The Lotus and the Cockleburrs Page: 454
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The Lotus and the Cockleburrs
By O. HENRY
I I I' 1R1R are yet tales of the Spanish Main.
T Ihat grim coast washed by the tetn-
pesttuls C'aribean, and precsting to
the sea a fornidalile border of tropical jungle
topped byI l the overweening (Cordilleras, is
still begirt by mystery and romance.
bilccanclers and revolutionists have roused
the echolis of its cliffs, and the condor has
whcclcl plerIetually alove where, in the dark
green jungles, they made fiood for him with
their pikes and iutiasses. Taken anii rctaknc
h pirtcs, iby advcrse powers, and by suddenly
uprising of rebellious factiiins, the old tIwns
along the historic ;o30o miles Of a(entur(us
coast havic sicarcely known f1r hundreds (,f
years wh mii rightl tio cAii their Ilmaster. Pi-
zarro, h llboa, Sir Franis 1)rake, and l olii-
xar did what they could to make it a port 1of
Christcndon. Sir John Morgan, Laittc, and
other eminent sea-rovers, hubn1 ldc(I aind
pounded it in the nIlne of Abaddn.
The game still goes on11. 1Th1e tintype man,
the enlarged phiotograplh brigand, andl the
kodakiiig tourist have found it out. The
hucksters of (;crnnllv, FIrance, and Syria ha
its smiill change across their counters. 'The
getitleman adventurer throngs the waitinlg-
runs of its rulers with lropositions for rail-
way-s and concessions. The little, opera boutc
l;lillS pla at govelnmenlt and intrigue ll.
til some2 day a big, silent gunboat glides into
the oiting and warns them not to break their
tovs. It w as in these latter das that Johnny
:\twood added his handiwork to the list of
clsuatics along the Spanish Main by his fa-
ulll(ls manipulallti(on of the shoe market, alnd
his ilunparallcld feat (of elevating that despised
il useless \ vecd product, the cocklehurr, from
its oiscurity to be a valualc product it in in-
T'he trouble began, as trouble often begins
instead of endiin. with a romance. There
\xias a Ian 1 ilinedl I Icnlstctter, whoi came to)
the little Southern town where Johnny liv ed,
to opetn a general store. I is family consisted
of ione daughter called Rosinc, a name that
atoned much fort '1-lestetter." This young
woman was possessed iof sttlficient pulchritude
to agitate the young men of the community.
Johnny, who was among the more vioitl
agitated, was the son of Judgec \twood,whl,
lived in the colonial mansion near the ed0
of D alcshurg. 1Being a young man of adir,
and spirit, as well ;s a scion of one )f thecl es li
families in the State, it would seem that the
desirable Rosine should have been pleased t,
return his affection, and be receive into the
stately but rather empty colonial llanslion.
liut. no. There was a cloud on the ]horizon
in the shape of a lively and shrewd young
farmer in tile neighborhood who flared to en-
ter the lists ; a rival to the high-born .Atwood.
()ne night Johnny propouil cdd to Rosine
a question thas considered grt i c nireofgampor-
tince by the young. The accessories were
all there-moonlight, oleanders, magnoliis.
and the mock- Iird's song. Whether or n
the shadow of Pinkney ] )awson, the prosi,!.
outs young farmer, Came between them. is iit
known: but Johnny was declined. Ilesitat-
ingly, blushingly, flutteringly, it is true-but
declined. Could the blood of an Atwinl
brook declination? Johnny bowed to tlie
ground and .ent awayv with head high, but
mortified and bruised in his pedigree and
heart. A lieIstetter refuse an \Atwood'
nAmong other accidents of that xyear was:
)Democratic president. Judge Atwood w1as
a war-horse of D)emocracv. Johnny set th
wheels moving. He would go away-awaiy
Rosine should never look upon his face again:
Perhpils in ycrs to comk she would look bacd
with regret upon the pure and faithful loe
that etc., etc.
The wheels oIf politics revolved, and JIthn
I )e (.;raffenrlid Atwood was appointed IUnited
States Consul at iiora. Just 1ef(or lea i
he dropped ill at I emstctter's to say good-
by. Pink 1 )awso was there, of course, talk-
illg about his So-acre field. and the 3-nilt
meadow, and the 200-acre pasture, aund tlhe
40o-acre hill-tract. Johnny shook hands wi'
Rosine as coolly as if he were only going to
run up to Vicksburg for a week.
If vou happen to strike a go d thing in
tihe way of 1n iInvestmlcnt down11 there, JTuhnny.
C I -r r -r' I II III
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Reference the current page of this Prose (Fiction).
Henry, O., 1862-1910. The Lotus and the Cockleburrs, prose (fiction), October 1903; New York. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth139429/m1/3/: accessed August 14, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.