He overdid it (From the story “The Rathskeller and the Rose” by O. Henry)
O. Henry, whose real name was William Sydney Porter, was an American short-story writer. His stories are still popular today. He was born in 1862 in a small provincial town. In his early years he tried many jobs, among which were several literary ones.
O. Henry’s first story was published in 1899, when the writer was in prison on a false charge of stealing money from a bank. After he came out of prison, O. Henry became a professional writer.
O. Henry describes the life of the “little people”: clerks, shop assistants and farm workers. His stories are mainly humourous and amusing, with the traditional happy end. Through the gaiety and humour of his stories, however, the hard life of the poor can be seen.
O. Henry died in 1910.
Miss Posie Carrington had begun life in the small village of Cranberry Corners. Then her name had been Posie Boggs. At the age
of eighteen she had left the place and become an actress at a small theatre in a large city, and here she took the name of Carrington. Now Miss Carrington was at the height of her fame, the critics praised her, and in the next season she was going to star in a new play about country life. Many young actors were eager to partner Miss Posie Carrington in the play, and among them was a clever young actor called Highsmith.
“My boy”, said Mr Goldstein, the manager of the theatre, when the young man went to him for advice, “take the part if you can get it. The trouble is Miss Carrington won’t listen to any of my suggestions. As a matter of fact she has turned down a lot of the best imitators of a country fellow already, and she says she won’t set foot on the stage unless her partner is the best that can be found. She was brought up in a village, you know, she won’t be deceived when a Broadway fellow goes on the stage with a straw in his hair and calls himself a village boy. So, young man, if you want to play the part, you’ll hate to convince Miss Carrington. Would you like to try?” “I would with your permission,” answered the young man. “But I would prefer to keep my plans secret for a while.”
Next day Highsmith took the train for Cranberry Corners. He stayed three days in that small and distant village. Having found out all he could about the Boggs and their neighbours, Highsmith returned to the city…
Miss Posie Carrington used to spend her evenings at a small restaurant where actors gathered after performances.
One night when Miss Posie was enjoying a late supper in the company of her fellow-actors, a shy, awkward young man entered the restaurant. It was clear that the lights and the people made him uncomfortable. He upset one chair, sat in another one, and turned red at the approach of a waiter.
“You may fetch me a glass of beer’, he said, in answer to the waiter’s question. He looked around the place and then seeing Miss Carrington, rose and went to her table with a shining smile.
“How’re you, Miss Posie?” he said. “Don’t you remember me – Bill Summers – the Summerses that used to live next door to you? I’ve grown up since you left Cranberry Corners. They still remember you there. Eliza Perry told me to see you in the city while I was here. You know Eliza married Benny Stanfield, and she says – “
“I say”, interrupted Miss Carrington brightly, “Eliza Perry married. She used to be so stout and plain.” “Married in June,” smiled the gossip. “Old Mrs Blither^ sold her place to Captain Spooner; the youngest Waters girl ran away with a music teacher.”
“Oh!” Miss Carrington cried out.