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lady with whom I rode in a hack before I ascer
tained her name, I declare her to have been the most attractive fat woman 1 ever saw. Fat? She was, indeed, of an almost startling amplitude. But, 1 reflected, there were cures for adiposity. "And so we rode in the rickety hack with the list to starboard and prattled. As we prattled I f.mnd myself succumbing more and more to the rotund charms of Margarida Maria Rodrigues. "Which the same was her name, as she soon told me. That is, she told me as soon as she could re cover from her obvious delight in thus unexpectedly finding herself with the renowned liberator, the Senhor Turco O'Fallonio. I kept my chest deflated as best 1 could and suffered her to-proceed. It was then that she named herself, not without a little flourish of pride that appeared beseeming and natural. Margarida Maria Rodrigues was a good round name and its owner was a good round woman. Under the charm, not to mention the promise, of the simple, moving story she proceeded to tell me, I came near several times to reaching over and giv ing her fat white hand with the dimpled knuckles a reassuring pat. Before we had gone a mile, it was plain that Margarida Maria Rodrigues and I were to become great friends. T CAN hear her now, at this distance from all the moons that have vanished since, unfolding her plaintive, pathetic narrative. She was an exile from Costa Rica. Did I know Costa Rica? '"Do I know the fillings in my own teeth?' I in quired of Margarida convincingly, notwithstanding the homeliness of the metaphor, and Margarida was convinced. "Very well. Her story was a sad, even a dreary, one. I, she had hoped ever since reading of my deeds and projects in those interviews, was to be her champion, her personally conducted liberator. She had been stirred by reading of what manner of conqueror I had been and was. It satisfied her. I was to obtain not justice,?only Heaven, she said piously, could give her that,?but revenge for her and her family, the family of Rodrigues. "That was the prelude. Margarida, conquering her rising emotion, continued. Her father, now de ceased, had been the most important and the wealthi est planter in Costa Rica. (Listening to Margarida, I judged that there must be at least one Rodrigues hacienda, with a chime of three bells in each open cupola, on every square mile of Costa Rican soil.) Upon demising, her father?the mother being al ready dead?had bequeathed all of the immense Rodfigues plantations, besides a great treasure in cash and jewels, to her brother and only living rela tive, Porfirio Pedro Rodrigues. "Then had come the last Costa Rica'n revolution The insurgents, winning, had confiscated all of the great Rodrigues estates. Her brother, however. Porfirio Pedro Rodrigues. had escaped from Costa Rica with the portable factors of the family treasure. He had made the best of his way with the treas ure to Europe. Presently, very soon, perhaps within a month, she knew that her brother would arrive in New York with the treasure. And then? "Margarida at this point turned her regard upon me wistfully. Shush! Don't tell me that a fat woman can't look wistful! They can look wistful over anything, even over being fat. "And then, when her brother did arrive in New York with the Rodrigues treasure, breathed Mar garida, not without emotion, she desired that 1 should lead an expedition against the victorious in surgents of Costa Rica. She would provide the means for this punitive enterprise. It was some thing, of course, that I, the conquering Senhor Turco O'Fallonio, should regain the seized Rod rigues estates It was more, however, that I should be the brave instrument of her revenge upon the enemies of her beloved Costa Rica. T/TXD of a dingy Fate, I suppose, that had led me to where this fat. fair, and gilt incrusted patron ess was trying to back through the door of a tumble down hack? When Margarida finished her narra tive with a little pathetic sigh,?a sigh, I couldn't help but think, much too small for her,?I no longer saw her three chins. Her adiposity had become as nothing, or at any rate a mere inconsequential de tail, to me. In fact, had anybody asked me, I should have said that Margarida would look well in. a directoire dress. I saw her through an enhanc ing, beautifying vapor,?a vapor forming a nimbus about that which was to be, and T. O'Fallon in the center of the nimbus. Such is the blinding effect of prefigured glory. "Our hack got penned momentarily in a jam of trucks in a narrow thoroughfare leading into Third ave. I noticed that the blockade caused Margarida great perturbation. She had caught sight, I ob served, of a large gilded foot, resting on a bracket, standing out from a second floor window of a mean little house on the left hand side of the narrow street. I caught her shuddering as she gazed, as if by a sort of irresistible fascination, at the gilded foot. Solici tously I inquired the wherefore of her shudders. "It was nothing, merely a hideous memory, she told me. The barbarous insurgents who had en chained her beloved Costa Rica, she said,?still shuddering and continuing fearsomely to regard the gilded foot, symbol of a chiropodist's establishment, ?had a way of severing the feet of soldiers who de serted the insurgent ranks. The hateful foot had reminded her of this, that was all. She begged me to see if I could not do something to break the jam of trucks. Contiguity to the gilded foot, with its suggestion of the savage insurgents' custom, horri fied her. I was about to suggest, with a delicacy, that she look elsewhere, when the jam was broken and our hack groaned onward. "Vet there are believers in telepathy! If there is anything in telepathy, why did I not divine, there and then, the actual connection between Margarida Maria Rodrigues and that gilded foot? Telepathy? Telepathic tittlebats! AFTER three hours of riding (the hackman, noticing my exaltation, chatged nie only eight dollars for the airing), Margarida gently insisted upon setting me down at my lodgings. 1 asked her where 1 might have the honor of calling upon her. At no place, she replied with manifest reluctance. She lived quietly, screened even from the view of her exiled compatriots, all of whom, she permitted me to infer, she outranked in quality. Pending the arrival of her brother with the treasure, she would, of course, like to meet her promised liberator (I had promised) often for consultations respecting the revenge she contemplated upon the enemies of her cherished Costa Rica. Hut she could not permit me to call. She avoided the paths leading even to minor indiscretions. Besides, the spies of the Costa Rican insurgents, she had ascertained, were in New York If I could suggest any method whereby, without calling upon her at her screened place of domicile, I might meet her? "Could I? As a ready little suggester. just then, I had all living suggest ers whipped to a sauce tartar. I exuded a suggestion for future meetings; she liked it; and Margarida was driven away to her chaste abode of mystery, waving a fat dimpled hand at me as she went. "You sabe 'rush'? That's what 1 proceeded to give my patroness Margarida. one velocious, vor texious, on the job, money burning rush. " It required some financiering In order to keep mv rush of Margarida a-going. 1 made some touches that I haven't entirely succeeded in wiping otT the slate yet. Restaurants, theaters, concerts, the opera, flowers, bonbons, carriages, these for the august Margarida, and your little playmate Turk willingly paying the freight, even if the digs did become harder and harder as the weeks went on. I was more than sustained by the thought of what was to be when Margarida's brother Porfirio arrived in New York with the intact Rodrigues treasure chests. I didn't mention it to any of them; but already I was men tally picking out the fellows I'd invite to accompany me on the expedition to overthrow the buttinski in surgent government of Costa Rica. The old order reestablished, I could see the fair Margarida and myself browsing among the flowers bordering the patio of one of the noble Rodrigues haciendas, and? Dl'T I travel ahead?about nine million nautical knots ahead?of my story. "Margarida stood the rush well, complaisantly. benignly; yet always with a certain reserve store of agreeable austerity, as if conferring a most un deniable favor and benefit upon me by permitting me to be her humble temporary gallant and servant. I never sought, of course, to ascertain the location of her domicile after that first audience. She would wait at the appointed hour in Stuyvesant Square. I would send the carriage for her. We would dine, and, over the dinner, mull over the plans for Mar garida's revenge upon the ensconced enemies of her idolized Costa Rica. "Yes, we dined often and often. I always take note of details even in the swirl of great affairs. Thus I discovered the bedrock reason for Margarida's ?er?well, plumpness. Margarida loved to eat. How she did love to eat! She was democratic, too, in her dining. I have yet to meet up with a more catholic taste for food. She was by no means un reasonably fond of the dishes of her uf"rearing. In fact, after trying her with tortillas, chile con carne. frijoles variously fussed up, and so on, at the com paratively inexpensive Spanish and Spanish-Amer ican restaurants, I found that Margarida much pre ferred large rambling steaks, thick chops, even rare and radiant lobsters. Adoring all manner of gusta tory exercises, Margarida yet had a keen eye for the CHEER UP There are just as many good fish in the sea As ever were caught in a net? And anglers al! over the world will agree The best one is swimming yet. So do not repine If the end of your line Shows no sign that there's anything tugging; Just stick to your work Don't weaken or shirk? For nothing will come without plugging. Though effort and struggle should fail to coerce The end that you aim to achieve. And matters from bad grow steadily worse, Just cheer up and roll up your sleeve. For Success always flits From the fellow who (juits, While she welcomes the man who's a fighter. Though at first she be shy. She will yield by and by To the wooer whose merits invite her. (Copyright, by Hector Rosenfeld) most expensive restaurants. It was my business to watch the direction of Margarita's eye when she chose a restaurant. Thus was I kept impoverished, but happy. I watched her eat and drink she had a pretty taste for still wines, too with a growing fascination and a flattening bankroll. "Thus matters stood,?my rush of Margarida still in progress, the rushing sinews harder t<> get all the time, and the brother with the Rodrigues treasure unaccountably detained in Paris or Budapest or Antwerp or the Tyrol, as Margarida variously guessed, when one leaden afternoon I had what Ella Wheeler Wilcox or William Jennings Bryan would call a cruel awakening. T WAS strolling about Gramercv Square, trying to * decide whether I would or wouldn't wear a flow ing gold bullion sash with a figure-of-eight knot at the waist when I became Generalissimo of the Gov ernment forces of Costa Rica under the general directions of my patroness, Margarida Maria Rod rigues, when 1 was hailed from the second story window of a neat house facing the little park. The hailer was an old friend whom 1 hadn't seen in years. He was a crusty bachelor for whom I had done some chores years before, reporting on rubber and ma hogany properties in South America and the like. '"Come on in here, you old flamingo, and give me some cheer!' he called down to me, and his withered old serving woman met me at the front door and conducted me up stairs to my friend. "He was sitting at the window from which he had espied me. nursing a bath-slippered foot His cherished corn was giving him a living death. This he bawled at me as soon as I entered the room, warning tne not to get within one hundred octillion miles of that corn. We fanned the years over for a brief space, and then my grizzled friend bawled for his withered servant When she appeared: '"Where in the name of all the bayonets of Billebedad is that infernal Rosita Salazarr' he bawled at her. " Rosita had been sent for. the crone replied. She had sent a message around to the sign of the gilded foot, and Rosita would be arriving any minute. "'Gilded foot gilded foot,' 1 found myself re peating softly. " Now where the dickens have I lately had something or other to do with a gilded foot, and where the?' "Then my Margarida's dislike for the gilded foot in the little side street on the first day of my meet ing with her popped into my mind. I smiled at the memory. My Margarida was so sensitive a soul! 1 reflect eel. "'This Rosita that you're howling so clamorously for,' I said to my old friend with the idea of taking his mind off his pedal trouble, 'what and who is Rosita? What does she do for you, chloroform you or something?' "'Rosita,' he rasped, groaning, 'is my manana fattv. She's Rosita the Always Late. Blast it all! I won't go so far as to hope that she'll be interred in unconsecrated ground; but I wish she'd get a wiggle on her two hundred and fifty odd pounds and come over here, that's all!' "'Very illuminating,' said I. 'But what does Rosita do,?read Dante to you, cool your fevered brow, teach you how to do honiton lace work, mangle a typewriter, sing folk songs to you '"Stop that, you infernal jabberer!' he bellowed at me. 'Rosita's my pedicure, and she's?' UB broke off suddenly, because just at that in stant Margarida Maria Rodriguez, carrying a little black hand satchel, was ushered in by the grinning old servant. " Rosita, you plumpiferous angel, attend to this flaming fiend of a foot of mine quick!' grunted my old friend thus addressing my Margarida. "My Margarida and 1 exchanged only one glance just one. But it was sufficiency. There was fun lurking around each of Margarida's three chins. But a hydraulic press couldn't have squeezed a peseta's worth of fun out of me just then. 1 didn't see the joke until an hour or so later, and then 1 laughed so hard in the street that a cop came near hotfooting me to Bellevue's psychopathic ward. "And so, after that exchange of glancts with my but no longer my ? Margarida, 1 withdrew to another room and read the poems of Emilio Castelar with the book turned upside down, while Rosita Margarida assuaged the ache of my friend's ram pageous corn. After an hour or so he summoned me back to his room. He was alone. "'This Rosita of yours,' 1 said to him, and my voice sounded hoarse in my own ears, has she been in New York long?' "'Pretty nigh all her life, 1 reckon,' replied my friend chirpilv. 'She's been knocking the tar out of that corn every time it got gay for about fifteen years now. Monstrous big person, isn't she? Clever woman, though, and a corking pedicure. Remark able kind of a dreamer, though, Rosita. Wouldn't be surprised if the fat had gone a bit to her head. Imagines, or pretends to imagine, that she belongs to an enormously wealthy family and that she's going to come in for a barnful of money some old day. I liked to hear her rave. She's got an inter esting line of junk at the tip of her tongue.' A FEW minutes later I was in the street, and it all swept over me, anil I leaned against an awn ing pole and laughed my fool head off. But the big laugh belonged to Margarida. I'd like to have heard it when she got home and put her kimono on."