3:49 am - Saturday April 21, 2018

No Story-by O Henry- Novel and Ebooks

Novel Name: No Story

Written by: O Henry

Category: Short Novel, Fiction, Fantsy, classics

Page 1:

To avoid having this book hurled into corner of the room by the suspicious reader, I will assert in time that this is not a newspaper story. You will encounter no shirt-sleeved, omniscient city editor, no prodigy “cub” reporter just off the farm, no scoop, no story–no anything.

But if you will concede me the setting of the first scene in the reporters’ room of the Morning Beacon, I will repay the favor by keeping strictly my promises set forth above.

I was doing space-work on the Beacon, hoping to be put on a salary. Some one had cleared with a rake or a shovel a small space for me at the end of a long table piled high with exchanges, Congressional Records, and old files. There I did my work. I wrote whatever the city whispered or roared or chuckled to me on my diligent wanderings about its streets. My income was not regular.

One day Tripp came in and leaned on my table. Tripp was something in the mechanical department–I think he had something to do with the pictures, for he smelled of photographers’ supplies, and his hands were always stained and cut up with acids. He was about twenty-five and looked forty. Half of his face was covered with short, curly red

whiskers that looked like a door-mat with the “welcome” left off. He was pale and unhealthy and miserable and fawning, and an assiduous borrower of sums ranging from twenty-five cents to a dollar. One dollar was his limit. He knew the extent of his credit as well as the Chemical National Bank knows the amount of H20 that collateral will show on analysis. When he sat on my table he held one hand with the other to keep both from shaking. Whiskey. He had a spurious air of lightness and bravado about him that deceived no one, but was useful in his borrowing because it was so pitifully and perceptibly assumed.

This day I had coaxed from the cashier five shining silver dollars as a grumbling advance on a story that the Sunday editor had reluctantly accepted. So if I was not feeling at peace with the world, at least an armistice had been declared; and I was beginning with ardor to write a description of the Brooklyn Bridge by moonlight.

“Well, Tripp,” said I, looking up at him rather impatiently, “how goes it?” He was looking to-day more miserable, more cringing and haggard and downtrodden than I had ever seen him. He was at that stage of misery where he drew your pity so fully that you longed to kick him.

“Have you got a dollar?” asked Tripp, with his most fawning look and his dog-like eyes that blinked in the narrow space between his high- growing matted beard and his low-growing matted hair.

“I have,” said I; and again I said, “I have,” more loudly and inhospitably, “and four besides. And I had hard work corkscrewing them out of old Atkinson, I can tell you. And I drew them,” I continued, “to meet a want–a hiatus–a demand–a need–an exigency–a requirement of exactly five dollars.”

I was driven to emphasis by the premonition that I was to lose one of the dollars on the spot.

“I don’t want to borrow any,” said Tripp, and I breathed again. “I thought you’d like to get put onto a good story,” he went on. “I’ve got a rattling fine one for you. You ought to make it run a column at least. It’ll make a dandy if you work it up right. It’ll probably cost you a dollar or two to get the stuff. I don’t want anything out of it myself.”

I became placated. The proposition showed that Tripp appreciated past favors, although he did not return them. If he had been wise enough to strike me for a quarter then he would have got it.

“What is the story ?” I asked, poising my pencil with a finely calculated editorial air.

“I’ll tell you,” said Tripp. “It’s a girl. A beauty. One of the howlingest Amsden’s Junes you ever saw. Rosebuds covered with dew- violets in their mossy bed–and truck like that. She’s lived on Long Island twenty years and never saw New York City before. I ran against her on Thirty-fourth Street. She’d just got in on the East River ferry. I tell you, she’s a beauty that would take the hydrogen out of all the peroxides in the world. She stopped me on the street and asked me where she could find George Brown. Asked me where she could find George Brown in New York City! What do you think of that?

“I talked to her, and found that she was going to marry a young farmer named Dodd–Hiram Dodd–next week. But it seems that George Brown still holds the championship in her youthful fancy. George had greased his cowhide boots some years ago, and came to the city to make his fortune. But he forgot to remember to show up again at Greenburg, and Hiram got in as second-best choice. But when it comes to the scratch Ada–her name’s Ada Lowery–saddles a nag and rides eight miles to the railroad station and catches the 6.45 A.M. train for the city. Looking for George, you know–you understand about women– George wasn’t there, so she wanted him.

“Well, you know, I couldn’t leave her loose in Wolftown-on-the-Hudson. I suppose she thought the first person she inquired of would say: ‘George Brown ?–why, yes–lemme see–he’s a short man with light-blue eyes, ain’t he? Oh yes–you’ll find George on One Hundred and Twenty- fifth Street, right next to the grocery. He’s bill-clerk in a saddle- and-harness store.’ That’s about how innocent and beautiful she is. You know those little Long Island water-front villages like Greenburg- -a couple of duck-farms for sport, and clams and about nine summer visitors for industries. That’s the kind of a place she comes from. But, say–you ought to see her!

“What could I do? I don’t know what money looks like in the morning. And she’d paid her last cent of pocket-money for her railroad ticket except a quarter, which she had squandered on gum-drops. She was eating them out of a paper bag. I took her to a boarding-house on Thirty-second Street where I used to live, and hocked her. She’s in soak for a dollar. That’s old Mother McGinnis’ price per day. I’ll show you the house.”

“What words are these, Tripp?” said I. “I thought you said you had a story. Every ferryboat that crosses the East River brings or takes away girls from Long Island.”

The premature lines on Tripp’s face grew deeper. He frowned seriously from his tangle of hair. He separated his hands and emphasized his answer with one shaking forefinger.

“Can’t you see,” he said, “what a rattling fine story it would make? You could do it fine. All about the romance, you know, and describe the girl, and put a lot of stuff in it about true love, and sling in a few stickfuls of funny business–joshing the Long Islanders about being green, and, well–you know how to do it. You ought to get fifteen dollars out of it, anyhow. And it’ll. cost you only about four dollars. You’ll make a clear profit of eleven.”

“How will it cost me four dollars?” I asked, suspiciously.

“One dollar to Mrs. McGinnis,” Tripp answered, promptly, “and two dollars to pay the girl’s fare back home.”

“And the fourth dimension?” I inquired, making a rapid mental calculation.

“One dollar to me,” said Tripp. “For whiskey. Are you on?”

I smiled enigmatically and spread my elbows as if to begin writing again. But this grim, abject, specious, subservient, burr-like wreck of a man would not be shaken off. His forehead suddenly became shiningly moist.

“Don’t you see,” he said, with a sort of desperate calmness, “that this girl has got to be sent home to-day–not to-night nor to-morrow, but to-day? I can’t do anything for her. You know, I’m the janitor and corresponding secretary of the Down-and-Out Club.. I thought you could make a newspaper story out of it and win out a piece of money on general results. But, anyhow, don’t you see that she’s got to get back home before night?”

And then I began to feel that dull, leaden, soul-depressing sensation known as the sense of duty. Why should that sense fall upon one as a weight and a burden? I knew that I was doomed that day to give up the bulk of my store of hard-wrung coin to the relief of this Ada Lowery. But I swore to myself that Tripp’s whiskey dollar would not be forthcoming. He might play knight-errant at my expense, but he would indulge in no wassail afterward, commemorating my weakness and gullibility. In a kind of chilly anger I put on my coat and hat.

Tripp, submissive, cringing, vainly endeavoring to please, conducted me via the street-cars to the human pawn-shop of Mother McGinnis. I paid the fares. It seemed that the collodion-scented Don Quixote and the smallest minted coin were strangers.

Tripp pulled the bell at the door of the mouldly red-brick boarding- house. At its faint tinkle he paled, and crouched as a rabbit makes ready to spring away at the sound of a hunting-dog. I guessed what a life he had led, terror-haunted by the coming footsteps of landladies.

“Give me one of the dollars–quick!” he said.

Filed in: Classics, Fantasy, Fiction, Short Novel, Short Stories

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