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reales the ganta, they would be cheap. But those beans are not for sale.'
"E-lev-en re-al-es! Lab-ing-gg-g i-saa-a-aa!" Away! Away! To buy them at nine reales would be philanthropy.
"Nine re-al-es!" Jose can hardly speak. But still he manages to make his meaning fairly clear. That last remark, in his opinion, is the unwashen joke of people who like to pretend to buy when they don't mean to. Fortunately there is a corner set apart in Hell for the makers of such jokes, even if they have paid for a complete funeral, bells and all. All the bells in all the belfries in Christendom will not scare away the waiting devils—
Pedro urges me to leave the spot where my ears are so insulted. We will call the police. It is Jose who shall be cut into pieces by the waiting devils, very little pieces, pedacitacillos.
Jose explains that he was not speaking of the most-highly-to-behonored gentleman who had boomboomed the King. He spoke solely to a bristly pig of a muchacho and a moulting, silent parrot of a cook who had insulted him. Jose respects. and loves Don Djon so highly that, much as he desires to keep those peerless beans as an heirloom for his children, he will give them to me for ten reales and six cuartos the ganta.
Pedro explains in turn that I will not defile my fingers by touching the beans at any such price as that. The most I will give is nine reales. and four cuartos.
So, by the process of mutual concessions, we buy the chocolate at last at the established price, ten reales and go home triumphant with Jose's fervent, "God guard you, Senor, and may all your children be sons," ringing in our ears.
When chocolate is bought, it must be roasted. The operation requires
the attention of Milicio, and Madame Milicio, and Milicio's widowed daughter-in-law, and even and even Pedro himself, to rake the coals out as they die, and turn the beans above them, and take each one off at the precise moment it is ready, and keep Milicio's infant grandson from eating them red-hot. And then Madame and the rather pretty widow perform a rite with the roasted beans and a slab of stone and a stone roller. Pedro proves quite helpful when the roller moves too grudgingly for the widow's hands, and so at last there is store of fat little brown balls, each one sufficient for the morning draught when it is dropped into the chocolatera with water and a slab of caramelo.
Such is the veritable chocolate of Happiness. My condolences to those who have never tasted it and never will.
And so, that day, while I was still tingling with the horse-boy's brother's vigorous sluicing, I went out to the kitchen perched high on its stilty legs. The fire was very red there in the black morning shadows. "Mi chocolate, Milicio?" I asked. "Es listo?"
The speechless cook, overcome with honor, bowed to the floor, and Pedro, interpreting for him, told me: "Si, amo, todo listo."
Then the old cook recovered himself and peered wisely into the tall, small-necked, iron pot, and just in time seized the waiting toddy-stick, inserted it and whirled it furiously between his palms. The trick was done. There was the chocolate steaming hot, with the froth towering above it, all ready for me to sip as I sat in the big, cool sala, looking out through the open windows.
All Felicidad was flying the Blue Peter, outward-bound to its daily occupation by sea and shore. The sight of the people and the animals thronging unhurriedly through the streets set me to thinking.
"Pedro," I called over my shoul- jar of China-ware and his lips, till
"And for the life of me I can't remember what it was."
"Well," said I, finishing my chocolate, "I dare say I shall remember it. Meantime I'll go over to Besa's for an hour. There is a game we did not finish yesterday." "Yes, Master," said Pedro, reaching me my hat.
So presently I found myself in the cool depths of Mateo's go-down, one of the circle of Pillars of Happiness. After that Don Francisco took me home with him for breakfast. Then came the siesta and the evening gathering, and before I knew it night had fallen and another day was done. "And it has been a full one," I thought. "But there was something I promised myself to do today-"
Were they not all full days? Occupation was easily provided in that languorous air, one needed so little of it to be satisfied.
Sometimes it meant a ride among those ever-changing fields of cane, and breakfast at noonday in a friendly ranch-house. Sometimes it meant quiet hours in the sunny, sleepy garden, while I supervised the men who dug and pruned among the shrubbery. Sometimes it meant a visit to the go-down where Mateo sat, with a jar of preserved ginger ready to his hand, deep in his everlasting chess. If a man would play long and without impatience, Besa cared not whom he was beating.
For he always won and never hurried. The first game I played with him he had me in twelve moves. But it took him a forenoon to make them. Hour after hour he would sit absorbed, his hand moving mechanically between the gaudy
at last he could announce: "You are mated in two more moves. Try some of my ginger. It is good. I do not sell it, but I import it for myself only. It comes from China, and it costs ninety-six reales the ganta. Have some. Why, I have eaten it all up. But I will open a fresh jar. I want you to see how good it is."
Once-Don Francisco the Patriarch loved to tell the story of itBesa played a game which lasted for two days and a night. When he mated there were four empty jars beside him and a rebellion in his outraged stomach. After that the Senora Besa limited his indulgence in his passions to one daylight and one jar of ginger at a sitting.
It was all very uneventful. Yet the forenoons would wear away unnoticed till breakfast-time was come. And with that the serious part of the day was over. The long torpor of the siesta filled the afternoon, and no one stirred abroad again till the playtime hour had come.
I know that I have spoken of it very often; how a cool breeze comes in from sea or down from the mountain at sunset, and how in every embowered house a fire glows among the shadows of the greenery. How through all the village floats the sweet sharp odor of woodsmoke, and the sound of guitars touched lightly, and the measured beat of pestles on rice-stalks, as housewives pound out grain for the evening meal. How young men and girls gather about the wells, and the water tinkles there, and how the gossips cluster in knots before the little shops.
I have spoken of it very often, but I would speak of it still oftener, if by that means I could hope to bring to this page a little of the hush and coolness and pleasure of the day's end in Felicidad.
That was the hour when the grave
village council met. Mostly we went for a walk, we reverend ones, Don Francisco and Don Rafael, the two Augustos, Padre Isidro and Mateo, Don Feliciano and myself.
Two by two in solemn procession we paced along the firm sand of the beach, discussing all matters in heaven and earth while we kept an eye open for the antics of the canoes that came sliding, at all sorts of perilous angles, over the tumbling wall of surf at the harbor-mouth, and for the women knee-deep in the wash at their gleaning of the sea, and for all the homely, near-by things. Far across the sea, half a hundred miles away, rose the cone of a solitary island, the Pan d'Azucar, a dead volcano gilded in the
Close by the beach was the scant half-acre where all Felicidad must come sometime and lie down to be covered by the drifting coral sand. Every the monsoon moaned softly over it, and in the dusky hours of night and morning one glimpsed gaunt dogs lurking there, dogs who had no homes in the village.
The fringe of the evening glory touched a skull and turned its dullness to a gleam of purest white, and there seemed nothing very unnatural about it, after all. But portly Mateo glanced about and crossed himself furtively, when he thought no one was looking. "Come,' he urged. "It is time to go back. The tuba will be in."
lightful to the eye, delicious on the lips, comfortable in the heart, thee I will sing till throats of all the votaries burn with desire and grow parched with hope deferred. O tuba!
I sing thee, too, O whimpering carabao, that from the distant grove, midst gathering shades, dost drag thy creaking sledge, heavy with liquid-plashing load in earthen pot of Brobdingnagian girth. All humble and mud-colored as thou art, inglorious beast, thou hast thy little hour then. Men wait upon thy shambling tread entranced, and mark thy heavy progress with acclaim. O Carabao!
I sing thee, too, old Juan. Oldest of Juans that ever was, and prince of all tuberos, who with prehensile toes dost nimbly scale, for all thy fore-score years, the notched trunks, and stroll the teetering bamboo spans with lofty unconcern. other hand like thine to slit the swellisg buds and lash deep-hollowed tubes beneath, to sprinkle the red bark and make men fuddled yet athirst for more. Old Juan!
But my throat is getting dry with all this singing. Tuba has attractions all its own, and Felicidad possessed a master in its preparation. Old Juan, he was called affectionately, and all men swore by him, even to Father Isidro's self.
Don Francisco told with great glee he had half a dozen stories he loved, old Don Francisco of an evening when the council was stirred quite out of its dignified placidity. They were gathered in front of the cafe, the sunset was far gone, and still the tuba did not come. Instead a man came running from the grove with terrible news. bamboo bridge in the tree-tops, he said, had broken down, and old Juan and young Juan his son had fallen with it and had both been killed.
Men looked at each other and sighed deeply. "We shall never,"
said Mateo Besa, "find another whose tuba will be like old Juan's." They looked at each other and sighed again, and turned sadly to go to their homes.
And then another man came running.
"Ai! Ai!" he shouted. "It's all right. It is not old Juan who is dead. His son is dead, they think, but old Juan only broke his arm.' And the irrepressible Patriarch insisted that the first who spoke then was Padre Isidro, and that his words, priest of the Church as he was, were: "Thanks be to God for that." And Padre Isidro rejoined that it is only natural, priest or layman, to be glad that only one is killed when two might have been.
Over his tuba Father Isidro became almost human sometimes, though a word from me would always harden him again. Yet he was well-liked by all his flock, and I came at last to understand that his dislike of me was nothing personal. His Churchmanship was of so militant a type that all who were not with him were against him, and he would make no pretense of friend. liness with his foes. I respected him for that good sportsmanship.
Before we had quite drunk up the spicy palm-wine and said our say, the brief twilight would be over. Then it was time for the simple festivities of dinner, and afterward the music and dancing in some hospitable house, which closed the day.
But one other picture of that time rises clearer still before me. It is It is very late, and in the sala of the House of Forgetfulness I am smoking a last cigarette alone, while the guttering candles cast wavering shadows into the far corners of the
Outside the windows the black wall of the night stands. The air is heavy with the scent of flowers, damas de noche, those shy, white blossoms of the night, and the elusive fragrance of moist earth. From
somewhere down in the town comes the sound of strings touched lightly, and the echo of a plaintive song. Even in Felicidad maids are coy and must be wooed to accept their heart's desire, while there, as everywhere, men are impatient and grasp for it boldly.
But one must not linger too long. The night conceals things it is better not to know. There comes a rush of beating wings and a halfsmothered cry. When that cry is heard, they say, the little green parrots shrink back further among the palm-leaves, and the monkeys clustered in the forest draw their furry ball yet closer. Even the great foxbat ceases his swooping flight and glides silently to cover.
"Master," says Pedro, coming in, "I will close the windows now.' "What was that sound?" I ask.
Pedro's lips are tight, and his butlerial dignity is gone. He answers me gravely: "Who knows? Some say it is the cry of a lost soul. Quien sabe? But it is not good to hear."
So Pedro would swing the shutters to and bolt them, and spread out his grass mats before the barred door of the hall, and mutter a prayer, and lie down there to sleep with his bolo beside him, no longer an administrator, but a tired, faithful servant.
And soon I would follow his example and turn to my bedroom, pleasing myself by fancying that for one more day I had paid my rent, finding the world all wonderful and beautiful, and all its creatures friendly, and knowing that tomorrow would be but one more today.
So I turned to bed the night of that day and was all but asleep. Then I sat up again. "Upon my word," I said, "I am a godfather! That's what I've been forgetting all this while."
"But after all," said I, "there will be time enough tomorrow(To be continued)
DOGS THE FARM SHEEP'S WORST
If the Menace Were Removed American Flocks Could
The number of sheep in the 36 farm States, which do not include any in the Western Division, could be increased by 150 per cent., it is estimated, without displacing other live stock. Some authorities believe that the increase could be even as much as 50 per cent. without serious interference with the number of other animals. An increase of 150 per cent. in these 36 States would mean in money, $144,267,000. In a new publication of the Department of Agriculture, Farmers' Bulletin 652, the responsibility for this loss to the country is laid upon the sheep-killing dog.
Sheep-killing dogs, it is said, are the principal cause of the marked decrease in the numbers of sheep on American farms. In the 10 years between 1900 and 1910 the number of sheep in the country, exclusive of the States in the Western Division, decreased 3,000,000 head, in face of the fact that during these same years the market value of sheep rose so rapidly that the total value of sheep in this area was $19,000,000, or approximately 25 per cent. more in 1910 than in 1900. Favorable though the market conditions were, they were not a sufficient incentive to induce farmers to risk the heavy losses from stray dogs.
The number of sheep killed annually by dogs cannot be stated exactly since there are many cases which are not reported at all. Judging from the figures in those counties and States in which reasonably complete reports are obtainable, however, it may be said that in the 36 farm States more than 100,000 sheep are killed each year by dogs. This, it is true, is less than I per cent. of the total number of sheep in this area, but a I per cent.
loss on a business that is being conducted on a profit basis of 5 or 6 per cent. cannot be ignored. This estimate, it must be remembered, is also probably much lower than the actual figures. It is certain too that many men have been kept out of the sheep business through fear that in their own particular cases the loss would be much more than I per cent. Any one who has actually seen sheep killed, injured, or frightened by dogs is likely to think twice before engaging in the business. In many cases while only I or 2 sheep may be actually bitten by the dogs, the whole flock is chased until it dies from exhaustion.
If the dog question could be satisfactorily disposed of there seems to be no reason why the number of sheep in the country could not be increased to the extent already indicated. In Great Britain there is I sheep or lamb for each 2.5 acres of the total area. In the 36 farm States in this country there is I sheep or lamb for each 31.8 acres. The British farmer handles his land on an intensive basis and feeds his sheep on foraage-crop pastures. Such pastures not only increase the fertility of the land but also free the sheep from many internal parasites contracted through grazing upon permanent pastures. In particular the use of a succession of forage-crop pastures will prevent stomach worms, one of the most prevalent and disastrous scourges of young stock, and will enable the farmer to market by the end of June or the first of July, when market prices are usually the highest, the lambs that were born in the late winter or early spring. Handled under such conditions and on