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must have a booklet of identity, issued the new law, but not a hint of the future by the police and duplicated in the pub- make-up of the legislative body. Weeks lic archives. This document is so essen- later the retiring congress met in their tial that, though I spent less than three new palace at the head of the Avenida de months in the country, I found it advan- Mayo, and laboriously fell to counting tageous to apply for one, for there is a the ballots collected from all over the simpler cédula de identidad for non-citi- republic, announcing the results piecezens. The
The temporary resident, and meal from day to day, and causing the even the citizen, may "get by" for a votes to be publicly burned in a corner time without this little volume, but the day is almost sure to come when he will regret its absence. Of two men whose public altercation chances to attract the attention of the police, the one who can produce his libreto is far less likely to be jailed than the one who cannot. The chauffeur who has an accident, the man who is overtaken by any of the countless mishaps which call his existence to the notice of the public authorities, is far better off if he has been legally registered. Moreover, the citizen can neither vote, apply to the government for any purpose, nor exercise any of his formal rights of citizenship without displaying his booklet. This contains the photograph, a brief biography, verified by other documents or testimony, the signature, and the thumb-print of the holder. The argentinos have carried the use of finger-prints further than perhaps any other nation. Even schoolchildren taking formal examinations must decorate their papers with a thumb-print as a protection against forgery. Both photograph and cédula are produced by a well-trained public staff in well-arranged public offices, in which the prints of all ten fingers of the This façade won the prize for the best building applicant are filed away under the num
erected in 1908 ber inscribed on his libreto, and where courteous attendants bring him into of the still unfinished grounds when the contact with the lavatory facilities count had been verified. which he requires before again display- The people of the Argentine, and paring his hands to a pulchritudinous pub- ticularly of Buenos Aires, have much the lic. In addition to the essentials con- same feeling toward the “madre patria” tained by all booklets, that of the as the average American toward Engcitizen has several extra pages on which land, forgiving, though perhaps still a may be inscribed from time to time his bit resentful of the past, now and then military and civic record.
aware of the common heritage, on the The argentino is in no such breathless whole a trifle disdainful. The Porteño haste to know the result of his elections never says he speaks Spanish, though his as is the American. The newspapers of tongue is as nearly that of Spain as ours the morning following an important is that of England; even in his schoolelection carried many columns of com- books he calls it the idioma nacional. ment on the aspect of the capital and the But the argentino is still largely Spanprincipal towns of the provinces under ish, whether he admits it or not; he is distinctly of the Latin race, for all the the races, along the shaded drives of influx of other blood. The types one Palermo of an afternoon, above all in sees in his streets are those same tem- the narrow Calle Florida a bit later in peramental Latin-Americans to be found the day, fashion may be seen preening from Mexico to Paraguay, a more glori- itself in frank self-admiration. In the fied type, perhaps, more in tune with the material sense the Calle Florida is great modern moving world, almost merely another of those inadequate wholly free from non-Caucasian mix- streets of the old town, four or five ture, larger and better nourished, and blocks back of the waterfront, and given with the ruddiness and vigor of the over to the most luxurious shopstemperate zone. But they have much
But they have much jewelers, modistes, tailleurs de luxe. But the same over-developed pride, the same Florida is more than a street; it is an dread of bemeaning themselves by any- institution. For at least a generation thing suggestive of manual labor. No it has been the unofficial gatheringPorteño of standing would dream of place of the élite, in so far as there can carrying his own valise from station to be any such in so large a city, taking the tramway; even the Americans sent down place in a way of the Sunday night to set up harvesting machinery on the promenade in the central plaza of great estancias cannot throw off their smaller Latin-American towns. But the coats and pitch in, lest they instantly day came when the narrow callejón sink to the caste of the peon in the eyes could no longer contain all those who of the latter as well as those of the ruling demanded admission to the daily parade class.
and mutual-admiration party, and the The prevailing attitude toward life, intendente solved the problem by closincluding as it does an exaggerated ing the street to vehicles during certain pride in personal appearance, gives hours of the late afternoon. There is Buenos Aires a plethora of labor-fearing still a procession on wheels from eleven fops whose main purpose in life seems to in the morning until noon, given over be to create the false impression that they particularly to débutantes ostensibly are the scions of aristocratic old families on shopping tours, although invariably of uncomputed wealth. Physical exer- flanked by long lines of gallants and tion, even for the sake of exercise, has would-be novios; but the principal daily little place in the scheme of life of these Corso is now made on foot, and admiring dandies, of the majority of youths even males may without offense or conspicuof the genuinely wealthy and patrician ousness pass near enough in the throng class. Of late certain influences have that fills the street m sidewalk to been working for improvement in this sidewalk and end to end to their particumatter, but are still hampered by the lar ideal to catch the scent of her favorawkwardness of inexperience as well as ite perfume. Nor does that require laggard costumbre. Out at Tigre, a clus- any undue proximity, for the most ter of islands and channels some miles circumspect ladies of Buenos Aires see up the bank of the Plata, young men of nothing amiss in making an appeal to the class that would pride themselves on the olfactory senses which in other lands a certain expertness in all sports in the would lead to unflattering conclusions. United States may be seen rowing about The gowns to be seen in such gatherwith the clumsiness and self-conscious- ings are said by authorities on the subness of old maids, their shirts bunched ject to be no farther behind Paris than up under their suspenders, their bodies the time of fast steamers between French plainly uncomfortable in the trousers ports and the Plata. To the bachelor inclined by the dictates of fashion, as more familiar with the backwoods they well as by the unwonted exertion, to seem to be as thoroughly up to the minclimb to the chest, the occasional young ute as their wearers are expert in exhaustwoman in the back seat sitting stiffly as ing every possibility of human adornthe model in a corset-shop window. ment. Unfortunately, many of the
The feminine sex of the same class ladies prove on close inspection to be not does not, of course, yield to the males in so beautiful as they are painted. Not the matter of personal adornment. At a few of them could readily pass as physically good looking, despite the soon discovered that the Porteño is not a bulky noses so frequent in “B.A.” as to particularly pleasant man with whom to be almost typical, were they satisfied to do business. To begin with, he is let nature's job alone. The most en
overwhelmed with a sense of his own trancing lady in the world would risk importance, of that of his city as the defeat by entering a beauty contest really greatest, or at least soon to be disguised as a porter in a flour-mill. greatest, city on the footstool, and seems There are, to be sure, ravishing visions constantly burdened with the dread of now and then in these Buenos Aires not succeeding in impressing those improcessions, but unpolished candor portances upon you. There is fully as forces the admission that what to us at great an air of concentrated self-suffileast is the refined and dainty type is ciency in Buenos Aires as in New York, conspicuous by its rarity in the South- a similar self-complacency, the same ern metropolis.
disdainfulness of anything or any one The gaudy ostentation of this nou- from the insignificant bit of backwoods veau-riche city of Latin-Iberian origin is outside the city limits, with a frank nowhere seen to better advantage than attitude of disbelief in the possibility of at the Recoleta, or principal local ceme- ever learning anything from those untery. It is a crowded cement city within couth fellow-men who have the misa stone wall, as much a promenade and fortune not to be Porteños, and with it show-ground as a last resting-place. all a provincialism scarcely to be equaled Men sit smoking and gossiping on the off the Island of Manhattan. tombs; women take in one another's Perhaps the most striking evidence gowns with critical eye as they turkey- of American influence I ran across is the walk along the narrow cement streets eagerness to "boost" population, as if between the innumerable family vaults. there were virtue in mere figures, even The tombs are built with the all too though those be false. The national evident purpose of showing that one's census was taken during my sojourn in dead are, or at least were in life, of more the republic, all on a single day, by the importance in the world than those of way, and the method of computing the one's neighbors. As in the case of the population was not one to cause it to houses of the living in Buenos Aires, shrink. Not only was every foreigner, the names of architect and builder are even those who happened to be spending cut in the stone or cement of the tombs, a few hours crossing the country, inmuch as a merchant forces customers to cluded, but orders were issued to count advertise his wares by wrapping their all argentinos living abroad, through the purchases in paper extolling the virtues consuls, and all persons of whatever of his shop; but there is no such definite nationality at that moment under the indication of the cost, which one is Argentine flag, whether on the high expected to gather from the outward
seas or on steamers far up the Paraná appearance of the sarcophagus. The and Uruguay rivers quite outside the boasted "artistic sense" of the Latins national jurisdiction. Then placards certainly does not guide the Porteño in were posted announcing to any person the disposal of his dead; Recoleta within the republic (evidently for months testifies rather to the paucity of a sense afterward) who had not been counted of humor in even the best of Latin- on June first that he must come to town Americans, unless we of the North are and present himself before the Census mistaken in supposing that it is pref- Commission-and no doubt wait in line erable not to parade one's sorrows and for days, to be finally insulted by a score demonstrate one's family importance of perfumed young government hangin this fashion.
ers-on and added to the already swollen In my daily rounds as "errand boy" I list of ciudadanos argentinos.
The Husband of Carmen Maria
By L. M. HUSSEY
N the prison Ismael Blanco On the day of the collapse Ismael
used to fill the void of the Blanco was acting as orderly to one of creeping hours with mem- Sierra's new governmental ministers. ories of his wife Carmen. All the morning the simple-minded or
He would think of every- derly watched his master with envy and thing he knew of her, of every act he had admiration. The Excellency was disshared with her; for in the prison he was inclined to work. Distantly the noise of dead, and the only life he could live was the battle entered the large room where the life he found in his recollections. he sat at his desk, but he heeded it less
They were the recollections of a man than the annoying buzz of great, vocifwho has lost something from his appre- erous fies that darted about his head. hension of reality; they had a measure of Ismael, seated in a corner of the room the quality of dreams. Thus, he did not with nothing to do, nursed a knee with mourn Carmen with the acute grief of a his large hands and watched the Excelrecent parting. He had not seen her for lency smoke many enormous cigars, as eight years. He had been in prison for if they were the sweet, vaporous fuel of nearly seven and saw no prospect of re- his languid life. He envied the Excellease. Political prisoners are not sen- lency his fine, educated aplomb, and tenced to a definite term of years in his even more than the virtues of his percountry. They stay in the jail until they sonality envied him the magnificent die of disease or some accident releases clothes that he wore like a god. them.
In the isolation of his former village Ismael was fortunate, if the preserva- life Ismael had never seen such clothes. tion of his life was a fortunate thing, to The black broadcloth coat with pendent be a political prisoner. In reality his tails fascinated him like a miracle of station was that of a common soldier, nature. He felt that, dressed in such a and he should have been shot; but at the garment, he would be another man, as if time the guards were stupid with alcohol, the coat could confer a new soul. and that saved him.
Even when the firing drew nearer the Seven years before he had fought with Excellency lost nothing of his poise. In Pío Sierra. That chief, in the moment of the end he went to the window and his temporary success, established his looked down into the street. He recapital in the Ciudad Bolivar, with a marked to Ismael, the orderly, that solsteamboat on the Orinoco that brought diers were running in the streets now him in his arms and supplies. Cuidad and that a small boy just had the misBolivar existed as the new capital for six fortune to be trampled under foot. months, and all the while Sierra talked The Excellency turned from the winwith high, sweet words of "the conquer- dow with a frown. He walked back to ing march of liberation and humanity" his desk, and from one of the drawers —that is, the march northward to the Ismael saw him remove a small bag that classic city of Caracas.
jingled with money. Without haste the A march was made in the end, but not great man adjusted his dress and put on by Sierra; it came to the south from the his hat. north,--the government forces,-and “You are to halt any one who at. the champion of "liberation and human- tempts entrance to this room, in the ity” fled in his steamboat to Trinidad. name of the Provisional Government,” Many of his followers were less fortu- he told the orderly. Then he went to the nate. Although most of the common window again. soldiery escaped, those made captive Ismael, standing in his corner, saw the
pane of glass break as if from the blow of
an invisible fist; the glass tinkled to the resignation was insufficient, and he floor; a curiously irresolute air came into questioned life, and felt emotionally, the Excellency's pose. It was almost as inarticulately, that life had been unjust if he had lost a bit of his substance, as if to him. his clothes had become suddenly too He recalled his forced service in the large for him. Then he tumbled back defeated army. He had known no need to the floor. There was a blot of car- for liberation, and humanity as a genermine widening out on his white shirt- alization was meaningless to his mind. front. He was quite dead.
They did not persuade him by the logic Ismael ran to the door, intending to of high ideals to engage upon the fated escape at once. Then, his hand on the enterprise of liberation and humanity; knob, he looked back. His eyes glistened they took him without argument, as a with a swift, fascinating idea. A long- beast is taken in traps. ing about to be fulfilled shone like the He was pounding up dried corn belight of revelation in his face.
tween a small and large stone when the turned to the still body of the dead man, soldiers appeared, coming up like pirates rolled him over on his back, and, labor- from the river. A ragged lieutenant ing quickly, stripped off the magnificent looked at him, nodded his head in satiscoat. He slipped it on at once, over his faction, and half a dozen unceremotorn, cotton jacket. It made him gro- nious fellows, persuaded previously by tesque, like an outrageous scarecrow, but the same method and finding a perverted he was proud and happy. How Carmen justice in the business, poked their would hug him when she saw him in dirty guns into his flesh and ordered him such a coat!
to move along. Without that delay occasioned by his As they forced him down to the river vanity the young soldier might have his Carmen Maria ran screaming back made his escape.
As it happened, he of them, her long, black hair waving bewas struck down as he left the house, hind her like the pennant of a desperate and when his consciousness returned, he hope. Then when, looking back with a found himself herded in a room in the dumb glance he saw her last, she had same building with several dozen other stopped, and stood up on the top of the captives. Out in the hall he could hear little hill, motionless, sculpturesque, her their guards walking up and down. cotton dress, in disarray, falling half
The established Government acted, it down from her dark shoulder, and dropwas thought, with magnanimity and ping into limp folds about her body, like humanity; they did not order a whole- a symbol of her resigned despair. sale execution. Officials, politicos, were It was not in this picture that Ismael spared for prison, only the common found it best to think of her during the soldiers were shot.
years when his old reality was superThose in charge of the executions were seded by the prison death. He thought instructed to sift out the captives care- of her in joyous moments; he thought of fully. But the guards were celebrating her sturdy kisses and the embraces of the victory by drinking up all the abom- her plump, strong arms. She was the inable aguardiente their money would sort of woman he could truly admire, buy. When the time came for choosing, because he admitted her cleverness, the guards of Ismael's party were hilar- which was greater than his own, and ious and care-free. They saw Ismael in knew that she was strong, like something the magnificent, the splendid coat. He wild and quick from the forest. He knew was, obviously, no common soldier. he had been envied in his possession of Before evening of the next day he was her. in a cell with the politicos.
Sitting in his cell, he would think of At first he was glad to escape with his his luck in getting her, the fortunate fellife, for he was young, and the tenacity low he had been; and then the face of his of life was an instinct. But the relief he self-congratulation would change, as if found in salvation was quickly replaced by a malign, inevitable magic, into the by a dull hopelessness. For the first wonder and deep surprise of his separatime in his life his natural capacity for tion. His simple faiths could not cope