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FOREIGN TRADE AND OUR MEXICAN POLICY
brutal, and, to our ideas, unendurably insolent. But, strange to say, not only has such a policy made loans of this nature safe; it has actually cemented friendship between those countries and Europe, such as they do not feel toward the United States, with its fastidious avoidance of such displays of power.
The reasons for this are not far to
seek. Confident of the backing of their home governments, the merchants and bankers of Europe have been able to deal in an open and just manner with the individual traders and debtors of the most distant and unsettled regions. The citizen of the United States, on the other hand, having no security based on the attitude of his government toward his business relations with the citizens of foreign countries, has been compelled to look out for his own safety, by exacting harsher securities, and not unfrequently by sharp practice? Yankee business men are thus compelled to take on a reproach which they do not merit, through the indifference of their government to their rightful interests.
The attitude of the present administration toward the vast sums of American capital invested in Mexico is a case very much to the point. Such investments were anxiously sought by the people of Mexico. Our business men are led to invest their wealth in Mexico by the strongest representations and most urgent invitations of the Mexican government. Bounties, special privileges, inducements of every nature were made to American business men to carry their enterprise and their wealth into that country. Today, when this property is being wantonly destroyed, confiscated, taxed, stolen, by insolent brigands, and those Americans who seek to defend their all, are being imprisoned, mal-treated, and not infrequently slain, the only answer of our government is, "We warn you to leave Mexico, because of the unsettled state of the country." If American sentiment will allow an
administration to wash its hands in this easy manner of one of the most sacred responsibilities of government, history will not so easily absolve us. The stain of blood will not be so easily washed from hands that have so neglected a manifest obligation.
The mere fact that it is troublesome to look out for our citizens in this distress, or that it complicates diplomatic situations, or interferes with some pet scheme, or chosen procedure, of the administration, is not an excuse.
It is no kindness to Mexico. It does not win for us their friendship. Not even at the time of the Mexican war, was the appelative "Goingo" so expressive of hatred and contempt as it is today, and that hatred has increased a hundred fold during the years of forebearance of the present administration in Washington. In order to live up to an academic notion of high statesmanship, the administration has been false to its obligations toward its own citizens in Mexico.
The president's policy toward Mexico has been near-great. It has many of the fundamental qualities of the highest and most constructive statesmanship. But it has fallen short of its own high aim by just the margin that spells error. The exact point at which the administration has failed in its attitude toward Mexico, is that indicated above-it has failed in that which was its prime concernthe proper care of its own citizens. Omitting this, the remainder of its conduct, however high interlined, has borne to the Mexican people an appearance of meddlesomeness. the same time that the respect of the violent elements of the country has been lost by the weakness of the United States in the defence of its citizens, the more orderly elements have been offered by a policy which, not based on that sound international foundation, has appeared to them to be captious and over-bearing.
Our business is looking longingly toward foreign commerce, and wonders at the difficulties that oppose
it, but there is little cause of wonder. Not until one government takes a stronger and broader attitude, can our citizens, as individuals, do business with foreign countries of un
settled governments, with becoming straight forwardness and generosity, and at the same time with security. The mistake of Mexico may have farreaching results.
The Romantic Adventures of an Enthusiastic Young Pessimist
By ROWLAND THOMAS
CHAPTER XIII-Continued I found myself looking down a yellowy-pinkish-gray-white
set round with rows of yellow teeth.
I had no liking for firing that rifle broadside to that ticklish canoe. But once more that was all I could do. So I aimed hurriedly at the back of the King's tongue and fired.
He stopped short in his rush, and the canoe tilted away from him, while I sat motionless and watched and thought. One can think much and see a great deal while a canoe is tipping over.
The King quivered convulsively, and his great tail rose, glittering with water-drops, and swept toward the canoe swift as a sword-blade. I wondered if the tilting craft would turn over before the tail reached it. I I thought about the tired man. thought, for some reason or other, of Pepita. I even wondered if Mateo Besa was present somewhere, at a sufficient distance, and if he quite appreciated the honor of looking on. The only thing I did not think of I just sat was rolling overboard. with the rifle in my hands and watched.
In the fraction of a second the water was roaring in my ears and I was kicking desperately to come to the surface.
something said to me. "It will take—” At that I let the rifle go and rose gasping. When I had shaken the water from my eyes, I saw some I pieces of the canoe floating near. swam to a large one and floated with it.
The King was going down the river very quietly, with his white belly gleaming in the sun and his four misshapen feet pointing stiffly up to the sky. That stroke of the tail which had splintered the overturned canoe had been his death flurry.
Then I saw Pedro, clinging precariously to another bit of the canoe. "Ho! Ho!" he shouted. "The King is dead. It is a very strong boom-boom. Ho! Ho!" He looked at me. "I'm sorry he smashed that good canoe," said he. "And where is the boom-boom?"
"The boom-boom," said I, "made itself go away. I hope it is never coming back. Shout for a canoe, There may be other caymans in this river."
We drifted down opposite Felicidad, and a man put out with a banca and took us ashore. A crowd was waiting at the landing, ready with vociferous admiration. All the Pillars of Happiness were trying to grasp my hands and pat me on the back at "If you could only have seen yourself!" Mateo Besa cried regretfully.
once. But something heavy
dragged me down and down.
"It will take you to many places where you'll wish you hadn't gone,"
But I was sick of the spectacular.
I turned to Don Feliciano, who was standing quietly behind the crowd. "There is no fool quite like a young one," I told him.
His eyes twinkled on me, but there was something in them not amusement. I could not make it out. “Will you come home?" he asked. "Home?" said I.
"That," said he, "is what we think you should call it now.”
And as we turned, a hush fell on the excitement of the crowd. We passed out through a little lane they opened, somewhat, I have fancied since, as some new-made Roman citizen may have passed out between the groups of watchers in the Forum, at his sponsor's side.
Let him laugh who will; some such thing as that may after all have been implied in the little, unpremeditated ceremony. I know only two things about it all. I had entirely forgotten my intention of shaking the dust of Felicidad from my feet. And I had never felt so shrinkingly modest in all my life before.
I only wanted to get somewhere out of sight.
O strong a hold had that creditable emotion, I mean modesty, taken on me, that after dinner that night-several of the Pillars of Happiness were present with their women-folk, making the occasion festal-after dinner, when the company began to speak of the heroic way in which I had destroyed the King, I felt almost uncomfortable.
with my cigar, and out on the river-
"They make so much fuss about it," 1 complained. "It was a piece of the sheerest bravado. I was for all the world a very small boy showing off for the benefit of a lot of other children. As for shooting the King, it was nothing at all, of course. It's no great exploit to blow a defenseless cayman to pieces with explosive bullets. I rather doubt the sportsmanship of taking it out of him just because a girl was-girlish. He had no chance at all."
The realistic manner in which Besa recreated the scene at which he had been present distantly; the speechless admiration in bright eyes of numerous 'goddaughters; a certain quiet interest with which Don Feliciano sat and looked at me; all these confused me. As soon as occasion offered I went down-stairs
"Didn't he!" said I. Didn't he? That's easy to say now, but any one who'd been in the canoe when that tail of his-"
"After all," said I to myself, "this is a question of fact and not of silly modesty. I said it took no courage, and yet I'd wager that disinterested people, like Besa or Pepita of the Saints-"
At that moment, as if I had evoked her, a girl came up through the dimness with light steps. She caught my hand. "Oh!" she cried. "I am I was so so glad you are safe. afraid."
I warmed to the appreciation. "You see," said I, over my shoulder, "this girl was afraid without being in a canoe at all. So," I said to the girl, "you were afraid for me?"
"Yes," she said. "I was afraid. And so I prayed that you might not be hurt."
"For how long?" I demanded quickly.
"Ten minutes," said she.
"That is really a long time." said I, with a remembrance of having heard the phrase before.
"Yes, it is a long time," she said. "One's knees tire themselves. And I prayed very fast, too. And now you are safe, and I am so glad. So very, very glad."
She stooped, a graceful shadow of a girl under the dim light of the
stairs. Something soft and touched my hand, just as it had once, on a day I had not wholly forgotten. And once again, just as on that former occasion, a tingling thrill went through me.
"I can't be dreaming now," I muttered, looking at the sky and listening to the river. "I surely am awake, and this girl is strangely like Come," I said masterfully, and I drew the girl into the hollow of my arm till she was close to me. Then I puffed up my cigar.
It was not a particularly romantic thing to do just then. But, like most unromantic things, it served a purpose. It created a glowing circle of light in the darkness. And that revealed a face.
It was all aglow with something more than light. The soft eyes were mistily bright, and the soft bow of a mouth was all aquiver. But as I looked down, the eyes were hidden under their long lashes. The girl struggled a little in the hollow of my arm.
"Let me go now," she whispered. "Why," I said, "I believe I know you. Yet how can I be sure? I thought there was only one girl in the world-in the wide world," said I, holding her fast, "who would be afraid for me, afraid enough to pray for my safety. That is a dear little friend of mine who came to see me once when I was hurt. I have never seen her since. Her name was Pepita of the Saints, and if she had been just a little prettier, she'd have looked like you. Do you know that girl?"
"But I," cried the girl, "am Pepita myself, Senor!"
"Really?" said I. "No," said I, "I'm sure you can't be Pepita of the Saints. She doesn't call me 'Senor.'"
"Don D-jon," the girl lisped shyly. "That's it," I cried. "You must be Pepita of the Saints, after all. You look just like her, and you talk like her. Are you?"
She nodded, laughing a little nervously.
"Then the puzzle is solved," I said. "There's just one Pepita, after all. And she's not an elf-girl, as I feared, only visible for once, but a flesh-and-blood person who lives in the same world with me. To think,” said I, "that you are really that same Pepita of the Saints who came to see me when I was hurt, and was so sorry for my poor ankle that sheWhy do you tremble? Are you afraid?"
"I am never afraid of anything," said the girl, with a flash of defiance.
"I am very glad, indeed," said I, "to discover that you are not just an elf-girl. Now I shall hope to see you sometimes when I'm awake. You will be down here in the mornings, won't you, like a bit of the morning yourself? And the first thing I see to start my days with will be- What are you afraid of? I hope you don't think I would hurt you?"
"I know you wouldn't," she said. simply. "I don't think I'm afraid. I'm just so happy that I can't keep still."
"Happy as that just because I'm safe?" said I, laughing at her. But I had the grace to be ashamed of myself. Here was this girl whose very existence I had many times forgotten-yes, I'm afraid I had-and my mere safety made her so happy that she trembled. I felt properly ashamed of myself at that.
But I carried it off. "That's not very much to be so happy about," I said. "I'm safe more often than not."
"But the cayman might have killed you," said the girl, and shivered. again to think of it.
"Now I really believe you are my friend," said I, sobering. "Though if you are as unkind as you have been sometimes, and never let me see you, and leave me to worry about your health-"
"But I think of you always," she said earnestly. Suddenly she yield