WE ENTERTAIN A JAIL-BIRD
him were two slovenly looking functionaries, one of whom carried a note-book. The young fellow eyed us all three, sizing us up with the air of a man accustomed to that sort of thing, and said with an air of authority:
“‘I am the American consul. Your communication was brought to me because your government is not represented here. You’re in a bad fix, but I’ll help you out if I can. Now tell me all about it.’
“Tell him about it! Why, we nearly fell on his neck, and before he left he had our whole story in his head and a lot of our letters and cards in his clothes. They might be of use, he said, in proving that we had not, by any means, started out to undermine his Supreme Highness’s government. But that under fear of death—and he winked meaningly—we had been compelled to take up arms against the most illustrious republic of Boccador.
“Nine long, weary months passed after this and not another human being crossed our threshold except the head jailer. When we bombarded him with questions about the fellow who had passed himself off as the American consul, and who had stolen our letters and had never shown up since—damn him!—we