GAPTURE VILLA? STOP TALKING NONSENSE!
"The Chances Is," Says Zapp, ((That Right Now He Is
Running a Cuban Hand-made Cigar Store Somewheres
Around the Corner from Thirty-fourth Street and
Broadway and Laughing Himself Sick"?Mr.
Wilson Is So Busy Playing the Game A ccord
ing to Hoy/e He Doesn't Notice It When
Germany and Mexico Deal Themselves
Aces from the Bottom of the Deck!
By MONTAGUE GLASS
Authof of "Fotash il- Perlmuttcr." "Abe and Mawrnaa," et<
Illustrations by Briggs
t < -ar T*S a funny thing about Vilna
I and the Crown Prince of Ger
*?? many," Barnett Zapp the waist
manufacturer said. "They don't get no
sympathy when they die. Take a feller
which if he hears of the death of a com
parative stranger eighty-five years old
carrics on .so that you'd think that ho
was a rckition not mentioned in the will,
y'understand. and tell such a feller that
Vilna is cut off in his prime with blood
poisoning, under.stand me, and he re
ceives the news like he would be man
aging the death-claim department of a:.
industrial life insurance eompany."
"Well, what do you want President
Wilson to do?" Louis Bir.sky the real
estater aaked. "Write letters of condo
lence to the feller's widders and consent
to act as honorary pall-bearcr.
Zapp shrugged his shoulders.
"For my part he could celebrato it
arith a supper at Luchow's," he said.
"All I ask is that he should believe it."
"Believe it !** Birsky exclaimcd. "Why,
the feller ain't n<> deader as Mr. Roose?
"Suppose ho ain't?" Zapp replied.
"Nobody claims the feller is atonc dead
exactly, but for the purpose of getting
our soldiers back from Mexico, Birsky,
I am content if he is just so-to-speak
constructively dead?non pro trunk as
of tlanuary 1st, l!b50."
"What do you mean?get our soldiers
out of Mexico?" Birsky cried. "Why,
we would be laughing stocks from the
whole world if we left Mexico without
"Liston. Birsky," Zapp said. "You and
me are business men. ain't it? So what
ta the u.se talking nonsense?eapture
Vilna? With the experience that feller
has got mit aliases and alibis the chances
is that right now he is running a Cuban
hand-madc eigar store somewheres
around the corner from Thirty-fourth
.Street and Broadway and laughing him
aclf sick over the way the New York
newspapers spells the names of the
Mexican towna where them poor sol?
diers ptbich think he is hiding."
"Well, it'a inyhow a whole lot morr
iotereatinf to read that on Saturday,
Apnl (deleted), General Pershing haa
reached a point nearly (deleted) miles
beyond Namiquiquiquipa, as that in the
position between Hill 688 and Hill
8923B in the Camembert sector deter
mincd attemptfl was made to pierce the
i nemies' lines," Binky retorted.
"Did I -ay it wasn't?" Zapp con
? d. "As a matter of fact, Birsky,
I have always claimed that what thc
Germana and the French should ought
to do ifl to hire a parlor car namer from
the Pullman Company and put him to
work on them numbered hills near Ver?
dun To my mind. Binky, thc reason
why the Germans ain't made more prog
rer-'s there i.-' because when the Crown
Prino up from long distance and
tells Falkcnhayn he should attack Hill
Xo. 729, you couldn't blame the feller if
with all the guns shooting ofT around
him he makes it 725; and when he in
his turn iclephones to an assistant gen?
eral who is sitting in a bomb-proof shel
ter, whieh he knows is bomb-proof only
if a bomb don't hit it, y'understand, it
ain't surprising that the assistant gen?
eral should understand Falkenhayn to
say IIill 77.". The consequences is when
the asaietanl general orders the Kaiser'.^
Own Brandenburg Artillery to fire $181,
322 worth of shella at Hill 775, and a
couple of weeks later he is court-mar
tialled for practically wiping out the
Kaiser's Own T.ippe-Detmold Infantry.
whieh has been holding Hill 775 ever
since February. y'understand. it don't
do him no good to Pay that he thought it
was very funny at the time, but orders
is orders. And yet. Birsky, if instead of
Numbers 729, 725 and 775, they would
of got the parlor car namer to call them
hills -Elkwood,' 'Danora' and 'Wing
hurst.' we would say. for example, such
a mistake would never of happened at
' If that'fl the best excuse the German
could give for not capturing Verdun,'*
Birsky commented, "'they've got noth?
ing on us for not capturing Vilna."'
"The cases ain't exaetly anonymous.
Birsky." Zapp said. "Vou see, Birsky.
the (.ermans ain't trying to eapture
Verdun. because they claim that this
Verdun Geschichte has got to stop, and
if the person whose business it is to
eapture Verdun couldn't or wouldn't do
so. y'understand, that they. (..ermany,
would?and just watch their smoke."
"Does anyonc claim that about cap?
turing Vilna?" Birsky asked.
"Well," Zapp replied, "as I under?
stand the matter, our soldiers are only
in Mexieo because the .Mexican govern?
ment ain't able to eapture Vilna."
"What do you mean, the Mexican
government?" Birsky demanded. "Do
you call it a government that they got
it over in Mexieo?"
"I don't," Zapp said. "but President
Wilson does. He elaims that because
this here Elkan M. Carranza has made
such an impression on the Mexican peo?
ple and things are so orderly over there
that we would formally recognize him
as head of the Mexican government. and
that as Elkan M. Carranza don't seem
to got a nickel'fl worth of influence over
the Mexican people and things is so
mixed up and at sixes and sevens over
there in Mexieo, we must got to send
our soldiers to eapture Vilna, and that
after our soldiers has captured Vilna
they would return to the United States
and leave Mexieo to itself because Elkan
M. Carranza has made such a good rec?
ord in Mexieo and things is so settled
down over there that it wouldn't be
ed," Zapp continued. "On Mondays.
Wedneadaya and Pridaya he wired
President Wilson hc should plca.se call
ofT his soldiers or would positively take
such steps as he thinks proper to pro?
teet his and Mexico's interests in the
matter. and on Tuesdays, Thursdays
and Satordaya he writee we should keep
up the good work and hopes this letter
Anda Mr. Wilson well as it leaVes him
".Seemingly the feller don't know his
own mind at all." Birsky commented.
"It ain't that exactly." Zapp said.
"He's in a way up against the same
proposition like .Mr. Wilson; he couldn't
rely on the backing of his own party at
all. For instance, if he makes a speech
in which he says that if America keeps
the 5,000 American soldiers in Mexico
there is 100,000 Mexicans stands ready
to die for their country, and it wouldn't
make no difTcrcnce if there was 6,500
American soldiers, the 100,000 Mexi?
cans .stands ready anyhow, /under?
stand. then the next day General Diego
Aogorman .says the Americans is the
beat friends .Mexico has got and that
eome one come all. every loyal Mexican
should give 'em a good, okl-fashioned
Ai. jcican welcome. On the other hand,
if Carranza makes a speech in which he
that. spoaking for the Mexican peo
"He receives a salute
necessary to keep our soldiers there any
"You may know what you arc talking
about, Zapp," Birsky admitted, "but
this sounds like Kabala to me."
"I am only telling you what my idce
of the matter is." Zapp explained.
"Well, what is Elkan M. Carranza's
idee of the matter?" Birsky inquired.
"He don't know whether he should
ought to feel complimented or insult
af twenty-one guns."
ple. he extends the long arm of co
fellowship to tho President of the
United States, y'understand, General
Geofredo Maclemorez says: 'Yoiu, he
speaks for the Mexican people!' If he
would speak what the Mexican people
thinks about President Wilson it would
make what the German-American Truth
Society thinks sound like engrossed res
olutions bound in watered silk-lined
Morocco leather with President Wil
son's name stamped on it in gold let?
"Then after all you couldn't blame the
feller," Birsky said, "nor President
Wilson neither. No doubt if they was
allowed to play their own hands with?
out remarks from the Kibbitzers* they
would of done pretty good."
"Well, I'll tell yer," Zapp said:
"Politics is a very similar game like
ptaying pinochle oder skat in a cofFee
house. A feller who plays such a game
must got to expect there would be Kib
bitzers and if he lets their remarks
rattle him, y'understand, he's got no
business to sit in at all. President Wil?
son is like a whole lot of fellers. He
Btarta in with good cards and in.stead
of playing them like a Mensch, y'under?
stand, he considers first should he come
trump. y'understand, and he's got his
thumb and finger on the acc of trump,
when he thinks why should he give his
hand away like that. He then gets an
idee it would be a good thing to lead a
small diamond, and he's ju.st nbout to
play it when he remembers that he read
somcwheres in Hoyle where Hoyle says
you should never lead a small diamond
when you've got a big club in your hand.
So he skins over his hand again and Mr
Roosevelt who is looking over his shoul?
der yells: 'Nu! A card oder a stuck
holz!' This makes Victor Ridder sore.
He is kibbitzing behind von BernstorfT,
and he says: 'Let the poor Xcbich play
his own game, can't you?' And Mr.
Wilson gets so rattled by this that he
drops face up on thc table two diamonds
which von BernstorfT thought was lay
ing in Lansing's hand all the time, and
Lansing. who is a pretty good mttured
feller at that, gets also sore. He throws
his hand down and says: 'What IS this?
Tiddledy winks oder cards? Um Gottes
Willcn, Wil.son, spiel!' And Wil.son
says: 'Say! If you've got to catch a
train oder something, don't let me de
tain you.' Then he considers five
minutes more, and ends up by leading
a small trump, and from that time on
von BernstorfT walks away with 'em."
"Well. Mr. Wilson done the same
thing before with Mexico," Birsky said.
"That time there at Vera Cruz, you
would think the way he rushes in with
battleahipa and soldiers that he had a
two color hand, when as a matter of
fad he played his cards so rotten that
he might just so well have schencked
it to 'em from the start, and I bet yer
he would act the same way again in
"At that I think Mr. WMLson is trying
to do the right thing in .Mexico," Zapp
"Sure I know." Birsky agreed, "but
the trouble with Mr. Wilson is he is so
busy remembering to play the game ac?
eording to Hoyle that he don't notice
it when Germany and Mexico deals
themselves aces from the bottom of the
the deck. If you're a president oder a
king, Zapp. the thing to do is to see
that the other feller plays aceording to
the rules, whether you yourself stick to
them or not."
"I don't know where you read that,
Birsky," Zapp said, "but a president or
a king who tried to do business on that
basis couldn't expect to get a better rat
ing as M. to P. third credit. But what
(a the use of talking so poetical, Birsky?
When yju are dealing with a proposi
tion like Mexico, rules don't figure at
all. As a rule, Birsky, presidents are
eleeted for a term of years, aber in
.Mexico th -y go out of office at unequal
intervall, feet first and looking very
natural if the bullets happen to hit 'em
?K-|_bl*-ir ? An ot-oo-ir lt I f?mi tt (tr*.*
Not mentioned in the will.
below the neck. As a rule, Birsky, gen
erals in an army used to was coloncls.
and before that, majors. and before
that. captains, aber in Mexieo most of
the generals used to was hone thieves.
and before that sneak thieves. and be?
fore that nobody knows what they wa.".
As a rule, Birsky, a dollar ll worth a
hundred cents or ten dimes, aber in
Mexieo the currency ifl so rotten that if
you owe a feller a dollar and -pay him
a dollar. he practically got a new claim
against you for a dollar and a nuarter.
And if you want to hear any more rule.
that don't apply to Mexieo. Birsky, you
would got to call the waiter yourself.
as we couldn't lit here all afternoon on
a cup coffee apiece."
"Aber tell me one thing," BirAy
said. "If tUl this is the case. why did
Mr. Wilson recognize Elkan M. Car
ranza as the president?"
"I don't know." Zapp replied, "but I
see in the papers that every few day?
Mr Wils.-n goes from Washington to
Philadelphia and conaultl an oculist.
Birsky, so I COOClude that sinee he
recognized Carranza he haa found out
that there's something the matter with
his eye.'ight, and that maybe C-_HM__I
ain't the man hfl took him to b? at all,
but a feller with whilken and spec
taclflf by thfl flame name. However,
Birsky, for the present Wfl ar. giving
Carranza the bflneftt of the doubt, and
if he contin;: I :'; WCh Pi may
go on rceognizing him as provisional
"What do you mean ? provisiona!
president?" Birsky asked.
"A provisional president," Zapp ex
plained, "is a president that get*. hi?
job through a revolution. He acts a?
president until an election Is held, pro?
vided he lives that long. There's %
whole lot of honor attached to it in
Mexieo. Every time a provisional
president starts to go out of his houie,
Birsky, he recoives a salute of twenty
one guns?sometimes flfty-one guns. de
pending on the number of people lay
ing for him?so you can imagine what
thc front of a provisional president^
house looks like, Birsky. If they don't
get him with the first salute. it mujt
cost him a fortune for windo.v jrlass
"Then if you would ask me as a real
estate and insurance broker. Zapp.
Birsky said, "I should say that a pro?
visional president was, taking it all m
all. an extra hazardous occupation.'
"He ain't a sprinkled risk exaetly,'
"Then what does he want the Job
for?" Birsky asked.
"Well," Zapp said, "there's big money
in it if he can get it deposited outside
"I should think he would considerhi*
health before money," Birsky said.
"Maybe he does," Zapp said, "but you
take one of these provisional president*
Birsky, and as a general thinv.. he'." ?
good family man and believes in lea\
ing his wives and families well providet.
"So a provisional president l? "*'
that, is hc''" Birsky said.
"I don't say they all are." Zapp a\>
clared, "but when you recognize a pro?
visional president. it don't do no hartf
to have bad 4-yesigh'. Birskv, bfltl.*1
in that case what you don't like abou
him, Birsky, you could wink at."
(Copyriajht, 1916?Tha Tribuno Attn.)
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