“Failure to fire a twenty-one-gun salute to the American flag?” fumes Mr. K. “After all the damage to property owned by American interests in Mexico? After all the seized assets?”
The Colonel interrupts. “After the continuous transgressions all along the border from Brownsville to El Paso? Governor Colquitt has begged and begged Washington to let him take action. Secretary Bryan kept telling him to turn the other cheek.”
Mr. K strides back and forth, back and forth. “Now President Wilson,” is using the flimsy excuse of the Tampico incident, tantamount to nothing, to invade Vera Cruz. The seven seized sailors were released as soon as the Mexican commander realized the error of his subordinates. He sent a formal written apology to Admiral Mayo. But the war-hungry admiral demanded the American flag be raised and a twenty-one-gun salute.”
“Thought the prophecies of the Book of Revelation were coming true last night!” John hangs his hat and umbrella on the stand just inside the door of Mr. K’s office.
“My best hens,” responds Mr. K, “never laid an egg as large as those hailstones plummeting down from the heavens. Half the slate tiles from my roof lie splintered on the ground. Both greenhouses shattered. All their contents destroyed.”
“Your financial loss must be enormous,” remarks Andy. “I am so sorry, sir.”
“Approximately 5,000 dollars. But my mourning is not monetary. Insurance will replace the roof and the glass. But those rare specimens of orchids I collected and cultivated? Irreplaceable.”