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Heart of the West - cover

Heart of the West

O. Henry

Publisher: Midwest Journal Press

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Summary

A collection of 19 short stories from the West. 
Several of the funniest and best stories by O. Henry appear in this book, which is made up of about twenty-five of his inimitable tales of Western life and types which have appeared at intervals in the magazines. These stories are the best of their kind since Bret Harte. 
William Sydney Porter (September 11, 1862 - June 5, 1910), known by his pen name O. Henry, and his surprise endings, was an American short story writer. He was born in Greensboro, North Carolina. He changed the spelling of his middle name to Sydney in 1898. HEARTS
		AND CROSSES (excerpt) 
Baldy Woods reached for the bottle, and got it.
Whenever Baldy went for anything he usually—but this is not Baldy's
story. He poured out a third drink that was larger by a finger than
the first and second. Baldy was in consultation; and the consultee is
worthy of his hire. 
"I'd be king if I was you," said Baldy,
so positively that his holster creaked and his spurs rattled. 
Webb Yeager pushed back his flat-brimmed Stetson,
and made further disorder in his straw-coloured hair. The tonsorial
recourse being without avail, he followed the liquid example of the
more resourceful Baldy. 
"If a man marries a queen, it oughtn't to
make him a two-spot," declared Webb, epitomising his grievances. 
"Sure not," said Baldy, sympathetic,
still thirsty, and genuinely solicitous concerning the relative value
of the cards. "By rights you're a king. If I was you, I'd call
for a new deal. The cards have been stacked on you—I'll tell you
what you are, Webb Yeager." 
"What?" asked Webb, with a hopeful look
in his pale-blue eyes. 
"You're a prince-consort." 
"Go easy," said Webb. "I never
blackguarded you none." 
"It's a title," explained Baldy, "up
among the picture-cards; but it don't take no tricks. I'll tell you,
Webb. It's a brand they're got for certain animals in Europe. Say
that you or me or one of them Dutch dukes marries in a royal family.
Well, by and by our wife gets to be queen. Are we king? Not in a
million years. At the coronation ceremonies we march between little
casino and the Ninth Grand Custodian of the Royal Hall Bedchamber.
The only use we are is to appear in photographs, and accept the
responsibility for the heir- apparent. That ain't any square deal.
Yes, sir, Webb, you're a prince- consort; and if I was you, I'd start
a interregnum or a habeus corpus or somethin'; and I'd be king if I
had to turn from the bottom of the deck." 
Baldy emptied his glass to the ratification of his
Warwick pose. 
"Baldy," said Webb, solemnly, "me
and you punched cows in the same outfit for years. We been runnin' on
the same range, and ridin' the same trails since we was boys. I
wouldn't talk about my family affairs to nobody but you. You was
line-rider on the Nopalito Ranch when I married Santa McAllister. I
was foreman then; but what am I now? I don't amount to a knot in a
stake rope."

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