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Up the Forked River
Or, Adventures in South America

written by "Ellis, Edward Sylvester, 1840-1916"
... silence followed, and then Major Starland said in an even voice: “I have learned of some of the insults received from General Yozarro, Dictator of the Republic to the west, but I am not clear as to the last outrage: may I be enlightened?” He looked invitingly at Captain Guzman, who silently puffed for a minute or so before speaking: “A month ago, the single boat which constitutes the navy of President Yozarro was engaged in target practice; one of the shots passed over the boundary and struck the dwelling of a citizen of Zalapata, smashing in a side-wall and scaring the family to that extent that they are still a-tremble. Complaint was made to President Yozarro, who treated the complainant with contempt. Then appeal was had to President Bambos, who despatched a messenger to Yozarro, demanding damages and an apology, and the salutation of our flag. What answer did the tyrant send? He kicked the messenger down the steps of his palace, bidding him to tell our [Pg 37]revered President that if he or anyone else came to him on a similar errand, he would ram him down the throat of one of his cannon and fire at the palace of General Bambos.” “But that threat is idle,” gravely remarked Major Starland. “Why?” demanded President Bambos. “Neither he nor you have any ordnance big enough to allow a man to serve as a charge for it.” “A quibble!” commented the Captain; “it does not lessen the deadly nature of the insult.” “What is the amount of the claim?” General Bambos nodded to the Captain to answer. “Forty-two pesos.” “Ah-um!” mused the American, who picked up a pencil from the table and made a few figures on a blotting pad; “the present value of a peso is twenty-eight cents. That would make the total damage eleven dollars and seventy-six cents in the currency of my country. Does President Yozarro re...

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