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Whirligigs A Collection Of Stories

By O. Henry ( William Sidney Porter )

About This Book

IT LOOKED like a good thing: but wait till I tell you. We were down South, in Alabama — Bill Driscoll and myself — when this kidnapping idea struck us. It was, as Bill afterward expressed it, "during a moment of temporary mental apparition"; but we didn't find that out till later.

There was a town down there, as flat as a flannel-cake, and called Summit, of course. It contained inhabitants Of as undeleterious and self-satisfied a class of peasantry as ever clustered around a Maypole.

Bill and me had a joint capital of about six hundred dollars, and we needed just two thousand dollars more to pull off a fraudulent town-lot scheme in Western Illinois with . . .

In all, this collection contains twenty-two corkers of life around around the United States. Many are drawn from real stories . . . and there's nothing more peculiar than the truth, is there!

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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