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|Strictly Business||O Henry|
II. The Gold That Glittered
|Page 5 of 6||
The Secretary struck a bell, and an orderly with the letters A. D. T. on his cap stepped promptly into the room.
"Bring me Schedule B of the small arms inventory," said the Secretary.
The orderly quickly returned with a printed paper. The Secretary studied it closely.
"I find," he said, "that in Warehouse 9, of Government stores, there is shipment of 2,000 stands of Winchester rifles that were ordered by the Sultan of Morocco, who forgot to send the cash with his order. Our rule is that legal-tender must be paid down at the time of purchase. My dear Kelley, your friend, General Falcon, shall have this lot of arms, if he desires it, at the manufacturer's price. And you will forgive me, I am sure, if I curtail our interview. I am expecting the Japanese Minister and Charles Murphy every moment!"
As one result of this interview, the General was deeply grateful to his esteemed friend, Mr. Kelley. As another, the nimble Secretary of War was extremely busy during the next two days buying empty rifle cases and filling them with bricks, which were then stored in a warehouse rented for that purpose. As still another, when the General returned to the Hotel Espa~nol, Mrs. O'Brien went up to him, plucked a thread from his lapel, and said:
"Say, se~nor, I don't want to 'butt in,' but what does that monkey-faced, cat-eyed, rubber-necked tin horn tough want with you?"
"Sangre de mi vida!" exclaimed the General. "Impossible it is that you speak of my good friend, Se~nor 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 Espa~nol 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, se~nor," 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 Espa~nol. 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."
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