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Newspaper Page Text
'rapidly.' ."You see, they put me down
here on the jumping-off place of the
Philippines to govern Bungawan. I
haven't been bothered since. And I'm
a good boss but a blamed poor gov
ernor. I'm aptto forget details. I've
kept things straight and you won't
find a dollar missing in the treasury."
"Then why do you need me?" ask
ed Brabson quickly.
"Because I'm in bad. I ain't a big
enough man, physically, to overawe
the natives," admitted Kelly soberly.
"I've got a big scheme started to
benefit the island, but I ajn't a big
enough man to run it alone. I'd only
start a riot. That's why I want you
to impersonate me."
"All right," said Brabson without
a quiver; "I'll take the job. Bring on
the native politicians."
"I guess you've grasped the
scheme," Kelly remarked at sundown.
"It's government ownership of pri
vate wealth. There's untold wealth
in Bungawan and untold waste.
There ain't a native but what's got
a pearl necklace and a heap of copra
besides the money. It's a paradise
of naked capitalists. Nobody works.
Yet they ain't happy. They pick a
living off the trees and then they
stay awake at nights because the bar
barian next door has found a bigger
pearl or something."
"I see it's unearned increment,"
said Brabson, nodding. "But what
do you propose to do about it?"
Kelly's face reddened with enthu
siasm. "Well take away the wealth and
leave 'em happiness," he replied. "We
won't let them keep even a dollar or
"It'll all go into the treasury. Some
day they'll want schools. And there
may be a famine year. Most anything
could happen over here. With a good
fat treasury to fall back upon, Bun
gawan would be the happiest place on
Kelly was right the game was big.
Loot and a getaway. Brabson star
ed at nothing in particular and de
liberated. Kelly was "wanted" at
Mania. He had forgotten to send up
an account of his administration; in
fact, Manila had not heard from Kelly
in two years. So Brabson had been
sent to investigate. The investiga
tion was progressing. Brabson smil
ed. It was too good a scheme to spoiL
He would let the governor go ahead.
In ninety days there would be a gun
boat inside the reef a gunboat with
a guardroom. And there would be no
chance of a getaway unless Dunga
Dhu came back with the lugger. So
Kelly-could work out his own des
tiny as he pleased.
"I see. It's a wonderful game," said '
Brabson with sincerity.
It was at the evening palaver, how
ever, that Brabson realized His re
sponsibility. It was a state affair, and
nobody came but the headmen. Elev
en of them; there were, and they sat
in a row in front of the governor's
desk in the governor's bungalow. And
Brabson played the "governor."
"You see the old one with the
grouch," whispered Kelly, pointing to
a shriveled Moro who looked a hun
dred and good for twenty more. "He's
the ex-dato, Samale. You've had him
fired. We're going to elect a new one
and you needn't be surprised if Sa
male gets his job back. He was a
good dato, anyhow."
It was after the seventh ballot that
Samale stampeded the convention.
"Samale was dato of Bungawan
when your fathers were naked boys,"
he quavered to the row of breech
clouts beside him. "He will be dato
now." He drew a pouch of buffalo
hide from his girdle and threw it up
on the desk. "Here are six hundred
dollars. It is ( worth the honor. Let
him who has as many swords behind
him vote for himself again."
"Is the choice unanimous?" quer- '
ied Kelly after the silence.
It was; and nobody got his money
The weeks rained by, and it was
during the last half of the monsoon
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