About This Book
THERE IS a saying that no man has tasted the full flavor of life until
he has known poverty, love and war. The justness of this reflection
commends it to the lover of condensed philosophy. The three conditions
embrace about all there is in life worth knowing. A surface thinker
might deem that wealth should be added to the list. Not so. When a
poor man finds a long-bidden quarter-dollar that has slipped through a
rip into his vest lining, he sounds the pleasure of life with a deeper
plummet than any millionaire can hope to cast.
The Hopkins flat was like a thousand others. There was a rubber plant
in one window; a flea-bitten terrier sat in the other, wondering when
he was to have his day . . .
Twenty-five big-city stories about troubles and small joys. And large
joys. And courage large and small.
About O. Henry ( William Sidney Porter )
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.