Cabbages and Kings HTML version

IV. Caught
The plans for the detention of the flying President Miraflores and his companion at the
coast line seemed hardly likely to fail. Doctor Zavalla himself had gone to the port of
Alazan to establish a guard at that point. At Solitas the Liberal patriot Varras could be
depended upon to keep close watch. Goodwin held himself responsible for the district
about Coralio.
The news of the president's flight had been disclosed to no one in the coast towns save
trusted members of the ambitious political party that was desirous of succeeding to
power. The telegraph wire running from San Mateo to the coast had been cut far up on
the mountain trail by an emissary of Zavalla's. Long before this could be repaired and
word received along it from the capital the fugitives would have reached the coast and the
question of escape or capture been solved.
Goodwin had stationed armed sentinels at frequent intervals along the shore for a mile in
each direction from Coralio. They were instructed to keep a vigilant lookout during the
night to prevent Miraflores from attempting to embark stealthily by means of some boat
or sloop found by chance at the water's edge. A dozen patrols walked the streets of
Coralio unsuspected, ready to intercept the truant official should he show himself there.
Goodwin was very well convinced that no precautions had been overlooked. He strolled
about the streets that bore such high- sounding names and were but narrow, grass-covered
lanes, lending his own aid to the vigil that had been intrusted to him by Bob Englehart.
The town had begun the tepid round of its nightly diversions. A few leisurely dandies,
cald in white duck, with flowing neckties, and swinging slim bamboo canes, threaded the
grassy by-ways toward the houses of their favored senoritas. Those who wooed the art of
music dragged tirelessly at whining concertinas, or fingered lugubrious guitars at doors
and windows. An occasional soldier from the ~cuartel~, with flapping straw hat, without
coat or shoes, hurried by, balancing his long gun like a lance in one hand. From every
density of the foliage the giant tree frogs sounded their loud and irritating clatter. Further
out, the guttural cries of marauding baboons and the coughing of the alligators in the
black estuaries fractured the vain silence of the wood.
By ten o'clock the streets were deserted. The oil lamps that had burned, a sickly yellow,
at random corners, had been extinguished by some economical civic agent. Coralio lay
sleeping calmly between toppling mountains and encroaching sea like a stolen babe in the
arms of its abductors. Somewhere over in that tropical darkness--perhaps already
threading the profundities of the alluvial lowlands--the high adventurer and his mate were
moving toward land's end. The game of Fox-in-the-Morning should be coming soon to its
Goodwin, at his deliberate gait, passed the long, low ~cuartel~ where Coralio's
contingent of Anchuria's military force slumbered, with its bare toes pointed heavenward.