was forced to fly. To-day Caballo is President by proclamation. Ah, yes. Beneath the new administration I am the head of the Department of Mercantile Concessions. On my file I find one report, Senor Casparis, that you have not made ice in accord with your contract.’ And here the bay man smiles at me, ‘cute.

“‘Oh, well,’ says I, ‘I guess the report’s straight. I know they caught me. That’s all there is to it.’

“‘Do not say so,’ says the bay man. He pulls off a glove and goes over and lays his hand on that chunk of glass.

“‘Ice,’ says he, nodding his head, solemn.

“General Dingo also steps over and feels of it.

“‘Ice,’ says the General; ‘I’ll swear to it.’

“‘If Senor Casparis,’ says the bay man, ‘will present himself to the treasury on the sixth day of this month he will receive back the thousand dollars he did deposit as a forfeit. Adios, senor.’

“The General and the bay man bowed themselves out, and I bowed as often as they did.

“And when the carriage rolls away through the sand I bows once more, deeper than ever, till my hat touches the ground. But this time ’twas not intended for them. For, over their heads, I saw the old flag fluttering in the breeze above the consul’s roof; and ’twas to it I made my profoundest salute.”