O henry cabbages and kings


By O Henry


The Proem
The Lotus and the Bottle
Cupid’s Exile Number Two
The Phonograph and the Graft
Money Maze
The Admiral
The Flag Paramount
The Shamrock and the Palm
The Remnants of the Code
Masters of Arts
Rouge et Noir
Two Recalls
The Vitagraphoscope


The Proem

By the Carpenter

They will tell you in Anchuria, that President Miraflores, of that
Volatile republic, died by his own hand in the coast town of Coralio;
That he had reached thus far in flight from the inconveniences of
An imminent revolution; and that one hundred thousand dollars,
Government funds, which he carried with him in an American leather
Valise as a souvenir of his tempestuous administration, was never
Afterward recovered.

For a ~real~, a boy will show you his grave. It is back of the town
Near a little bridge that spans a mangrove swamp. A plain slab of
Wood stands at its head. Some one has burned upon the headstone with
A hot iron this inscription:


It is characteristic of this buoyant people that they pursue no man
Beyond the grave. “Let God be his judge!” – Even with the hundred
Thousand unfound, though they greatly coveted, the hue and cry went
No further than that.

To the stranger or the guest the people of Coralio will relate the
Story of the tragic end of their former president; how he strove
To escape from the country with the publice funds and also with Dona
Isabel Guilbert, the young American opera singer; and how, being
Apprehended by members of the opposing

political party in Coralio,
He shot himself through the head rather than give up the funds, and,
In consequence, the Senorita Guilbert. They will relate further
That Dona Isabel, her adventurous bark of fortune shoaled by the
Simultaneous loss of her distinguished admirer and the souvenir
Hundred thousand, dropped anchor on this stagnant coast, awaiting
A rising tide.

They say, in Coralio, that she found a prompt and prosperous tide
In the form of Frank Goodwin, an American resident of the town,
An investor who had grown wealthy by dealing in the products of
The country – a banana king, a rubber prince, a sarsaparilla, indigo
And mahogany baron. The Senorita Guilbert, you will be told, married
Senor Goodwin one month after the president’s death, thus, in the
Very moment when Fortune had ceased to smile, wresting from her
A gift greater than the prize withdrawn.

Of the American, Don Frank Goodwin, and of his wife the natives have
Nothing but good to say. Don Frank has lived among them for years,
And has compelled their respect. His lady is easily queen of what
Social life the sober coast affords. The wife of the governor of the
District, herself, who was of the proud Castilian family of Monteleon
Y Dolorosa de los Santos y Mendez, feels honored to unfold her napkin
With olive-hued, ringed hands at the table of Senora Goodwin. Were
You to refer (with your northern prejudices) to the vivacious past
Of Mrs. Goodwin when her audacious and gleeful abandon in light opera
Captured the mature president’s fancy, or to her share in that
Statesman’s downfall and malfeasance, the Latin shrug of the shoulder
Would be your only answer and rebuttal. What prejudices there were
In Coralio concerning Senora Goodwin seemed now to be in her favor,
Whatever they had been in the past.

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O henry cabbages and kings