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by O. Henry

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1923. William Sydney Porter (O. Henry) was the most popular short story writer of his time. His stories typically revolved around two of his favorite themes, the situation of the impostor and fate as the one unavoidable reality of life. Another device he used was the surprise ending, usually coming about through coincidence. He was the founder of the humorous weekly The Rolling Stone. When the weekly failed, he joined the Houston Post as a reporter and columnist. He was convicted of embezzling money, although there's much debate over his actual guilt, and while in prison he started to write short stories. His first work, Whistling Dick's Christmas Stocking appeared in McClure's Magazine. After emerging from prison Porter changed his name to O. Henry. He then moved to New York and wrote a story a week for the New York World, while also publishing in other magazines. Henry's best known work is perhaps the much anthologized The Ransom of Red Chief, included in this collection Whirligigs. See other titles by this author available from Kessinger Publishing.

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Half a dozen people supping at a table in one of the upper-Broadway all-night restaurants were making too much noise. Three times the manager walked past them with a politely warning glance; but their argument had waxed too warm to be quelled by a manager's gaze. It was midnight, and the restaurant was filled with patrons from the theatres of that district. Some among the dispersed audiences must have recognized among the quarrelsome sextet the faces of the players belonging to the Carroll Comedy Company.



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