A B C D E F
G H I J K L M 

Total read books on site:
more than 10 000

You can read its for free!


Text on one page: Few Medium Many
E-text prepared by Earle C. Beach
and revised by Joseph E. Loewenstein, M.D.



Editorial note:

This volume is the only work of O. Henry which approaches
being a novel. The stories are related and should be read
in the sequence in which they occur in the text.


Project also has an HTML version of this
file which includes the original illustration.
See 2777-h.htm or 2777-h.zip:
(http://www..net/dirs/2/7/7/2777/2777-h/24910-h.htm)
or
(http://www..net/dirs/2/7/7/2777/2777-h.zip)





CABBAGES AND KINGS

by

O. HENRY

Author of "The Four Million," "The Voice of the City,"
"The Trimmed Lamp," "Strictly Business," "Whirligigs," Etc.







[ILLUSTRATION: "A little saint with a color more lightful
than orange" (frontispiece)]




"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things;
Of shoes and ships and sealing-wax,
And cabbages and kings."

THE WALRUS AND THE CARPENTER





CONTENTS

THE PROEM: BY THE CARPENTER
I. "FOX-IN-THE-MORNING"
II. THE LOTUS AND THE BOTTLE
III. SMITH
IV. CAUGHT
V. CUPID'S EXILE NUMBER TWO
VI. THE PHONOGRAPH AND THE GRAFT
VII. MONEY MAZE
VIII. THE ADMIRAL
IX. THE FLAG PARAMOUNT
X. THE SHAMROCK AND THE PALM
XI. THE REMNANTS OF THE CODE
XII. SHOES
XIII. SHIPS
XIV. MASTERS OF ARTS
XV. DICKY
XVI. ROUGE ET NOIR
XVII. TWO RECALLS
XVIII. 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:


RAMON ANGEL DE LAS CRUZES

Y MIRAFLORES

PRESIDENTE DE LA REPUBLICA

DE ANCHURIA

QUE SEA SU JUEZ DIOS


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 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 public funds and also with Doña
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 Señorita Guilbert. They will relate further
that Doña 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 Señorita Guilbert, you will be told, married
Señor 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 honoured to unfold her
napkin with olive-hued, ringed hands at the table of Señora 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 Señora Goodwin seemed now to be in her favour,
whatever they had been in the past.

It would seem that the story is ended, instead of begun; that the
close of tragedy and the climax of a romance have covered the ground
of interest; but, to the more curious reader it shall be some slight
instruction to trace the close threads that underlie the ingenuous
web of circumstances.

The headpiece bearing the name of President Miraflores is daily
scrubbed with soap-bark and sand. An old half-breed Indian tends the
grave with fidelity and the dawdling minuteness of inherited sloth.
He chops down the weeds and ever-springing grass with his machete, he
plucks ants and scorpions and beetles from it with his horny fingers,
and sprinkles its turf with water from the plaza fountain. There is
no grave anywhere so well kept and ordered.

Only by following out the underlying threads will it be made clear
why the old Indian, Galvez, is secretly paid to keep green the
grave of President Miraflores by one who never saw that unfortunate
statesman in life or in death, and why that one was wont to walk in
the twilight, casting from a distance looks of gentle sadness upon
that unhonoured mound.

Elsewhere than at Coralio one learns of the impetuous career
of Isabel Guilbert. New Orleans gave her birth and the mingled
French and Spanish creole nature that tinctured her life with such
turbulence and warmth. She had little education, but a knowledge of
men and motives that seemed to have come by instinct. Far beyond the
common woman was she endowed with intrepid rashness, with a love for
the pursuit of adventure to the brink of danger, and with desire for
the pleasures of life. Her spirit was one to chafe under any curb;
she was Eve after the fall, but before the bitterness of it was felt.
She wore life as a rose in her bosom.

Of the legion of men who had been at her feet it was said that but
one was so fortunate as to engage her fancy. To President Miraflores,
the brilliant but unstable ruler of Anchuria, she yielded the key to
her resolute heart. How, then, do we find her (as the Coralians would
have told you) the wife of Frank Goodwin, and happily living a life
of dull and dreamy inaction?

The underlying threads reach far, stretching across the sea.
Following them out it will be made plain why "Shorty" O'Day, of the
Columbia Detective Agency, resigned his position. And, for a lighter
pastime, it shall be a duty and a pleasing sport to wander with Momus
beneath the tropic stars where Melpomene once stalked austere. Now to
cause laughter to echo from those lavish jungles and frowning crags
where formerly rang the cries of pirates' victims; to lay aside pike
and cutlass and attack with quip and jollity; to draw one saving
titter of mirth from the rusty casque of Romance--this were pleasant
to do in the shade of the lemon-trees on that coast that is curved
like lips set for smiling.

For there are yet tales of the Spanish Main. That segment of
continent washed by the tempestuous Caribbean, and presenting to the
sea a formidable border of tropical jungle topped by the overweening
Cordilleras, is still begirt by mystery and romance. In past times
buccaneers and revolutionists roused the echoes of its cliffs, and
the condor wheeled perpetually above where, in the green groves,
they made food for him with their matchlocks and toledos. Taken and
retaken by sea rovers, by adverse powers and by sudden uprising of
rebellious factions, the historic 300 miles of adventurous coast has
scarcely known for hundreds of years whom rightly to call its master.
Pizarro, Balboa, Sir Francis Drake, and Bolivar did what they could
to make it a part of Christendom. Sir John Morgan, Lafitte and other
eminent swash-bucklers bombarded and pounded it in the name of
Abaddon.

The game still goes on. The guns of the rovers are silenced; but the
tintype man, the enlarged photograph brigand, the kodaking tourist
and the scouts of the gentle brigade of fakirs have found it out, and
carry on the work. The hucksters of Germany, France, and Sicily now
bag its small change across their counters. Gentleman adventurers
throng the waiting-rooms of its rulers with proposals for railways
and concessions. The little _opéra-bouffe_ nations play at government
and intrigue until some day a big, silent gunboat glides into the
offing and warns them not to break their toys. And with these changes
comes also the small adventurer, with empty pockets to fill, light of
heart, busy-brained--the modern fairy prince, bearing an alarm clock
with which, more surely than by the sentimental kiss, to awaken the
beautiful tropics from their centuries' sleep. Generally he wears a
shamrock, which he matches pridefully against the extravagant palms;
and it is he who has driven Melpomene to the wings, and set Comedy to
dancing before the footlights of the Southern Cross.

So, there is a little tale to tell of many things. Perhaps to the
promiscuous ear of the Walrus it shall come with most avail; for in
it there are indeed shoes and ships and sealing-wax and cabbage-palms
and presidents instead of kings.

Add to these a little love and counterplotting, and scatter
everywhere throughout the maze a trail of tropical dollars--dollars
warmed no more by the torrid sun than by the hot palms of the scouts
of Fortune--and, after all, here seems to be Life, itself, with talk
enough to weary the most garrulous of Walruses.




I

"FOX-IN-THE-MORNING"


Coralio reclined, in the mid-day heat, like some vacuous beauty
lounging in a guarded harem.



Pages: | 1 | | 2 | | 3 | | 4 | | 5 | | 6 | | 7 | | 8 | | 9 | | 10 | | 11 | | 12 | | 13 | | 14 | | 15 | | 16 | | 17 | | 18 | | 19 | | 20 | | 21 | | 22 | | 23 | | 24 | | 25 | | 26 | | 27 | | 28 | | 29 | | 30 | | 31 | | 32 | | 33 | | 34 | | 35 | | 36 | | Next |

N O P Q R S T
U V W X Y Z 

Your last read book:

You dont read books at this site.