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O. HENRY QUOTES

Beauty is Nature in perfection; circularity is its chief attribute. Behold the full moon, the enchanting golf ball, the domes of splendid temples, the huckleberry pie, the wedding ring, the circus ring, the ring for the waiter, and the "round" of drinks.

O. HENRY, "Squaring the Circle"

There is this difference between the grief of youth and that of old age: youth's burden is lightened by as much of it as another shares; old age may give and give, but the sorrow remains the same.

O. HENRY, "The Count and the Wedding Guest"

If you are a philosopher you can do this thing: you can go to the top of a high building, look down upon your fellow-men 300 feet below, and despise them as insects. Like the irresponsible black waterbugs on summer ponds, they crawl and circle and hustle about idiotically without aim or purpose. They do not even move with the admirable intelligence of ants, for ants always know when they are going home. The ant is of a lowly station, but he will often reach home and get his slippers on while you are left at your elevated station.

O. HENRY, "Psyche and the Pskyscraper"

This fair but pitiless city of Manhattan was without a soul ... its inhabitants were manikins moved by wires and springs.

O. HENRY, "The Making of a New Yorker"

In the big city the twin spirits Romance and Adventure are always abroad seeking worthy wooers. As we roam the streets they slyly peep at us and challenge us in twenty different guises. Without knowing why, we look up suddenly to see in a window a face that seems to belong to our gallery of intimate portraits; in a sleeping thoroughfare we hear a cry of agony and fear coming from an empty and shuttered house; instead of at our familiar curb, a cab-driver deposits us before a strange door, which one, with a smile, opens for us and bids us enter; a slip of paper, written upon, flutters down to our feet from the high lattices of Chance; we exchange glances of instantaneous hate, affection and fear with hurrying strangers in the passing crowds; a sudden douse of rain—and our umbrella may be sheltering the daughter of the Full Moon and first cousin of the Sidereal System; at every corner handkerchiefs drop, fingers beckon, eyes besiege, and the lost, the lonely, the rapturous, the mysterious, the perilous, changing clues of adventure are slipped into our fingers. But few of us are willing to hold and follow them. We are grown stiff with the ramrod of convention down our backs. We pass on; and some day we come, at the end of a very dull life, to reflect that our romance has been a pallid thing of a marriage or two, a satin rosette kept in a safe-deposit drawer, and a lifelong feud with a steam radiator.

O. HENRY, "The Green Door"

There is a saying that no man has tasted the full flavour 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-hidden 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.

O. HENRY, "The Complete Life of John Hopkins"

Now, girls, if you want to observe a young man hustle out after a pick and shovel, just tell him that your heart is in some other fellow's grave. Young men are grave-robbers by nature.

O. HENRY, "The Count and the Wedding Guest"

Young artists must pave their way to Art by drawing pictures for magazine stories that young authors write to pave their way to Literature.

O. HENRY, "The Last Leaf"

Each of us, when our day's work is done, must seek our ideal, whether it be love or pinochle or lobster à la Newburg, or the sweet silence of the musty bookshelves.

O. HENRY, "The Social Triangle"

In the Big City large and sudden things happen. You round a corner and thrust the rib of your umbrella into the eye of your old friend from Kootenai Falls. You stroll out to pluck a Sweet William in the park -- and lo! bandits attack you -- you are ambulanced to the hospital -- you marry your nurse; are divorced -- get squeezed while short on U. P. S. and D. O. W. N. S. -- stand in the bread line -- marry an heiress, take out your laundry and pay your club dues -- seemingly all in the wink of an eye.... The City is a sprightly youngster, and you are red paint upon its toy, and you get licked off.

O. HENRY, "The Complete Life of John Hopkins"

A holiday in a new dress—can earth offer anything more enchanting?

O. HENRY, "The Purple Dress"

I wanted to paint a picture some day that people would stand before and forget that it was made of paint. I wanted it to creep into them like a bar of music and mushroom there like a soft bullet.

O. HENRY, "Masters of Arts", The Complete Works of O. Henry

The true adventurer goes forth aimless and uncalculating to meet and greet unknown fate.

O. HENRY, "The Green Door"

You'd think New York people was all wise; but no, they can't get a chance to learn. Every thing's too compressed. Even the hayseeds are bailed hayseeds. But what else can you expect from a town that's shut off from the world by the ocean on one side and New Jersey on the other?

O. HENRY, "A Tempered Wind", The Gentle Grafter

In The Big City a man will disappear with the suddenness and completeness of the flame of a candle that is blown out. All the agencies of inquisition—the hounds of the trail, the sleuths of the city's labyrinths, the closet detectives of theory and induction—will be invoked to the search. Most often the man's face will be seen no more. Sometimes he will reappear in Sheboygan or in the wilds of Terre Haute, calling himself one of the synonyms of "Smith," and without memory of events up to a certain time, including his grocer's bill. Sometimes it will be found, after dragging the rivers, and polling the restaurants to see if he may be waiting for a well-done sirloin, that he has moved next door.

O. HENRY, "The Sleuths"


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