The Fourth in Salvador (Henry)

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The Fourth in Salvador
Summary of the Short Story
from the Collection «Roads of Destiny»
Microsummary: An American man in Salvador, facing financial ruin, celebrated the Fourth of July with fellow expatriates, inadvertently aiding a local revolution and ultimately saving his business.

Billy Casparis, an American businessman, found himself in Salvador running an ice factory after losing his silver mine in Colorado. He had put up a thousand dollars as a guarantee to produce ice for six months, but the factory had not produced any ice for three weeks. On the eve of the Fourth of July, Billy and his friend Maximilian Jones decided to celebrate the holiday in Salvador, despite their financial troubles and homesickness.

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Billy Casparis — narrator; American ice factory owner in Salvador; broke, homesick, and patriotic.
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Maximilian Jones — American interested in rubber and rosewood; homesick and patriotic.

You can’t appreciate home till you’ve left it, money till it’s spent, your wife till she’s joined a woman’s club, nor Old Glory till you see it hanging on a broomstick on the shanty of a consul in a foreign town.

They enlisted the help of General Mary Esperanza Dingo, a local politician, who promised to provide a cannon and soldiers to help them celebrate.

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General Mary Esperanza Dingo — Salvadorian general; studied medicine in Philadelphia; polite, intelligent, and supportive of American celebration.

The Americans, along with a British man named Sterrett, began their festivities with drinking and firing guns in the air. However, their celebration was interrupted by a company of the President's bodyguards, who chased General Dingo and his men.

We are few in numbers, but the welkin may as well reach out to push the button, for it’s got to ring.

The Americans, feeling a sense of patriotism and loyalty to their friend, decided to fight back against the bodyguards. They chased the guards through the town, eventually losing them in a banana grove. The next day, Billy discovered that their actions had inadvertently helped General Dingo's political party win a revolution, and the new administration rewarded him by returning his thousand-dollar deposit.

In the end, Billy saluted the American flag, grateful for the unexpected turn of events that allowed him to regain his lost money and celebrate his country's independence in a foreign land.