There’s nothing quite like a fight between gentlemen. And that’s what’s happening in the Southeast, where General Ken Thompson and Admiral L. Phillip Humann are dueling over the marriage of Miss Leslie Baker.

Poor Leslie, she really didn’t want to get married at all. She preferred being Leslie, the spinster, but she slipped on the banana peel of bad loans and low reserves, hurt her back, and now needs the support of a sinewy man.

But her suitors are enamored by what they now see, with General Ken of First Union and Admiral Phillip of SunTrust lusting after Miss Leslie of Wachovia. In April, General Ken and Miss Leslie announced their en-gagement, and they seemed, oh, so happy. Little did anyone know that Miss Leslie had been seeing Sir Phillip on the sly late last year, and making serious plans for a wedding of their own. Admiral Phillip was broken-hearted and, to say the least, bewildered when Miss Leslie suddenly dropped the engagement plans in December without saying why.

Understandably, the Admiral became even more upset when he learned in April that Miss Leslie had agreed to wed General Ken. Upsetting Phillip even more was that Miss Leslie was marrying below her class. She was taking off with a man who was little more than a sharecropper. True, both Miss Leslie and General Ken come from the province of North Carolina, and Admiral Phillip comes from the province of Georgia, but Phillip, like Miss Leslie, stems from the same aristocratic stock. Indeed, during their secret courtship, Admiral Phillip and Miss Leslie giggled about the crudeness of General Ken.

Outraged, Phillip vowed from his Atlanta mansion last month that he would stop Miss Leslie’s plans to marry General Ken, and that he would force the House of Wachovia to be absorbed by the House of SunTrust. It is questionable whether Admiral Phillip loves Miss Leslie anymore, or whether he merely wants revenge. In all probability, if Admiral Phillip succeeds, Miss Leslie will live without love in her cold mansion.

Nobody quite knows why Miss Leslie changed her mind last December. Admiral Phillip had agreed that she could wear the pants in the family for a while. Phillip would have played a secondary role in running the domain. And the domain would have borne the name of the House of Wachovia. "What more could she have wanted?" moans Admiral Phillip.

Some say Miss Leslie may be enamored of size. SunTrust isn’t small, with almost $104 billion in assets, but First Union is much bigger, with assets of $253 billion. Also, First Union’s domain spreads across much of the Eastern seaboard, while SunTrust’s region is primarily in the Southeast. (Maybe Miss Leslie has another paramour up north, some say it may be Colonel Terry Murray of Fleet.)

Most shocking is that Miss Leslie has agreed to allow General Ken to be the boss. But, who knows what really will transpire between the sheets?

And titles may not mean that much. Admiral Phillip has a domineering personality, and his board of advisors cannot be cowed. General Ken has been head of the First Union domain for only a year or so, and his advisors may be more easily swayed by arguments from miss Leslie’s advisors — giving her the real power.

In any case, love—and hatred—are not rational, and how the story plays out probably will depend more on personalities than on what will be best for the kingdom.

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