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A Heterophemist

A Heterophemist image
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The Seuthern Conf ederacy was only a few months oíd when a finaucial agent was sent to England on a very important mission. Mr. Blaak was a politician and a banker. He was also an elegant gentleman, with many influential acquaintances on both sides of the water. Before leaving Richmond he had a long talk with Memminger, the secretary of tlie treasury. "If I fiiid that England will aid us, " he said, "I will send you word by sonip reliable blockade runner. It will be a very brief message, bat you will understand it, while it will mean nothiug to the enemy if it should be intercepted. " The confidential agent slipped through the lines, and in less than a month was comfortably established in London. In the metropolis he found many southerners and many prominent Englishmen who sympathized with the secessionists. He saw Mr. Yancey, the Confedérate minister, every day, and the two worked together in harmony. Mr. Yancey was a practical man and was not long in coming to the conclusión that no aid was to be expected from the British government. "The abolition sentiment controls here, " he said to Mr. Blank. "Some of the statesmen would like to help the south in order to break up the Union, but the people will never consent. The south will have to fight alone. " Blank feit pretty blue when he heard this, and that night he wrote the single word "successful" on a thin slip of paper and skillf ully secreted it in an ordinary coat button. The next day he was visited by a southern friend, who remained with him f or an hour or more. During bis stay he removed the top button from bis coat and sewed on one given by Mr. Blank. "I understand it all," he said when he left. "If I get safely to Wilmington, I will go at once to Richmond and give this button to Mr. Memminger. I pref er not to know the nature of the message, as you say that it explains itself . ' ' "Yes," replied Blank, "it will be understood by the secretary, and as it ref ers to a state secret I cannot say anything about it. ' ' The two shook hands, and the gentleman with the precious button took the next train for Liverpool, where he boarded a steamer bound for Wilmington. The steamer was chased by Federal cruisers, but she managed to reach her destination without any serious mishap. In the course of two or three days the rnysterions traveler called on Mr. Meinrninger in Riclimond and presented him with a button. The secretary cut off its covering in a hurry and smiled when he read the word "successful. " "Did Mr. Blank show this message to yon?" he asked. "No. We both thought it best that I should remain in ignorance so that no telltale expression of my face would betray anything if the enemy captured me." At a meeting of the cabine that afternoon Mr. Memminger was in high spirits. He predicted that the war would be over in 90 days and said that England was preparing to recognize the Confederacy and send over her warships to break the blockade. ' 'I have this, ' ' he said, "from my confidential agent, Mr. Blank. ' ' The name commanded respect, and when the secretary said that under the circumstances a loan of $15,000,000 negotiated in Europe would be sufficient everybody agreed with him. The weeks rolled on, and Erlanger in Paris advertised for bids for 15, 000, 000 in Confedérate bonds. Mr. Blank read this at his London hotel and dropped his paper in his agitation. "Well, I'll be d d!" he remarked. "Must be a mistake. I'll run over and see about it. " The next day he was at Erlanger's office in Paris. The French banker informed his visitor that there was no mistake, and then Blank swore vigorously. The bids rushed in from all quarters. If the demands of these speculators had been met, $500, 000, 000 in Confedérate bonds could have been sold. When this fact became known, Mr. Blank again relapsed into profanity. He could not stand it, and, despite the danger of the trip, he made his arrangements to return home. His interview with Memminger was a stormy one when he arrived at Richmond. "I intended to write 'unsuccessful!' " he said after a long talk. "Well, there is your message, "replied the secretary. "You wrote 'successful. ' ' ' "I don't uuderstand it, " said Mr. Blank sadly. ' ' Surely your advices from Mr. Yancey should have warned you that there was something wrong. " "His dispatches were intercepted, " answered the other. "I don't understand it, " repeated Mr. Blank. "Perhaps I do," quietly remarked the secretary. "I have carefully noted your talk this morning, and I have discovered that yon are a heterophemist. Por instance, you say London when you mean Richmond and Richmond when you mean London. Yon similarly misuse the names of other places and persons and are unconscious of it. When you sent me that message, the word 'unsuccessful' was in your mind, but, being a heterophemist, you wrote an opposite word and ruiued the Conf ederacy. ' ' "I may have made a mistake, sir, " said Mr. Blank, rising from his chair, "but I am neither a lunatic nor an idiot. I have the honor to bid you good mxiruuig. ' ' Heterophemy is a fatal thing in ploraacy.


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