Cabbages and Kings HTML version

III. Smith
Goodwin and the ardent patriot, Zavalla, took all the precautions that their foresight could
contrive to prevent the escape of President Miraflores and his companion. The sent
trusted messengers up the coast to Solitas and Alazan to warn the local leaders of the
flight, and to instruct them to patrol the water line and arrest the fugitives at all hazards
should they reveal themselves in that territory. After this was done there remained only to
cover the district about Coralio and await the coming of the quarry. The nets were well
spread. The roads were so few, the opportunities for embarkation so limited, and the two
or three probable points of exit so well guarded that it would be strange indeed if there
should slip through the meshes so much of the country's dignity, romance, and collateral.
The president would, without doubt, move as secretly as possible, and endeavor to board
a vessel by stealth from some secluded point along the shore.
On the fourth day after the receipt of Englehart's telegram the ~Karlsefin~, a Norwegian
steamer chartered by the New Orleans fruit trade, anchored off Coralio with three horse
toots of her siren. The ~Karlesfin~ ws not one of the line operated by the Vesuvius Fruit
Company. She was something of a dilettante, doing odd jobs for a company that was
scarcely important enough to figure as a rival to the Vesuvius. The movements of the
~Karlesfin~ were dependent upon the state of the market. Sometimes she would ply
steadily between the Spanish Main and New Orleans in the regular transport of fruit; next
she would be maing erratic trips to Mobile or Charleston, or even as far north as New
York, according to the distribution of the fruit supply.
Goodwin lounged upon the beach with the susual crowd of idlers that had gathered to
view the steamer. Now that President Miraflores might be expected to reach the borders
of his abjured country at any time, the orders were to keep a strict and unrelenting watch.
Every vessel that approached the shores might now be considered a possible means of
escape for the fugitives; and an eye was kept even on the slopes and dories that belonged
to the sea-going contingent of Coralio. Goodwin and Zavalla moved everywhere, but
without ostentation, watching the loopholes of escape.
The customs official crowded importantly into their boat and rowed out to the
~Karlesfin~. A boat from the steamer landed her purser with his papers, and took out the
quarantine doctor with his green umbrella and clinical thermometer. Next a swarm of
Caribs began to load upon lighters the thousands of bunches of bananas heaped upon the
shore and row them out to the steamer. The ~Karlesfin~ had no passenger list, and was
soon done with the attention of the authorities. The purser declared that the steamer
would remain at anchor until morning, taking on her fruit during the night. The
~Karlesfin~ had come, he said, from New York, to which port her latest load of oranges
and coconuts had been conveyed. Two or three of the freighter sloops were engaged to
assist in the work, for the captain was anxious to make a quick return in order to reap the
advantage offered by a certain dearth of fruit in the States.