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Dictated to No. 1 S.
pages of flowery language what I can per-
Chirological College of California,
Muy señor mío:
With great pleasure we send you a pamphlet on "Secret Force," because we know that it contains information which will be of vast importance to you as a means of being able to obtain that secret knowledge of the human character and of personal influence permitting you in a moment to know and understand the life of all other persons, to know their desires and their intentions, their habits and deficiencies, their plans, and all that can be prejudicial to you. Following our system, you can read the character of persons as an open book; if you possess the system "Natajara," there will be no one who can deceive you; by means of it you can know beforehand in all circumstances all that others intend to do, and direct them to your own entire satisfaction. By means of the system "Natajara" you can know exactly how much progress, how much health, how much love, and how much happiness the future has reserved for you, and if it does not reserve for you as much as you desire, you can make it change its course to come out in accordance with your ambitions.
offer that we make, and if you wish to have the privilege of being the first in your locality to possess these great secrets, you ought to send this very day.
Without further particulars, etc., I take great pleasure in signing myself Your grateful and affectionate servant, [signed] A. VICTOR SEGNO, President per Sec.
Never, either in the present century or in those past, has there been given a more potent knowledge to the world. It teaches precisely how and when to use the magic force by means of which one obtains the realization of all desires; it places those who possess it in a sphere superior to that of the generality of humanity, makes them masters of destiny. . . . I do not dare tell you all the advantages you can have with this knowledge, but I assure you it is what you need that your life convert itself into a true success. I beg you to read letter by letter all the "Secret Force" says and to send for the system "Natajara." There is nothing so powerful as this system, nothing that equals it. Remember that the sending to you of the system for a mere $6 is only a special
There was no doubt that Santiago had followed the injunction to read the accompanying pamphlet letter by letter. Thanks to his Colombian schooling, that was the only way he could read it. But how was he to send the "mere $6" to "Inspiration Point" without his fellow-townsmen knowing it and perhaps forestalling his anxious desire to be the first in his locality to possess the powerful secret? There is no postal-order system between Colombia and the United States. He dared not send the cash, well knowing that it would not get beyond the local post-office, even if so large an amount in Nariño silver could be made up into a package the post would carry. So he had hidden the letter away and had patiently lain in wait for every rare foreigner that drifted into San Pablo.
While we read the letter he sat on one of our beds, to wit, a wooden bench, nervously fingering the toes of his never-shod feet. When we had finished he begged us to find some way of sending the money, and implored us, on our hopes of eternity, not to whisper a word of the secret to his fellow-townsmen. We promised to think the matter over as he rose to go.
"When are you going to open the shop this morning?" asked Hays.
"Oh, I shall not trouble to open today," said the barber in a sad and weary voice, and wandered away with the air of a man who sees no need of common toil when he is on the point of becoming the dictator of fate in all his locality.
We hatched a scheme against his return. If we fancied he might perhaps forget the matter, we were deceived. Nothing else seemed to be weighing on his
mind when he turned up again in the evening, dejected and worried. To have tried to explain the truth to him would. have been merely to convince him that we were agents of some rival house or of
some enemy, sent down here purposely to ruin his chances of imposing his will upon San Pablo. There was nothing left but to trot out the scheme.
sonal check against it for six dollars, and you can mail it to the Chirological College."
A religious procession
"If you feel you must have this system," I began, "I'll tell you what I'll do. I have some money in a bank in the Estados Unidos, and I will give you a per
"Mágnífico!" cried the barber, instantly transformed from the depths of
gloom to the loftiest summits of glee. "A thousand thanks. And that will be six hundred dollars in billetes of Colombia. I will get it at once-"
"It will be simpler," I said, "to wait until you hear the check has arrived, and then send it to me. Naturally I am running no risk in trusting the most import
ant character of San Pablo, and, anyway, it would only be in payment for our lodgings."
The Colombian never needs much urging to accept a favor, and his formal protests soon died away. I sat down to write out the check:
The Fake Bank, 920 110th Street, New York, U. S. A.
Pay to the order of the Chirological College of Los Angeles, Cal., the sum of six dollars ($6).
The barber carefully folded the valuable document, and hid it away in his garments, promising to send it at the very
first opportunity, in a plain envelop, unregistered.
"For," he explained, confiding to us a nation-wide secret, "the post-office officials always steal any letter they think has anything valuable in it, and to register it makes them sure it has."
The treatment was cruel, perhaps, but we could think of no better. No doubt Santiago waited many anxious months for the arrival of the system, but certainly no longer than he would have waited had he managed to send real money. Meanwhile, as the enthusiasm of a Latin-American shrinks rapidly, it may be that he grew resigned to his failure to become the secret ruler of San Pablo, and took up again the shaving of its faces and the cutting of its coarse, black hair.
T was nearly twelve o'clock by the sergeant's watch;
The moon was three hours high.
The long grass growing on the parapet
Of the rifles in the rifle-rack.
And an answering call come back.
We were standing in the corner by the Maxim gun,
As he gripped my arm, "Did you hear it?"
I could only nod my head.
Looking down the length of the moonlit trench,
I saw the sleeping men
Huddled on the floor; but no one stirred.
A second time it came, still dim and strange,
I would n't have believed such a ghostly cry
The sentries standing to the right and left
They stood like stone. Can it be, I thought,
Then closer at hand, "Halloo-o-o! Halloo-0-0!"
"Quick!" said the sergeant as he pulled me down