Welcome to www.EllisParkerButler.Info SIGN-IN
HOME BIOGRAPHY BIBLIOGRAPHY READING ROOM
Welcome to www.EllisParkerButler.Info, the best place on the Internet to find information about the life and work of Ellis Parker Butler, American humorist and author.

Reading Room

"The Doves of Sandona" from Liberty

by Ellis Parker Butler
text only format text only  printer friendly format printer friendly


from Liberty
The Doves of Sandona
by Ellis Parker Butler

The dining car in which Mme. Bontelli sat at a table enticing in its white linen, glistening silver, and shining crystal, came to a stop just where she could see the Plazetto nicely.

Although her waiter stood attentive, hovering until she filled out the order slip for her luncheon, she ignored him and hastily drew from her handbag her famous ivory tablet and a gold pencil, and jotted down memoranda of the delightful scene that met her eyes.

"This is Sandona?" she asked the waiter, and, before he could reply, answered herself: "Yes, I see the name on the station. Spanish, Moorish, Italian. Venetian canals. Palms. Doves -- white."

She underlined "Doves -- white," as something more than usually important, and said, "Is the fruit salad nice, George?" and paid no more attention to Sandona, with the sun beating down on its Spanish-Moorish-Italian architecture, but concentrated on the menu and managed, as she usually did, to secure a delicious luncheon.

The Doves of Sandona
The Doves of Sandona

 

Mme. Bontelli, who preferred to be called Kate Finch, which had been her maiden name and was still the name under which she wrote her tremendously popular novels, was doing something not quite new, for she had already written several books of travel.

Her Flight through Italy was said to have sold beyond 300,000 copies and was still in eager demand, almost no one daring to think of going to Italy without a copy in his or her luggage.

Her Flight through the Chateau Country was only less popular, with her other Flight books close in line, and now she was gathering data for a Flight through Florida book.

The train moved on and Kate Finch finished her luncheon and returned to her room in the sleeper. A portable typewriter was ready to her hand and she seated herself before it. She wrote rapidly and composed fluently, and she meant to give a full chapter to Sandona -- perhaps 4,000 words; but before she began to write she leaned back and closed her eyes.

"Ah! Those doves, those beautiful doves! "she exclaimed, and for a few moments lost herself in reveries. She was again standing before St. Mark's with dear Carlo handing her grain to throw to the doves there.

She had said, she remembered, "Carlo, are they not beautiful?"

And he had replied, "But you are more beautiful, my dearest!"

She had been but twenty then -- twenty, and now she was perilously close to fifty! -- and Carlo had been such a dear boy, so handsome, such a kind and faithful husband, and living such a short time.

"But in all Florida," she began the new chapter, "there is nothing as beautiful, nothing to compare with the snow-white doves of Sandona."

That, she thought, reading it, should be "nothing as beautiful as," and she drew the sheet from the machine, crumpled it in her hand, and dropped it on the floor. And when she had inserted a new sheet she closed her eyes again.

She saw the white doves of Sandona fluttering in the air above the Plazetto, seemingly filling the air with hundreds of immaculately white wings, circling the tower of the Moorish-Spanish-Italian Hoteletto Sandona. She saw again the young girl in white, too, who held out a hand to which one of the doves circled down, to alight on her outstretched finger, its wings quivering as it sought a balance.

Mme. Bontelli hesitated when she opened her eyes, and then, as if inspired -- and, indeed, she was inspired -- she let her fingers race over the keys, writing the famous chapter that begins "Doves of Sandona! White spirits of the Land of Flowers!" Within a year this was to be proclaimed the most beautiful descriptive writing ever done by an American author.

Even Ames Frazer, who had always scoffed at Kate Finch's works, wrote in his column:

Whatever one may think of Kate Finch in general, one must admit that in the Sandona chapter of her new book, the chapter headed The Doves of Sandona, she has written an epic that will never die. Had American literature produced nothing but this, it would be a worthy literature.

The book appeared on the first day of September, and on the second of September a man named Henry Williams sent a telegram to a man in Sandona named Joseph Brainlaw.

NEW BOOK BY KATE FINCH JUST OFF PRESS STOP [the telegram read] TITLE OF BOOK A FLIGHT THROUGH FLORIDA STOP ADVANCE SALE TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND COPIES STOP PUBLISHER SAYS SALE WILL SURELY REACH FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND STOP CHAPTER ENTITLED DOVES OF SANDONA BEING MADLY PRAISED BY ALL CRITICS STOP CHAPTER TELLS ABOUT INNUMERABLE WHITE DOVES FLYING AND FLUTTERING IN PLAZETTO OF SANDONA STOP ARE THERE ANY SUCH DOVES THERE STOP NEVER SAW ANY DOVES THERE MYSELF STOP BOOK WILL BE BIGGEST BOOM SANDONA EVER HAD BUT HOW ABOUT DOVES STOP ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND PEOPLE WILL UNDOUBTEDLY VISIT SANDONA TO SEE DOVES THIS WINTER BUT IF NO DOVES THIS WILL GIVE SANDONA A BLACK EYE FOREVER STOP DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS AT ALL STOP SAW KATE FINCH AND SHE SAYS SHE SAW DOVES IN PLAZETTO AT SANDONA STOP AM SENDING COPY OF THE BOOK BY SPECIAL AIRPLANE TODAY STOP

In Sandona, while Henry Williams -- who was the New York sales manager for the Sandona Development Company -- was writing this telegram, a young man, Jim Hobart, was walking up and down the floor of a handsome Spanish-Italian-Moorish room in the largest house in Sandona, while a beautiful girl was saying from time to time:

Jim walked the floor while a beautiful girl was saying, 'Please, papa! Now, say yes, papa!'

"Please, papa! Now, say yes, papa!" And a stern-faced and rather elderly gentleman in a large wicker chair was alternately taking sips of iced lemonade and saying "No!" and "No!" and yet again "No!"

"No!" he said firmly, when he had reached the bottom of his glass. "Jim knows what I told him, and you know what I told him. You can't marry him until he is earning ten thousand dollars a year, and I won't pay him ten thousand dollars a year until our sales justify it. I've told you that, Dorothy. That is final."

"But, father, you said yourself that Jim was making good."

"I said nothing of the kind. I said he was doing very well for a beginner. I may have gone so far as to say that as a publicity man he has shown considerable originality and ability, and I may have said that he might make good, but I did not say he had made good.

"He has not made good -- not yet. Buyers are what will show whether he has made good or not. Now I have here the statistics of the number of pieces of property sold in --"

"Oh! Your old statistics!" Dorothy cried. "I hate them!"

"And you have good reason to hate them," said Mr. Booth. "They show that Jim is not entitled to a ten-thousand-dollar salary. He has not earned it. Our sales don't show it. And perhaps if he gave just a little more time to making Sandona known to America and a little less time to hanging around you morning, noon, and night, he might be doing something worth while."

"He doesn't hang around me morn --" Dorothy had begun indignantly, when Mr. Booth's butler entered bearing a silver tray on which lay a telegram.

"For me?" asked Mr. Booth, reaching out his hand.

"For Mr. Hobart, sir," said the butler. "The boy was told at the office that Mr. Hobart would probably be here."

"You bet he would probably be here -- if Dorothy was," said Mr. Booth while Jim Hobart ripped open the envelope. The young man read the telegram, and the look of woe that had been sitting around on his face departed. He grinned.

"Please read that, sir," he said, handing the telegram to Mr. Booth. "It is from Noel Blake, who was in my class at college and who is now with Brill & Forester, the book publishers. It is rather good news, I think, sir."

Mr. Booth took the telegram and adjusted his eye-glasses carefully and read:

CONGRATULATIONS OLD HORSE KATE FINCH GIVES SANDONA WHOLE CHAPTER IN HER NEW BOOK A FLIGHT THROUGH FLORIDA OUT YESTERDAY AND ALL NEW YORK TALKING ABOUT IT STOP WHOLE WORLD WILL KNOW ABOUT SANDONA IN A WEEK STOP AM SAVING UP FOR THAT PRESENT

"I told him, in one of my letters, that you had said Dorothy and I might be married when I was worth ten thousand dollars to you," Jim explained modestly. "That is what he meant, sir."

"Hum!" said Mr. Booth. "Well, maybe you have done something this time. I suppose you primed this Finch woman to give Sandona a good boost in this book of hers, did you?"

"Well, I wouldn't go quite as far as saying that, sir," said Jim. "You can't prime a woman of Kate Finch's importance -- not out-and-out prime her, as you might say."

"But of course," said Dorothy quickly, "Jim is entitled to any credit; he's the only publicity man for Sandona."

To this Mr. Booth said nothing. He rang for another lemonade, and while he was waiting for it Jim and Dorothy slipped away. They stepped into Jim's classy roadster -- furnished free by the company -- and drove to the telegraph office.

Jim was in a hurry and he broke what speed limit remained in Sandona -- he wanted to wire Noel Blake to send a copy of A Flight through Florida by the first mail leaving New York.

Jimmy Hobart was not in love with Dorothy Booth in any ordinary way. The moment he first saw her in New York he knew not only that she was the only girl for him, but that she was his entire life and reason for living.

He was in good condition, 145 pounds weight, when he met her, pulse and temperature normal; but she went with her father to the sandy Florida shore the next day -- the shore that was to become Sandona -- and by spring Jimmy was down to 129, pulse erratic, temperature subnormal, appetite nil, and color bad.

With the hot weather Dorothy returned to New York and let Jimmy know she had returned, and he immediately began gaining flesh at the rate of a pound a day, his cheeks became rosy, his eyes sparkled, and his appetite became ferocious.

When he held Dorothy's hand his pulse beat like a drum. The advertising agency for which he had once worked discharged him -- he was never on the job, but always with or near Dorothy.

Dorothy was little, if any, less in love, and when she had begged and pleaded with her father to be allowed to marry Jimmy instanter, and had kept this up until Mr. Booth was almost mad, the president of the Sandona Development Company did the thing he thought wise and gave Jimmy the job of publicity man for the new town.

But he told Dorothy flatly that until Jimmy made good and was worth $10,000 a year there would be no marrying.

"He may be all right," he told her, "and he appears to be clean and honest, but I'm leery of these young pop-ups. I'll see what he has in him; but his concern fired him, and that's bad. I'll hand him over to Brainlaw -- and Brainlaw won't stand any nonsense."

Sandona Florida

When Jimmy heard this he almost kissed Mr. Booth's boots. He was to be near Dorothy and he was to labor for Dorothy's own father, and he began his work of making Sandona known to America in a spirit of eager enthusiasm.

But, of course, there were many other up-and-coming Florida developments shouting for attention, and some of them had publicity men of such experience and wisdom that, compared with them, Jimmy Hobart was a mere unlaid egg.

However, he did his best. He did so well that while Sandona was still mostly sand and stakes and pine-barren, it began to be mentioned in the newspapers. And at the close of the first year Mr. Booth told Brainlaw to boost Jimmy's pay from the original $2,000 to a neat $5,000. The Sandona Tarpon Tournament accounted for part of that.

When Jimmy had sent his telegram to Noel Blake asking for a copy of A Flight through Florida, he went out of the telegraph office and got into the roadster.

"This is going to be good, Dot," he said. "Far be it from me to put over anything on your dear old father, but if little Jimmy-boy can hook himself on to this Kate Finch thing, it will be wedding bells for us. We'll go around to the office right now and see if I put this Kate Finch lady on our mailing list. If I did we're all jake; if I didn't --"

"You could write a card and after you put it there it would be there," Dorothy said. "All's fair in love and war, isn't it?"

"In a manner of speaking," Jimmy said, "anything is fair in love and real estate. A famous lady like Kate Finch should be on our mailing list in any event. It is my duty to Sandona to put her on if she isn't on."

"Of course it is! " said Dorothy cheerfully, and they drove to the company office.

When Jimmy entered the main office, which was done in the Moorish-Italian-Spanish style, Joseph Brainlaw had just kicked a wicker wastebasket across the room and was pounding on a desk with his fist, uttering cries of anger and distress. In his other hand he held the telegram from Henry Williams. As he saw Jimmy he raised both hands above his head and shouted.

"You!" he ejaculated. "You! You! You!" And then words failed him, and he gurgled and thrust the telegram at Jimmy.

Jimmy had an intuition that he had done something that did not please Mr. Brainlaw. He took the yellow sheet and stepped back out of fist range while Mr. Brainlaw alternately swelled like a tree toad's throat and deflated like a punctured blister, turning from red to purple and from purple to red. Jimmy read the telegram twice.

"She must have been here December twelfth," he said feebly.

"December twelfth! Doves! Innumerable doves! Doves of Sandona! "cried Mr. Brainlaw. He seemed to choke on the doves. "You've doved us! And that's all you can say -- 'December twelfth'! What do you mean, December twelfth?"

"When the Amalgamated Association of Master Plumbers was here in convention," said Jimmy. "That was December twelfth. She must have been here then."

"Don't I know that? " shouted Mr. Brainlaw. "You don't have to tell me that, do you? 'White doves! Innumerable white doves'!"

He might have choked to death, but Mr. Booth interrupted him, entering the office in haste.

"What's all this? What's the terrible thing you were trying to splutter over the phone?" he demanded. "What do you want to see me in such a rush for?"

"Doves!" cried Mr. Brainlaw. "He -- he -- that -- that --"

He could not think of a sufficiently base name for Jimmy, and stood shaking his finger at him, and Dorothy, who had entered behind her father, took his hand and pulled it down.

"Don't you point your finger at Jimmy in that tone of voice!" she ordered. "I won't have him called names by anybody's finger!"

"He's ruined Sandona," said Mr. Brainlaw. "We'll be laughed off the earth. Doves! Read that telegram from Williams."

Mr. Booth, with Dorothy standing on tiptoe to read over his shoulder, read the telegram.

"I know what happened," said Brainlaw bitterly. "I told him not to make that plumbers' convention a vaudeville show. I told him not to get that bird-woman."

He referred to Senorita Martinez and her World-Famous Bevy of Trained Doves.

"Well, we had to do something, didn't we?" asked Jimmy. "We didn't have anything here but sand and water and the golf course, and plumbers don't play golf. We had to amuse them somehow. They loved the doves. We couldn't let them toss horseshoes three days."

"It's plain enough what happened," said Mr. Brainlaw. "This writer woman -- this Kate Finch -- saw the doves. She never stopped here. She went through on the train and she saw the Martinez woman showing off her doves in the Plazetto. She thought they were native doves -- doves like they have in Italy or wherever those doves are. 'Innumerable doves'!

"My gosh! 'The doves of Sandona'! And there ain't a dove within a thousand miles of here -- not even a pigeon. There'll be thousands of visitors here now, and we won't have a dove to show them. Not even one blasted tail feather."

"We might make a joke of it," said Jimmy, but not very hopefully. "We might say the Sandona Chicken Farm's chickens were what she meant. They've got over two thousand chickens out there now -- white Leghorns. They're white."

"Don't be a fool," said Mr. Brainlaw. "I know what that woman saw -- she saw white doves flying all over the Plazetto. You'll see what she says when that book gets here. You can't make white Leghorns fly around in the air like a lot of blasted eagles."

"We might get a lot of feathers -- white chicken feathers -- and scatter them in the Plazetto," suggested Jimmy, "and say there had been a sudden dove epidemic -- glanders or something."

"Glanders are not a dove disease," said Mr. Brainlaw scornfully. "Glanders are a kind of female duck. We'd look nice telling the world Sandona was the sort of place that gave doves epidemics, wouldn't we?"

"We could say the doves saw Brainlaw and it poisoned them," said Jimmy viciously.

"Now, gentlemen," said Mr. Booth soothingly, "let us avoid personalities. This is no time for them. This is a very serious matter. In a very few days Sandona will be known throughout the land as the City of Doves. We have no alternative -- we must have doves, innumerable doves, white doves. The Plazetto must be full of doves when the tourists begin to arrive."

"Now somebody is talking sense," said Mr. Brainlaw.

"We must telegraph today for doves," said Mr. Booth. "I don't know where to get doves, but Henry Williams can look that up in New York. Send him a wire, Brainlaw, to buy immediately and ship at once -- by airplane if possible -- enough doves to be innumerable. How many doves," he asked doubtfully, "do you think would be enough to look like innumerable? "

"Senorita Martinez had one hundred," said Jimmy helpfully.

"We will have Williams buy five hundred," said Mr. Booth with vigor. "What do you suppose white doves cost?"

No one had any idea, because no one there had ever bought a white dove. Mr. Brainlaw said he had once bought a squab, but that was in a restaurant and the squab was broiled.

He had paid two dollars for it, but -- if he remembered rightly -- there was some vegetable came with it. He had an idea the vegetable was asparagus. But, he added, it must be remembered that squab was not necessarily dove. It was probably pigeon and not full-grown pigeon at that.

Say one dollar for a squab and you could reckon a full-sized pigeon at one dollar fifty and be on the safe side. Then add fifty cents because a dove was a dove and not a pigeon.

That made two dollars. Then add fifty cents because a white dove was a special color or "select," as you might say -- and you had two dollars and fifty cents. Say three dollars. That would mean $1,500 for 500 white doves.

"Yes. Just so!" said Mr. Booth thoughtfully. "But will the doves stay here when we get them here? A dove is a sort of pigeon, isn't it? And don't pigeons always go home? "

"Thunderation, yes!" said Mr. Brainlaw, deflating suddenly. "It is no good buying a lot of doves that will go right home again."

"But would they go home?" asked Jimmy sarcastically. "Isn't Sandona the beauty spot of the whole world? Wouldn't the doves be fascinated by the unequaled natural situation, the perfect climate, fishing such as is unequaled in America, an ideal golf course, the superb Plazetto, the gondola-studded canalettos, the cuisine of the modern and even luxurious hoteletto, and the easy terms on which real estatetto is sold? Couldn't Mr. Brainlaw read to the doves one of our circulars and thus convince them that home is nothing like Sandona? When you are through talking nonsense I'll tell you what to do."

"What?" asked Mr. Booth.

"Send for Senorita Martinez and her birds, of course!" said Jimmy. "Any one not crazy with the heat would have thought of that immediately. Telegraph to her agent and engage her and her birds for the winter. You'll have the very birds Kate Finch saw -- the birds she went mad over. They will flutter about the Plazetto.

"They will alight on her arms and head. They will glitter in the golden sunshine as they circle over the canalettos and swing hither and yon around the campanile of the hoteletto.

They won't depart, because their home is the coop Senorita Martinez brings with her. Will you send the telegram or shall I?"

"I will send it," said Mr. Brainlaw, and Jimmy turned on his heel and went out to his roadster.

"Jimmy," said Dorothy, "you are wonderful!"

"Gee whiz! That was a close squeak!" he replied. "I saved my bacon that time. If they had sent for a lot of assorted doves, my time would have been up -- mine the crime but theirs the mending of it."

"Do you think she will come? "

"Sure to," said Jimmy confidently. "I had quite a talk with her when she was here before, and she was blue enough. The dove show is on the blink, she says -- no engagements any more. She'll jump at a contract such as your father will offer her."

In this supposition Jimmy was right. Even before the airplane arrived with the copy of A Flight through Florida, a return telegram came from the agent of Senorita Martinez accepting the Sandona Development Company's proffered contract for a full winter's engagement for the senorita and her birds.

"Senorita and her birds accept," said the telegram, and Jimmy danced a jig of joy.

"Who put Sandona on the map?" he asked Dorothy excitedly.

"You did, darling," she answered instantly.

The copy of Kate Finch's book arrived by airplane, and Mr. Booth read the Sandona-dove chapter. Mr. Brainlaw read it. Jimmy and Dorothy, heads close together, read it. Every one read it.

Jimmy prepared an entire new line of advertising copy headed, "Sandona, the City of Doves," and telegraphed it to New York, wiring the best lagoon and campanile artist to do a new series of pictures of Sandona with doves simply littering the Plazetto and filling the amazingly blue sky with graceful blobs of white.

"Rush your arrival," Brainlaw wired the senorita. "Influx of tourists due any day. Wire answer."

"Leaving tonight," was the answer.

The delegation that went to the Moorish-Spanish-Italian station to welcome the senorita was not large, but it was important. Mr. Booth was there and so were Brainlaw and Jimmy and Dorothy.

"There she is!" Dorothy exclaimed, as the slender figure of Senorita Martinez appeared on the car steps, beaming smiles.

"Sooch a gladness to be here in theese so nice warm place again!" the senorita declared. "And theese is Meester Chimmy 'Obart -- I remember heem so veil! And Meester Prainlaw -- yes? And Mees Dorotea and Meester Boot'. So glad! How do?"

"We are glad to have you here, too," said Mr. Booth. "Never gladder to have any one arrive in Sandona, I can tell you. And how are the birds? "

"Choost fine! Like good angels they travel theese long way. I have the good luck, hey? -- one hunder' birds and not one seek."

"One hundred? That's good," said Mr. Booth. "And all white, I hope."

"All vite?" laughed the senorita. "No; I do not like theese vite cockatoos; I have the vite doves long enough -- now I have the gay colors of birds. You shall see; sooch beautiful parrots! "

"Parrots!" cried Mr. Booth. "Did you say parrots? Haven't you got doves? "

"Doves -- poof!" said Senorita Martinez lightly. "One hunder' parrots! Nobody wants to see the dove any more. You will see how clever are the parrots of Senorita Martinez! "

"Holy smoke!" exclaimed Mr. Brainlaw. "And she has a six-months contract!"

Dorothy drew Jimmy to one side and fell behind the others.

"Jimmy dear," she said earnestly, "don't you think that you had better drive up to Jacksonville or Georgia or somewhere right away and not be here for a while? I'm afraid papa and Mr. Brainlaw are not going to be nice about this."

"I'll stick it out," Jimmy said in a resolute tone. "I'll not run like a kicked dog."

"But, Jimmy sweet," urged Dorothy, "you won't have to run like a kicked dog. You can get into your roadster and go. There's nothing papa hates as he hates parrots. He's vicious about parrots."

"What did parrots ever do to him?"

"A parrot bit him on the thumb, Jimmy," Dorothy said, "and his thumb swelled up, and his whole arm swelled up and turned purple and green, and if father had not been so firm -- you know how firm he can be, Jimmy -- the hospital would have cut it off. The doctors said papa was especially subject to parrots; I mean parrots were particularly poisonous to papa."

"Gosh!" said Jimmy, but Martinez' happy laughter tinkled gaily in the silence that followed.

"Those dove!" she cried merrily. "I 'ave 'ad the good luck with those dove. I sell them for beeg money. You know Palmetora?"

They did know Palmetora; it was Sandona's rival development on the coast, fifty miles to the north.

"That Meester Walham that own Palmetora he thinks he make Palmetora sooch a lovely place with doves in the plaza like that Venice in Italy," said the senorita. "He has buy my doves."

"For the love of Mike!" cried Mr. Brainlaw, and Jimmy edged toward his roadster.

"I can get another job," he said to Dorothy.

"Don't marry anybody till you hear from me."

"You'd better go, darling," Dorothy urged. "Step on it quick, Jimmy -- papa's looking this way."

There was a whir of the starter, the gears bit, and the roadster and Jimmy shot away.

He made the first fifty miles in forty minutes, and as he reached the rich Moorish-Persian-Arabian plaza of Palmetora, he hardly slowed down. And, when a large purple car shot from a cross street into the plaza, he hit it a beautiful jolt and jammed it against the Bagdad fountain, to its temporary disablement.

Two men instantly leaped from the purple car, and the one with the flowing blue tie threw his hat on the ground and stamped on it.

"And now this!" he wailed. "My car!"

"Yeah!" cried the other man, shaking his fist under Jimmy's nose. "Who are you, driving through here like a crazy man? "

"My name is Hobart," Jimmy said. Two policemen came running from where they had been tossing horseshoes. "James Hobart."

"Hobart?" exclaimed the man with the blue tie excitedly. "Are you the publicity man for that Sandona place? Did you just come from there? Is there a Senorita Martinez there?"

"I'll say she's there!" Jimmy admitted.

"With parrots?"

"One hundred parrots; no cockatoos," Jimmy said. "Not a white bird in the lot."

Instantly the man with the blue tie picked up his hat and rushed away.

"What's the matter with him?" asked Jimmy. "Is he crazy?"

"He's our city-planner," said the man Jimmy had come so near sending to a final resting-place. "He's crazy all right. He came down on the train a half-hour ago and blew up like a ton of TNT. The doves did it."

"Doves?"

"A bunch of doves I bought to flutter in the plaza and make it look nice and romantic. He said doves would knock his plaza color scheme into a cocked hat.

"He said that putting doves in our plaza was like putting Mary's little lamb in a brass band. He sat down and cried a quart of tears into his hat -- said he had worked and struggled and bled to get us a rich, ripe color scheme. He said that even a pin-headed silurian ought to know that our plaza needed parrots."

"Parrots?" exclaimed Jimmy. "Did you say parrots? Where is he going now?"

"He heard that Senorita Martinez was to be in Sandona. He is going to telegraph her and see if he can get her parrots."

"Get in here," Jimmy said. "We have a six-months contract for those parrots -- an iron-clad contract -- and he can't get those parrots. But I can get them for you. I have a pull with Mr. Booth. I am like a son to him. Jump in this car."

They passed the panting city-planner a full block before they reached the telegraph office, and when that angry man arrived there Jimmy was already writing the telegram, shielding it from view.

WHILE OTHERS TALK I ACT STOP [the telegram read] HAVE SECURED DOVES FOR SANDONA STOP MY STERLING DIPLOMACY SUCCESSFUL STOP BY TREMENDOUS EXERTION HAVE INDUCED PALMETORA TO TAKE PARROTS OFF YOUR HANDS STOP

Two hours later Jimmy was back in Sandona, and the doves were on their way there in a truck.

"And how about my being worth ten thousand a year now, Mr. Booth?" Jimmy asked.

"When he is able to turn parrots into doves," said Dorothy, "he is certainly worth ten thousand a year to you. Suppose the parrots bit both your thumbs?"

"Dorothy," said Mr. Booth, "the cold fact is that James is not -- what is that, Brainlaw?"

"It is a telegram from Henry Williams."

TELEGRAPH IMMEDIATELY IF YOU HAVE DOVES IN THE PLAZETTO STOP IF SO KATE FINCH WILL BUY TEN ACRE PLOT AND MAKE SANDONA HER WINTER HOME.

"Of course we have doves!" said Mr. Booth briskly. "Wire Williams to guarantee innumerable white doves. And, as I was saying, Dorothy, James is not worth --"

He paused to cough behind his hand.

"-- is not worth a cent less than ten thousand dollars a year," he finished, "to me and the Sandona Development Company."

Which, you see, explains the photogravure that appeared in the newspapers not long after -- the one showing the bride and groom coming from the Italian-Spanish-Moorish chapel at Sandona with innumerable white doves fluttering in the sunshine above their heads.


BACK TO READING ROOM



HOME  |  BIOGRAPHY  |  BIBLIOGRAPHY  |  COVER ART  |  PERIODICALS  |  READING ROOM
ABOUT THIS SITE  |  FOOTNOTES  |  RESOURCES  |  PIGS IS PIGS  |  CONTACT US

Saturday, October 07 at 1:18:38am USA Central
This web site is Copyright © 2006 by the ANDMORE Companies. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Images for viewing only. All copyrights remain with the holder. No covers or publications for sale.
www.EllisParkerButler.Info is a research project of the ANDMORE Companies, Houston TX USA.