One of the lesser stories, about the arrival of “consular timber” John Atwood to the island, described at one point, in anticipation of the book’s more famous phrase, as ” this grocery and fruit stand that they call a country.” Banana republic is a few stories further. “I didn’t take this job with any intention of working,” the young Atwood says. One night the Andador is spotted offshore, with a sloop going to it with a certain H.P. Mellinger, leaving the island for New York. Atwood is speaking with Keough, who tells him of Mellinger’s phonograph, and graft. Atwood wants to hear more. It’s in the next story.
A report of President Miraflores’s escape with a woman. He is reported to be at a hotel in Coralio, with a beautiful woman and a valise full of cash. Senor Goodwin goes there and finds all three. The alleged president shoots himself. Goodwin steals the money, launches a search for it, marries the woman and builds a house for them both. The picture above is by Robyn Stockwell.
None of the verve of “The Lotus and the Bottle,” “Smith,” named after an enigmatic passenger aboard a stop that stops by Coralio, is more of a recitative, the set-up to something not yet fascinating. Williard Geddie has gotten over his escapade after the bottle. He’s sober again. But O’Henry leaves us hanging, saying only of Smith’s appearance and disappearance that “In the nick of time he shall come to tell us why he strewed so many anxious cigar stumps around the cocoanut palm that night.”