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- Philip Dru: Administrator - 30/33 -
constant delight to both Gloria and Dru. Somewhere deep in her soul there was a serious stratum, but it never came to the surface. Neither Gloria nor Dru knew what was passing in those turbulent depths, and neither knew the silent heartaches when she was alone and began to take an inventory of her innermost self. She had loved Dru from the moment she first saw him at her home in Philadelphia, but with that her prescience in such matters as only women have, she knew that nothing more than his friendship would ever be hers. She sometimes felt the bitterness of woman's position in such situations. If Dru had loved her, he would have been free to pay her court, and to do those things which oftentimes awaken a kindred feeling in another. But she was helpless. An advancement from her would but lessen his regard, and make impossible that which she most desired. She often wondered what there was between Gloria and Dru. Was there an attachment, an understanding, or was it one of those platonic friendships created by common interests and a common purpose? She wished she knew. She was reasonably sure of Gloria. That she loved Dru seemed to admit of little doubt. But what of him? Did he love Gloria, or did his love encompass the earth, and was mankind ever to be his wife and mistress? She wished she knew. How imperturbable he was! Was he to live and die a fathomless mystery? If he could not be hers, her generous heart plead for Gloria. She and Gloria often talked of Dru. There was no fencing between these two. Open and enthusiastic admiration of Philip each expressed, but there were no confidences which revealed their hearts. Realizing that her love would never be reciprocated, Janet misled Philip as to her real feelings. One day when the three were together, she said, "Mr. Administrator, why don't you marry? It would add enormously to your popularity and it would keep a lot of us girls from being old maids." "How would it prevent your being an old maid, Janet?" said Dru. "Please explain." "Why, there are a lot of us that hope to have you call some afternoon, and ask us to be Mrs. Dru, and it begins to look to me as if some of us would be disappointed." Dru laughed and told her not to give up hope. And then he said more seriously--"Some day when my work here is done, I shall take your advice if I can find someone who will marry me." "If you wait too long, Philip, you will be so old, no one will want you," said Janet. "I have a feeling, Janet, that somewhere there is a woman who knows and will wait. If I am wrong, then the future holds for me many bitter and unhappy hours." Dru said this with such deep feeling that both Gloria and Janet were surprised. And Janet wondered whether this was a message to some unknown woman, or was it meant for Gloria? She wished she knew.
THE BROADENING OF THE MONROE DOCTRINE
In spite of repeated warnings from the United States, Mexico and the Central American Republics had obstinately continued their old time habit of revolutions without just cause, with the result that they neither had stable governments within themselves, nor any hope of peace with each other. One revolution followed another in quick succession, until neither life nor property was safe. England, Germany and other nations who had citizens and investments there had long protested to the American Government, and Dru knew that one of the purposes of the proposed coalition against the United States had been the assumption of control themselves. Consequently, he took active and drastic steps to bring order out of chaos. He had threatened many times to police these countries, and he finally prepared to do so.
Other affairs of the Dru administration were running smoothly. The Army was at a high standard of efficiency, and the country was fully ready for the step when Dru sent one hundred thousand men to the Rio Grande, and demanded that the American troops be permitted to cross over and subdue the revolutionists and marauding bandits.
The answer was a coalition of all the opposing factions and the massing of a large army of defense. The Central American Republics also joined Mexico, and hurriedly sent troops north.
General Dru took personal command of the American forces, crossed the Rio Grande at Laredo, and war was declared. There were a large number of Mexican soldiers at Monterey, but they fell back in order to get in touch with the main army below Saltillo.
General Dru marched steadily on, but before he came to Saltillo, President Benevides, who commanded his own army, moved southward, in order to give the Central American troops time to reach him. This was accomplished about fifty miles north of the City of Mexico. The allies had one hundred thousand men, and the American force numbered sixty thousand, Dru having left forty thousand at Laredo, Monterey and Saltillo.
The two armies confronted one another for five days, General Benevides waiting for the Americans to attack, while General Dru was merely resting his troops and preparing them for battle. In the meantime, he requested a conference with the Mexican Commander, and the two met with their staffs midway between the opposing armies.
General Dru urged an immediate surrender, and fully explained his plans for occupation, so that it might be known that there was to be no oppression. He pointed out that it had become no longer possible for the United States to ignore the disorder that prevailed in Mexico and those countries south of it, for if the United States had not taken action, Europe would have done so. He expressed regret that a country so favored by God should be so abused by man, for with peace, order and a just administration of the government, Mexico and her sister republics, he felt sure, would take a high place in the esteem of the world. He also said that he had carefully investigated conditions, knew where the trouble lay, and felt sure that the mass of people would welcome a change from the unbearable existing conditions. The country was then, and had been for centuries, wrongfully governed by a bureaucracy, and he declared his belief that the Mexican people as a whole believed that the Americans would give them a greater measure of freedom and protection than they had ever known before.
Dru further told General Benevides that his army represented about all there was of opposition to America's offer of order and liberty, and he asked him to accept the inevitable, and not sacrifice the lives of the brave men in both commands.
Benevides heard him with cold but polite silence.
"You do not understand us, Senor Dru, nor that which we represent. We would rather die or be driven into exile than permit you to arrange our internal affairs as you suggest. There are a few families who have ruled Mexico since the first Spanish occupation, and we will not relinquish our hold until compelled to do so. At times a Juarez or a Diaz has attained to the Presidency, but we, the great families, have been the power behind each administration. The peons and canaille that you would educate and make our political equals, are now where they rightfully belong, and your endeavors in their behalf are misplaced and can have no result except disaster to them. Your great Lincoln emancipated many millions of blacks, and they were afterwards given the franchise and equal rights. But can they exercise that franchise, and have they equal rights? You know they have not. You have placed them in a worse position than they were before. You have opened a door of hope that the laws of nature forbid them to enter. So it would be here. Your theories and your high flown sentiment do you great credit, but, illustrious Senor, read the pages of your own history, and do not try to make the same mistake again. Many centuries ago the all knowing Christ advised the plucking of the mote from thine own eye before attempting to remove it from that of thy brother."
To this Dru replied: "Your criticism of us is only partly just. We lifted the yoke from the black man's neck, but we went too fast in our zeal for his welfare. However, we have taken him out of a boundless swamp where under the old conditions he must have wandered for all time without hope, and we have placed his feet upon firm ground, and are leading him with helping hands along the road of opportunity.
"That, though, Mr. President, is only a part of our mission to you. Our citizens and those of other countries have placed in your Republic vast sums for its development, trusting to your treaty guarantees, and they feel much concern over their inability to operate their properties, not only to the advantage of your people, but to those to whom they belong. We of Western Europe and the United States have our own theories as to the functions of government, theories that perhaps you fail to appreciate, but we feel we must not only observe them ourselves, but try and persuade others to do likewise.
"One of these ideas is the maintenance of order, so that when our hospitable neighbors visit us, they may feel as to their persons and property, as safe as if they were at home.
"I am afraid our views are wide apart," concluded Dru, "and I say it with deep regret, for I wish we might arrive at an understanding without a clash at arms. I assure you that my visit to you is not selfish; it is not to acquire territory or for the aggrandizement of either myself or my country, but it is to do the work that we feel must be done, and which you refuse to do."
"Senor Dru," answered Benevides, "it has been a pleasure to meet you and discuss the ethics of government, but even were I willing to listen to your proposals, my army and adherents would not, so there is nothing we can do except to finish our argument upon the field of battle."
The interview was therefore fruitless, but Dru felt that he had done his duty, and he prepared for the morrow's conflict with a less heavy heart.
THE BATTLE OF LA TUNA
In the numbers engaged, in the duration and in the loss of life, the battle of La Tuna was not important, but its effect upon Mexico and the Central American Republics was epoch making.
The manner of attack was characteristic of Dru's methods. His interview with General Benevides had ended at noon, and word soon ran through the camp that peace negotiations had failed with the result that the army was immediately on the alert and eager for action. Dru did not attempt to stop the rumor that the engagement would occur at dawn the next day. By dusk every man was in readiness, but they did not have to wait until morning, for as soon as supper was eaten, to the surprise of everyone, word came to make ready for action and march upon the enemy. Of Dru's sixty thousand men, twenty thousand were cavalry, and these he sent to attack the Mexican rear. They were ordered to move quietly so as to get as near to the enemy as possible before being discovered.
It was not long before the Mexican outposts heard the marching of men and the rumble of gun carriages. This was reported to General Benevides and he rode rapidly to his front. A general engagement at nightfall was so unusual that he could not believe the movement meant anything more than General Dru's intention to draw nearer, so that he could attack in the morning at closer range.
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