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Roads Of Destiny And Other Stories

By O. Henry ( William Sidney Porter )

About This Book

. . . To-morrow I will send you back the presents you have given me."

"Presents!" said Pilkins in surprise. "I never gave you a present in my life. I would like to see a full-length portrait of the man that you would take a present from. Why, you never would let me send you flowers or candy or even art calendars."

"You've forgotten," said Alice v. d. R., with a little smile. "It was a long time ago when our families were neighbours. You were seven, and I was trundling my doll on the sidewalk. You gave me a little gray, hairy kitten, with shoe-buttony eyes. Its head came off and it was full of candy. You paid five cents for it — you told me so. I haven't the candy to return to you — I hadn't developed a conscience at three, so I ate it. But I have the kitten yet, and I will wrap it up neatly to-night and send it to you to-morrow."

Beneath the lightness of Alice v. d. R.'s talk the steadfastness of her rejection showed firm and plain. So there was nothing left for him but to leave the crumbly red brick house, and be off with his abhorred millions.

On his way back . . . How will this story end? Why did Alice reject him? I wonder why she kept the kitten all these years.

Read on. And then begin on the 24 other stories in this collection. They're equally as fine!

About O. Henry ( William Sidney Porter )

(1862-1910) Short-story writer Sidney Porter's early life was one of hard knocks and strong recoveries. He was born in North Carolina just before the start of the Civil War. When he was 20 years old, he moved to Texas to become a cowboy, but was set to herding sheep and carrying the mail. So two years later, he moved to Austin soon became a bank teller. After his marriage in 1887, he launched an humor magazine, and when that failed, he moved on to become a reporter, columnist and occasional cartoonist at the Houston Post.

In 1896, when he was 34, he was indicted for embezzlement of bank funds and fled the country. His safety did not last long. His wife's fatal illness brought him back to Austin, and after her death, two years later he was convicted and sent to the penitentiary in Columbus, Ohio, where his sentenced was shortened to three years for good behavior. While in prison, he served as the night druggist and spent much of his time writing adventure stories, using the money he earned to help support his daughter, Margaret. During that time he began using the pen name of O. Henry.

Thereafter he produced hundreds of stories that filled over fifteen books. But despite the great success of his writing, O. Henry's final ten years were a struggle with financial difficulties and alcoholism. His stories reflect his life, in that they show deep sympathy for those who are hard put, and hard up . . . and unlucky.


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