Cabbages and Kings HTML version

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had ceased to smile, wresting from her a gift greater than the prize withdrawn.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