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O. HENRY
(PSEUDONYM OF WILLIAM SYDNEY PORTER)
American short story writer and journalist
(1862 - 1910)

A straw vote only shows which way the hot air blows.
      - [Voting]

Life is made up of sobs, sniffles and smiles, with sniffles.
      - [Crying]

George Washington, with his right art upraised, sits his iron horse at the lower corner of Union Square. . . . Should the General raise his left hand as he has raised his right, it would point to a quarter of the city that forms a haven for the oppressed and suppressed of foreign lands. In the cause of national or personal freedom they have found refuge here, and the patriot who made it for them sits his steed, overlooking their district, while he listens through his left ear to vaudeville that caricatures the posterity of the proteges.
      - A Philistine in Bohemia,
        in "Voice of the City" [New York]

If there ever was an aviary overstocked with jays it is that Yaptown-on-the-Hudson, call New York. Cosmopolitan they call it, you bet. So's a piece of fly-paper. You listen close when they're buzzing and trying to pull their feet out of the sticky stuff. "Little old New York's good enough for us"--that's what they sing.
      - A Tempered Wind, in "The Gentle Grafter"
        [New York]

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 hay-seeds are bailed hay-seeds. But what else can you expect from a town that's shut off for the world by the ocean on one side and New Jersey on the other?
      - A Tempered Wind, in "The Gentle Grafter"
        [New York]

Silent, grim, colossal, the Big City has ever stood against its revilers. They call it hard as iron; they say that nothing of pity beats in its bosom; they compare its streets with lonely forests and deserts of lava. But beneath the hard crust of the lobster is found a delectable and luscious food. Perhaps a different simile would have been wiser. Still nobody should take offence. We would call nobody a lobster with good and sufficient claws.
      - Between Rounds, in "Four Million"
        [New York]

New York is the Caoutchouc City. . . . They have the furor rubberendi.
      - Comedy in Rubber,
        in "The Voice of the City" [New York]

In dress, habits, manners, provincialism, routine and narrowness, he acquired that charming insolence, that irritating completeness, that sophisticated crassness, that overbalanced poise that makes the Manhattan gentleman so delightfully small in his greatness.
      - Defeat of the City,
        in "The Voice of the City" [New York]

Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
      - The Complete Like of John Hopkins
        [Conversation]

Far below and around lay the city like a ragged purple dream. The irregular houses were like the broken exteriors of cliffs lining deep gulches and winding streams. Some were mountainous; some lay in long, monotonous rows like, the basalt precipices hanging over desert canons. Such was the background of the wonderful, cruel, enchanting, bewildering, fatal, great city. But into this background were cut myriads of brilliant parallelograms and circles and squares through which glowed many colored lights. And out of the violet and purple depths ascended like the city's soul, sound and odors and thrills that make up the civic body. There arose the breath of gaiety unrestrained, of love, of hate, of all the passions that man can know. There below him lay all things, good or bad, that can be brought from the four corners of the earth to instruct, please, thrill, enrich, elevate, cast down, nurture or kill. Thus the flavor of it came up to him and went into his blood.
      - The Duel, in "Strictly Business"
        [New York]

Well, little old Noisyville-on-the-Subway is good enough for me. . . . Me for it from the rathskellers up. Sixth Avenue is the West now to me.
      - The Duel, in "Strictly Business"
        [New York]

One dollar and eighty-seven cents.
      - The Gift of the Magi [Books (First Lines)]

"If you don't mind me asking," came the bell-like tones of the Golden Diana, "I'd like to know where you got that City Hall brogue. I did not know that Liberty was necessarily Irish." "If ye'd studied the history of art in its foreign complications, ye'd not need ask," replied Mrs. Liberty, "If ye wasn't so light and giddy ye'd know that I was made by a Dago and presented to the American people on behalf of the French Government for the purpose of welcomin' Irish immigrants into the Dutch city of New York. 'Tis that I've been doing night and day since I was erected."
      - The Lady Higher Up, in "Sixes and Sevens"
        [New York]


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