Cabbages and Kings HTML version

V. Cupid's Exile Number Two
The United States of America, after looking over its stock of consular timber, selected
Mr. John De Graffenreid Atwood, of Dalesburg, Alabama, for a successor to Willard
Geddie, resigned.
Without prejudice to Mr. Atwood, it will have to be acknowledged that, in this instance,
it was the man who sought the office. As with the self-banished Geddie, it was nothing
less than the artful smiles of lovely woman that had driven Johnny Atwood to the
desperate expedient of accepting office under a despised Federal Government so that he
might go far, far away and never see again the false, fair face that had wrecked his young
life. The consulship at Coralio seemed to offer a retreat sufficiently removed and
romantic enough to inject the necessary drama into the pastoral scenes of Dalesburg life.
It was while playing the part of Cupid's exile that Johnny added his handiwork to the long
list of casualties along the Spanish Main by his famous manipulation of the shoe market,
and his unparalleled feat of elevating the most despised and useless weed in his own
country from obscurity to be a valuable product in international commerce.
The trouble began, as trouble often begins instead of ending, with a romance. In
Dalesburg there was a man named Elijah Hemstetter, who kept a general store. His
family consisted of one daughter called Rosine, a name that atoned much for
"Hemstetter." This young woman was possessed of plentiful attractions, so that the young
men of the community were agitated in their bosoms. Among the more agitated was
Johnny, the son of Judge Atwood, who lived in the big colonial mansion on the edge of
It would seem that the desirable Rosine should have been pleased to return the affection
of an Atwood, a name honored all over the state long before and since the war. It does
seem that she should have gladly consented to have been led into that stately but rather
empty colonial mansion. But not so. There was a cloud on the horizon, a threatening,
cumulus cloud, in the shape of a lively and shrewd young farmer in the neighborhood
who dared to enter the lists as a rival to the high-born Atwood.
One night Johnny propounded to Rosine a question that is considered of much
importance by the young of the human species. The accessories were all there--
moonlight, oleanders, magnolias, the mockingbird's song. Whether or no the shadow of
Pinkney Dawson, that prosperous young farmer came between them on that occasion is
not known; but Rosine's answer was unfavorable. Mr. John De Graffenreid Atwood
bowed till his hat touched the lawn grass, and went away with his head high, but with a
sore wound in his pedigree and heart. A Hemstetter refuse an Atwood! Zounds!
Among other accidents of that year was a Democratic president. Judge Atwood was a
warhorse of Democracy. Johnny persuaded him to set the wheels moving for some
foreign appointment. He would go away--away. Perhaps in years to come Rosine would