**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

Two Renegades
by [?]

In the Gate City of the South the Confederate Veterans were reuniting; and I stood to see them march, beneath the tangled flags of the great conflict, to the hall of their oratory and commemoration.

While the irregular and halting line was passing I made onslaught upon it and dragged from the ranks my friend Barnard O’Keefe, who had no right to be there. For he was a Northerner born and bred; and what should he be doing halloing for the Stars and Bars among those gray and moribund veterans? And why should he be trudging, with his shining, martial, humorous, broad face, among those warriors of a previous and alien generation?

I say I dragged him forth, and held him till the last hickory leg and waving goatee had stumbled past. And then I hustled him out of the crowd into a cool interior; for the Gate City was stirred that day, and the hand-organs wisely eliminated “Marching Through Georgia” from their repertories.

“Now, what deviltry are you up to?” I asked of O’Keefe when there were a table and things in glasses between us.

O’Keefe wiped his heated face and instigated a commotion among the floating ice in his glass before he chose to answer.

“I am assisting at the wake,” said he, “of the only nation on earth that ever did me a good turn. As one gentleman to another, I am ratifying and celebrating the foreign policy of the late Jefferson Davis, as fine a statesman as ever settled the financial question of a country. Equal ratio–that was his platform–a barrel of money for a barrel of flour–a pair of $20 bills for a pair of boots–a hatful of currency for a new hat–say, ain’t that simple compared with W. J. B’s little old oxidized plank?”

“What talk is this?” I asked. “Your financial digression is merely a subterfuge. Why were you marching in the ranks of the Confederate Veterans?”

“Because, my lad,” answered O’Keefe, “the Confederate Government in its might and power interposed to protect and defend Barnard O’Keefe against immediate and dangerous assassination at the hands of a blood- thirsty foreign country after the Unites States of America had overruled his appeal for protection, and had instructed Private Secretary Cortelyou to reduce his estimate of the Republican majority for 1905 by one vote.”

“Come, Barney,” said I, “the Confederate States of America has been out of existence nearly forty years. You do not look older yourself. When was it that the deceased government exerted its foreign policy in your behalf?”

“Four months ago,” said O’Keefe, promptly. “The infamous foreign power I alluded to is still staggering from the official blow dealt it by Mr. Davis’s contraband aggregation of states. That’s why you see me cake-walking with the ex-rebs to the illegitimate tune about ‘simmon- seeds and cotton. I vote for the Great Father in Washington, but I am not going back on Mars’ Jeff. You say the Confederacy has been dead forty years? Well, if it hadn’t been for it, I’d have been breathing to-day with soul so dead I couldn’t have whispered a single cuss-word about my native land. The O’Keefes are not overburdened with ingratitude.”

I must have looked bewildered. “The war was over,” I said vacantly, “in–“

O’Keefe laughed loudly, scattering my thoughts.

“Ask old Doc Millikin if the war is over!” he shouted, hugely diverted. “Oh, no! Doc hasn’t surrendered yet. And the Confederate States! Well, I just told you they bucked officially and solidly and nationally against a foreign government four months ago and kept me from being shot. Old Jeff’s country stepped in and brought me off under its wing while Roosevelt was having a gunboat repainted and waiting for the National Campaign Committee to look up whether I had ever scratched the ticket.”

“Isn’t there a story in this, Barney?” I asked.

“No,” said O’Keefe; “but I’ll give you the facts. You know I went down to Panama when this irritation about a canal began. I thought I’d get in on the ground floor. I did, and had to sleep on it, and drink water with little zoos in it; so, of course, I got the Chagres fever. That was in a little town called San Juan on the coast.