from the Collection «The Four Million»
One evening, in a crowded café, a man found himself sitting at a table with two vacant chairs. Soon, a man named E. Rushmore Coglan joined him, claiming to be a true cosmopolite with no attachment to any specific place.
He spoke of his travels around the world and his belief that people should be citizens of the world, not tied down to their hometowns or countries. The man was intrigued by Coglan's perspective and believed he had found a genuine cosmopolite.
What does it matter where a man is from? Is it fair to judge a man by his post-office address?
As they conversed, a band in the café began playing "Dixie," a song that stirred up strong emotions among the patrons. A dark-haired young man, who had been sitting nearby, suddenly jumped up and waved his hat, yelling enthusiastically. He then joined the man and Coglan at their table, and the conversation continued.
Later in the evening, a loud commotion erupted in another part of the café. Coglan was engaged in a fierce fight with a stranger, and the two men were eventually escorted out by the waiters. The man, curious about the cause of the conflict, asked one of the waiters, McCarthy, for an explanation.
McCarthy revealed that the fight had started because the stranger had insulted the sidewalks and water supply of Coglan's hometown. Despite his earlier claims of being a cosmopolite with no attachment to any specific place, Coglan had fiercely defended his hometown of Mattawamkeag, Maine.
This incident demonstrated that even those who claim to be detached from their roots and consider themselves citizens of the world may still harbor strong feelings and loyalties towards their hometowns. It also served as a reminder that people's true feelings and attachments may not always align with the image they present to others.