The Lotus and the Bottle

WillardGeddie,consulfortheUnitedStatesinCoralio,wasworkingleisurelyonhisyearlyreport.Goodwin,whohadstrolledinashediddailyforasmokeonthemuchcovetedporch,hadfoundhimsoabsorbedinhisworkthathedepartedafterroundlyabusingtheconsulforhislackofhospitality.

“Ishallcomplaintothecivilservicedepartment,”saidGoodwin;“orisitadepartment?perhapsit’sonlyatheory.Onegetsneithercivilitynorservicefromyou.Youwon’ttalk;andyouwon’tsetoutanythingtodrink.Whatkindofawayisthatofrepresentingyourgovernment?”

GoodwinstrolledoutandacrosstothehoteltoseeifhecouldbullythequarantinedoctorintoagameonCoralio’ssolitarybilliardtable.Hisplanswerecompletedfortheinterceptionofthefugitivesfromthecapital;andnowitwasbutawaitinggamethathehadtoplay.

Theconsulwasinterestedinhisreport.Hewasonlytwenty-four;andhehadnotbeeninCoraliolongenoughforhisenthusiasmtocoolintheheatofthetropicsaparadoxthatmaybeallowedbetweenCancerandCapricorn.

Somanythousandbunchesofbananas,somanythousandorangesandcocoanuts,somanyouncesofgolddust,poundsofrubber,coffee,indigoandsarsaparillaactually,exportsweretwentypercent.greaterthanforthepreviousyear!

Alittlethrillofsatisfactionranthroughtheconsul.Perhaps,hethought,theStateDepartment,uponreadinghisintroduction,wouldnoticeandthenheleanedbackinhischairandlaughed.Hewasgettingasbadastheothers.ForthemomenthehadforgottenthatCoraliowasaninsignificanttowninaninsignificantrepubliclyingalongtheby-waysofasecond-ratesea.

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