Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/260

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“They have a way of coaxing you to escape down in that country and then filling you full of lead. It’s justifiable murder when sometimes a trial and conviction might raise unpleasant international questions. We all three looked at each other and instantly decided not to swallow the bait. The American consul dodge had been tried when they wanted to get legal possession of our letters. So it isn’t surprising that we didn’t believe him. Then, to my astonishment, I caught through the crack of the door a suit of white duck, and the natty young man stepped in.

“‘I’ve been down the coast,’ he began as chipper as if he was apologizing for not having called after we had invited him to dinner, ‘or I should have been here before. I have a permit from the governor to come as often as I like, or as often as you would be glad to see me. I must tell you, however, that I am pledged to keep faith with the authorities, and it is their confidence in me which has gained me this privilege. I can bring you nothing to eat or drink, no tools or knickknacks or any bodily comforts. I can only bring myself. This I have told his Excellenza, who has his orders, and who understands.’ Then he turned to the jailer. ‘Get me a stool and I will stay a while