Puslapio vaizdai

plantings had been trampled down and return my oxen, and then you can destroyed. Words fail to express my make the road back again, for I have feelings, however, when I followed the not to use it soon again, I think. It is destroying host to an old trail which bad that so many new cultivation was led to the river, and found branching destroyed, but so few men could not therefrom a new, and to me unknown, control so many oxen. I should have trail paralleling the river. This had sent more but could not spare them. been cut for a mile through my jungle Why did you not help with your men to a point where the oxen could be and save some damage? You see, after forded to the Hans camp on the oppo- all, it was much your fault. Permission site bank. By dropping down stream to cross your land? I can't follow you in canoes it had been a simple matter about the country asking permission to enter our unused river-trail and cut for all I do. You were at Monte Cristo the new road without detection. when I cut the river-road. I did n't

When told of my discovery, my know when you would return, and I major-domo was as surprised as I had can't hold my business while you been, and assured me that he had given pleasure yourself with trips about the permission neither to cut the road nor country. Did you send me word last for Neighbor Hans to drive the oxen night you were back, then I could ask across our land.

you for the permission; but how was I When I had composed myself some- to know you were back? Now tell me what, I rode over to Santa Clara, that. where, as usual, I was cordially wel- “Why didn't I ask your major-domo? comed by Neighbor Hans. Proceeding Now I know you are not serious. Ask at once to the object of my visit, I in- you. Yes. But ask your major-domo, quired by what right he cut roads on my inferior — that is to laugh! Why my land, why he drove his oxen across should I build a road on my side my property without permission, whe- when you have one already on your ther he knew that my bridle-path had side? My men told me they cut no been ruined and much of the new cul- trees of value, so there can be no questivation destroyed, and what he pro- tion of damages, so try not to be unposed to do about it. By this time I reasonable. It seems sometimes like was pretty well excited and doubtless you much wanted to make difficulties, spoke with a good deal of emphasis. but take


advice. It is so much betIn reply, Neighbor Hans delivered ter that we live together as friends, no? himself as follows: 'I am sorry, old Of course you now stay to dinner. I man, that you excite yourself about have some excellent Rhine wine just these matters, and hope that you have by last German boat, or do you prefer no idea to make trouble, for then it some real German beer? Better we try might be unpleasant for us both. I re- both. José, bring Señor Joubert the gret your new road is spoiled, but you cigars, also remember he sits at table. should know so many oxen must de- And now everything is so nicely arstroy any road such as yours; that is ranged I show you the latest German to be expected. Had you made your battleship in a picture by last mail. road of stone then it could not have England's superiority now is only'happened. But I know stone construc- and so forth. tion would have been difficult and ex- During a period of reconstruction, pensive, so I blame you not at all for when my living quarters were reduced that. I have to use the road again to to two rooms for all purposes, Neighbor

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Hans rode over to inform me that he system, and was well informed regardexpected visitors, and as it would ing the movements and possessions of crowd him uncomfortably to provide his neighbors. He frequently stopped sleeping accommodations for his guests, my boats as they passed his landing, he had decided to have some of them and made an inventory of their cargo. spend their nights with me. Knowing He now told me how many cots, hamthe disordered condition of my abode, mocks, and blankets there were on the he had come to advise me so that I place, and rapidly arranged their dismight have time to prepare. Of course position. He considerately consigned they would spend their days with him, me to a hammock, leaving my good and equally of course he would enter- American bed for the use of a stout tain them, though they might require friend who would thereby be rendered some attention in the morning should quite comfortable. they have been up late the night be

While he was thus regulating my fore, ha, ha!

affairs with military precision and to I laughed also, it was so excruciat- his own satisfaction, I stood there

gaspingly funny both in presentation and ing, strangling my manhood in an encontemplation — and the naïve man- deavor to have peace at any price. Inner in which he invited himself to take deed, I was so occupied controlling my possession of my house on behalf of his temper that, before I felt it safe to friends even added a touch of pathos to speak, he had jumped on his horse with the situation. Viewing my dismantled a ‘So long, old man, I'll be over to-morand cramped quarters, I felt obliged row and see if you have everything in orto decline his proposition. I even ex- der,' and was riding away when I came pressed my refusal in a manner quite to myself. Rushing through the woods, distinct and emphatic. But what is a I headed off Neighbor Hans with a Yankee right against a Junker desire? torrent of words that gushed forth in a

Some days later Neighbor Hans call- steady stream under the pressure of ed to inform me that his friends were feelings long held in restraint. It was due to arrive on a certain day, and the best and worst job of its kind I that we had better look to our arrange- had ever done. From amid a profusion ments. He displayed great annoyance of variegated and picturesque phrases and much vexation of spirit when I re- with which a life of walking up and called my former positive refusal down the earth had provided me, the run my place as a hotel annex to Santa listener could glean these prosaic stateClara. He curtly informed me that it ments of fact. You are not the Gerwas now too late to enter into further man Emperor; and if you are, this discussion, for his friends had already is n't Germany; and if it is, I'm not a started. He then proceeded to instruct German but an American, and I'll not me as to the removal of certain goods stand for more German arrogance. I'm and chattels to other places, explaining going to run my own affairs in my own how I could convert my office into tem- way, and when I wish to entertain your porary sleeping-quarters by taking out friends I'll invite them myself. If you the safe and by sundry other expedi- or your friends land on that riverbank ents which were so simple as to be self- and start for my house in the face of evident.

my refusal to have you here, I'll take With true Junker efficiency he had my Winchester and shoot you full of not neglected his information bureau holes!' through a personally conducted spy- Neighbor Hans dismounted. He


stood looking at me in astonishment, as if I had gone crazy on the spot, and ejaculated between my spasms, As the days passed, however, with no 'What's the matter, old man? I never signs of trouble, my feeling of appresaw you like this before. Calm your- hension gradually wore away, and I self. You must be mad.'.

settled down to the enjoyment of the When I finally subsided from lack of first undisturbed tranquillity and freebreath, he said, 'I will see you when dom I had enjoyed since entering the you are calm, and if it is trouble you zone of German influence. Neighbor seek, I will accommodate you with Hans had been an almost daily visitor, much pleasure. I assure you I can seeking accommodation of one kind or furnish plenty. If in doubt, you can another; and so accustomed had he ask Pratt.'

become to depending upon San Fer'Well,' I retorted,'trouble is the last nando for aid in every difficulty, that I thing I want; but if it comes, I'll try took it for granted that he had given to meet it, and if I can't handle it, my up all thought of open war. My time successor will be a quick-fingered bad and work had been constantly interman from Texas.'

rupted in meeting his appeals for asHans made no reply, but flung him- sistance, and from annoyance these self into his saddle, and rode off. continuous requests had become a seri

When I had calmed down, I felt a ous nuisance. Accommodation grew to bit ashamed of my own loss of temper, be imposition, and with my increasing and wrote him an apology for the lan- reluctance, his requests became deguage I had used, making it plain, how- mands. Yet the one and only time that ever, that I was not receding from my I had asked a favor of Hans it had been determination to remain master of my abruptly refused.

. own affairs. He made no reply, nor did My greatest source of difficulty was his friends appear. They were, as I the care of a telephone line running to afterwards learned, headed off by a the Finca Santa Felicia, ten miles disspcial courier.

tant, where Friend Russell maintainRecalling the fate of Pratt and the ed an independent wire in connection troubles of Cook, I now expected re- with the other American fincas along prisals. Cattle might mysteriously die, the road, thus bringing my ranch into fence-wires be cut and cattle get loose, communication with Agua Fria, our bridges unexpectedly collapse, trees be nearest town, twenty miles distant. felled across the trails, telephone wires To secure through connection, all the be constantly cut down, the river-chan- managers on the route must be sumnel closed to navigation by cunningly moned from field or office; and of course arranged obstructions, and I might was expected that this would be done be continually in the saddle answering only under very special circumstances. summonses of distant tribunals, get- Ordinarily, messages were expected to

, ting free from one trumped-up charge be relayed at convenience, the matter only to meet another. These devices being a pure courtesy extended by one and many more had been employed neighbor to another. All the Angloagainst Pratt and others. A peaceful Saxon managers were scrupulous in

. American, who fights fair if he has to their use of this privilege, but Neighbor fight at all, is at a great disadvantage Hans who maintained not one bridge, in defending himself against a petty not a mile of road or rod of wire, held war of frightfulness.

himself superior to all constraint what


soever, and would call for Agua Fria many attacked, and calling upon the on the telephone when and as often as people to defend their homes and Fahe wished. Many and many a time therland from thieves and murderers. Neighbor Hans has favored me with an Then in twenty-four hours there are no entire day at my farm, trying to get more Socialists, but all are Germans, into communication with his friends in Germans in the army, fighting a hated Agua Fria. On such occasions my only enemy. I tell you, war comes; it comes. possible occupation was the entertain. And it comes in not more than three ment of Neighbor Hans, and it was

years.' during these periods that I was regaled Well, it was the convenience of that with prophecies of the rapid approach telephone line to Agua Fria which at of 'the Day,' when England should be last brought Neighbor Hans to resume crushed.

'friendly relations' following our little ‘To the English people,' remarked difficulty. His demeanor toward me Neighbor Hans, 'we shall show no had undergone a complete transformamercy. It is for the English officers tion. He knocked at the door, entered only we have respect, for they are only upon my invitation, inquired if I gentlemen like the Germans.'

was busy and if he might use the teleThe crushing of England was an phone. I knew, however, that this conobsession with him, but sometimes he siderate attitude was but temporary, wandered further afield, and it was and merely because he had decided evident that this was but the first step that it was not in his interest to bring in a grander scheme. The calculating about an open breach at that time. brutality of the way he talked made Then ensued such a daily use of the me uncomfortable, and sometimes I telephone that my friends advised me felt half sick that an educated and ap- that it must cease or the privilege parently normal human being could would be withdrawn. When I finally harbor such thoughts and ambitions. mentioned this to Neighbor Hans, he At times I protested that the destruc- exclaimed, 'Ah, so, now I understand. tion of Great Britain would remove a Tell your friends I must talk with my great factor in human progress and the friends. If this is not longer permitted, spread of civilization, and he would re- I take it as an unfriendly act and know ply, 'It makes no difference what she what to do. They had better think it has done in the past, now she must be over. Better, perhaps, I see them mydestroyed.'

self and talk about it.' Once, when I argued that the intel- And so, in addition to a nuisance ligent German masses, especially the now become chronic, I could see anSocialists who were so strong in Ger- other crisis approaching. To avoid this many, would oppose a war so criminal, I deliberately neglected the line; but he laughed, and looking at me in a Neighbor Hans, ignoring the hint, bepitying way said, 'Old man, sometimes gan to complain of its condition, and I admire your innocence, but again commented sharply on my poor manyou are so simple. In the States I have agement. He even rode over the line, seen those big headlines of your yellow and was good enough to report to me press. We have that same type now where it required attention. Coming in already in every printing shop in Ger- from the fields one day, I found him many. When we declare war, we have sitting in my office with the instrument the

papers come out in big print like in pieces, overhauling the batteries in your American papers, telling of Ger- an endeavor to discover why the instru


ment did not work, as repeated ringing Neighbor Wilhelm's fault, any more had brought no response from Santa than it was the fault of Von Tirpitz Felicia. I did not find it necessary to that women and children sailed on the tell him that neither Santa Felicia nor Lusitania. It was unfortunate, it is any other station would answer again true, but certainly no fair-minded perthe old signals, still conspicuously post- son could find fault with Wilhelm beed beside the instrument.

cause a lady of considerable charm and Then happened the event for which attainments had married his enemy, I had so long waited. A violent storm

Hans. laid low nearly two miles of wire, which Well, to continue, I was returning I gathered in. The line became a thing from Agua Fria at the time, and as it of the past, and I went back to mounted turned out, I was the goat that was messengers, requiring at times three caught in the trap. In the depth of the days for a round trip to town. Neigh- jungle, where a steep-sided and deep bor Hans complained, cajoled, threat- arroyo could be crossed only by a narened, and in a final appeal went so far row bridge, some trees had been felled, as to offer to contribute ‘something' completely blocking the bridge. It was toward the restoration of the line; but fortunate that at that particular point on the plea of economy I steadfastly there happened to be no very large refused to consider its rehabilitation. trees susceptible of being used as a With the passage of time, he became barricade; but, as things were, in order reconciled to the situation, and this to avoid a five-hour détour, my horseissue was safely passed. Peace at any boy and I spent two hours with our price! Had I refused him the use of machetes cutting a passage for our the line, or had I removed the wire mounts. As for Hans, word reached without nature's aid, he would have him, and consequently he brought his considered it a casus belli.

family home by another route. About this time Neighbor Hans took A few days after this incident I coma trip to Agua Fria, accompanied by plained to Neighbor Wilhelm that it his titled German wife and boy. To did not seem fair, just to spite one indiavoid the Santa Felicia trail, rendered vidual, to close so important a trail almost impassable by heavy rains, he against his other neighbors. He anselected the longer but better San swered that his honor would not perIsidro road, a property presided over mit him to allow Neighbor Hans to by Neighbor Wilhelm. Now Neighbor come on his property, and if others Wilhelm and Neighbor Hans, though suffered in consequence, he was sorry, both were Germans, were not friends; but he could not help it. and when Wilhelm saw Hans and his This is a truthful history which I am party riding down his road, he waxed setting down; but if the reader should wroth and ordered the trail closed ever chance to be the welcome guest of against their return. Holding up a this most genial host, and have an woman and a small boy in a jungle opportunity to enjoy the conversation country, with hours of détour over of this experienced, traveled, and edudifficult and dangerous trails, and long cated man, he will say, 'It is impossible; distances between habitations, is not Herr Wilhelm never could do such a brave and gallant act; but then, when things. He is a gentleman. Either that two 'cultured' Germans are not on man Joubert is not telling the truth friendly terms, women and children or it is another Wilhelm that he has in have no right to go abroad. It was not mind.'

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