“Sangre de mi vida!” exclaimed the General. “Impossible it is that you speak of my good friend, Senor Kelley.”
“Come into the summer garden,” said Mrs. O’Brien. “I want to have a talk with you.”
Let us suppose that an hour has elapsed.
“And you say,” said the General, “that for the sum of $18,000 can be purchased the furnishment of the house and the lease of one year with this garden so lovely—so resembling unto the patios of my cara Colombia?”
“And dirt cheap at that,” sighed the lady.
“Ah, Dios!” breathed General Falcon. “What to me is war and politics? This spot is one paradise. My country it have other brave heroes to continue the fighting. What to me should be glory and the shooting of mans? Ah! no. It is here I have found one angel. Let us buy the Hotel Espanol and you shall be mine, and the money shall not be waste on guns.”
Mrs. O’Brien rested her blond pompadour against the shoulder of the Colombian patriot.
“Oh, senor,” she sighed, happily, “ain’t you terrible!”
Two days later was the time appointed for the delivery of the arms to the General. The boxes of supposed rifles were stacked in the rented warehouse, and the Secretary of War sat upon them, waiting for his friend Kelley to fetch the victim.
Mr. Kelley hurried, at the hour, to the Hotel Espanol. He found the General behind the desk adding up accounts.
“I have decide,” said the General, “to buy not guns. I have to-day buy the insides of this hotel, and there shall be marrying of the General Perrico Ximenes Villablanca Falcon with la Madame O’Brien.”
Mr. Kelley almost strangled.
“Say, you old bald-headed bottle of shoe polish,” he spluttered, “you’re a swindler—that’s what you are! You’ve bought a boarding house with money belonging to your infernal country, wherever it is.”
“Ah,” said the General, footing up a column, “that is what you call politics. War and revolution they are not nice. Yes. It is not best that one shall always follow Minerva. No. It is of quite desirable to keep hotels and be with that Juno—that ox-eyed Juno. Ah! what hair of the gold it is that she have!”
Mr. Kelley choked again.
“Ah, Senor Kelley!” said the General, feelingly and finally, “is it that you have never eaten of the corned beef hash that Madame O’Brien she make?”
BABES IN THE JUNGLE
Montague Silver, the finest street man and art grafter in the West, says to me once in Little Rock: “If you ever lose your mind, Billy, and get too old to do honest swindling among grown men, go to New York. In the West a sucker is born every minute; but in New York they appear in chunks of roe—you can’t count ’em!”
Two years afterward I found that I couldn’t remember the names of the Russian admirals, and I noticed some gray hairs over my left ear; so I knew the time had arrived for me to take Silver’s advice.