Quotes by O Henry

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You can't appreciate home till you've left it, money till it's spent, your wife till she's joined a woman's club, nor Old Glory till you see it hanging on a broomstick on the shanty of a consul in a foreign town. more...

There is this difference between the grief of youth and that of old age; youth's burden is lightened by as much of it as another shares; old age may give and give, but the sorrow remains the same. more...

There is no well defined boundary line between honesty and dishonesty. The frontiers of one blend with the outside limits of the other, and he who attempts to tread this dangerous ground may be sometimes in the one domain and sometimes in the other. more...

There is a saying that no man has tasted the full flavor of life until he has known poverty, love, and war. more...

If you live in an atmosphere of luxury, luxury is yours whether your money pays for it, or another's. more...

Of habit, the power that keeps the earth from flying to pieces; though there is some silly theory of gravitation. more...

But how is it now? All we get is orders; and the laws go out of the state. Them legislators set up there at Austin and don't do nothing but makes laws against kerosene oil and schoolbooks being brought into the state. I reckon they was afraid some man would go home some evening after work and light up and get an education and go to work and make laws to repeal aforesaid laws. more...

To a woman nothing seems quite impossible to the powers of the man she worships. more...

Men to whom life had appeared as a reversible coat - seamy on both sides. more...

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating. more...

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. more...

She had become so thoroughly annealed into his life that she was like the air he breathed-necessary but scarcely noticed. more...

Each of us, when our day's work is done, must seek our ideal, whether it be love or pinochle or lobster a la Newburg, or the sweet silence of the musty bookshelves. more...

What else can you expect from a town thats shut off from the world by the ocean on one side and New Jersey on the other? more...

Turn up the lights - I don't want to go home in the dark. more...

If a person has lived through war, poverty and love, he has lived a full life more...

There are stories in everything. I've got some of my best yarns from park benches, lampposts, and newspaper stands. more...

It ain't the roads we take; it's what's inside of us that makes us turn out the way we do. more...

Hospitality in the prairie country is not limited. Even if your enemy passes your way, you must feed him before you shoot him. more...

What is the world at its best but a little round field of the moving pictures with two walking together in it? more...

When one loves one's Art no service seems too hard, more...

I wanted to paint a picture some day that people would stand before and forget that it was made of paint. I wanted it to creep into them like a bar of music and mushroom there like a soft bullet. more...

Humans were denied the speech of animals. The only common ground of communication upon which dogs and men can get together is in fiction. more...

But the best, in my opinion, was the home life in the little flat-the ardent, voluble chats after the day's study; the cozy dinners and fresh, light breakfasts; the interchange of ambitions-ambitions interwoven each with the other's or else inconsiderable-the mutual help and inspiration; and-overlook my artlessness-stuffed olives and cheese sandwiches at 11 p.m. more...

I'll give you the whole secret to short story writing. Here it is. Rule 1: Write stories that please yourself. There is no Rule 2. more...

He studied cities as women study their reflections. more...

Those whom we first love we seldom marry more...

If you can't write a story that pleases yourself, you will never please the public. But in writing the story forget the public. more...

[A]ll of life, as we know it, moves in little, unavailing circles. More justly than to anything else, it can be likened to the game of baseball. Crack! we hit the ball, and away we go. If we earn a run (in life we call it success) we get back to the home plate and sit upon a bench. If we are thrown out, we walk back to the home plate - and sit upon a bench. more...

A burglar who respects his art always takes his time before taking anything else. more...

The magi, as you know, were wise men wonderfully wise men who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. more...

What else can you expect from a town that's shut off from the world by the ocean on one side and New Jersey on the other? more...

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. more...

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. more...

The true adventurer goes forth aimless and uncalculating to meet and greet unknown fate. more...

If men knew how women pass the time when they are alone, they'd never marry. more...

Write what you like; there is no other rule. more...

There is one day that is ours. Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American. more...

East is East, and West is San Francisco, according to Californians. Californians are a race of people; they are not merely inhabitants of a State. more...

Love and business and family and religion and art and patriotism are nothing but shadows of words when a man's starving! more...

Turn up the lights. I don't want to go home in the dark. more...

Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence. more...

By rights you're a king. If I was you, I'd call for a new deal. more...

We may achieve climate, but weather is thrust upon us. more...

Life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating. more...

Whenever he saw a dollar in another man's hands he took it as a personal grudge, if he couldn't take it any other way. more...

She plucked from my lapel the invisible strand of lint (the universal act of woman to proclaim ownership). more...

It is said that love makes the world go 'round - the announcement lacks verification. It's wind from the dinner horn that does it. more...

By nature and doctrines I am addicted to the habit of discovering choice places wherein to feed. more...

It brings up happy old days when I was only a farmer and not an agriculturist. more...

Bohemia is nothing more than the little country in which you do not live. If you try to obtain citizenship in it, at once the court and retinue pack the royal archives and treasure and move away beyond the hills. more...

When one loves one's Art no service seems too hard. more...

A straw vote only shows which way the hot air blows. more...

It couldn't have happened anywhere but in little old New York. more...

It'll be a great place if they ever finish it. more...

The most notable thing about Time is that it is so purely relative. A large amount of reminiscence is, by common consent, conceded to the drowning man; and it is not past belief that one may review an entire courtship while removing one's gloves. more...

We can't buy one minute of time with cash; if we could, rich people would live longer. more...

It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are. more...

No friendship is an accident. more...

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? more...

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. more...

Women's weapon, water-drops. more...

There is one day that is ours. There is one day when all we Americans who are not self-made go back to the old home to eat saleratus biscuits and marvel how much nearer to the porch the old pump looks than it used to. Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American. more...

If man knew how women pass the time when they are alone, they'd never marry. more...

If there was ever an aviary overstocked with jays it is that Yaptouwn on the Hudson called New York more...

In the Big City a man will disappear with the suddenness and completeness of the flame of a candle that is blown out. more...

History is bright and fiction dull with homely men who have charmed women. more...

Perhaps there is no happiness in life so perfect as the martyr's. more...

Except in streetcars one should never be unnecessarily rude to a lady. more...

A story with a moral appended is like the bill of a mosquito. It bores you, and then injects a stinging drop to irritate your conscience. more...

East is East, and West is San Francisco more...

My advice to you, if you should ever be in a hold up, is to line up with the cowards and save your bravery for an occasion when it may be of some benefit to you. more...

It gives men courage and ambition and the nerve for anything. It has the colour of gold, is clear as a glass and shines after dark as if the sunshine were still in it. more...

Fortune is a prize to be won. Adventure is the road to it. Chance is what may lurk in the shadows at the roadside. more...

Yes, I get dry spells. Sometimes I can't turn out a thing for three months. When one of those spells comes on I quit trying to work and go out and see something of life. You can't write a story that's got any life in it by sitting at a writing table and thinking. You've got to get out into the streets, into the crowds, talk with people, and feel the rush and throb of real life-that's the stimulant for a story writer. more...

Greenwich Village... the village of low rents and high arts. more...

Bride knoweth bride at the glance of an eye. And between them swiftly passes comfort and meaning in a language that man and widows wot not of. more...

Now, girls, if you want to observe a young man hustle out after a pick and shovel, just tell him that your heart is in some other fellow's grave. Young men are grave-robbers by nature. more...

There is a saying that no man has tasted the full flavour of life until he has known poverty, love and war. The justness of this reflection commends it to the lover of condensed philosophy. The three conditions embrace about all there is in life worth knowing. A surface thinker might deem that wealth should be added to the list. Not so. When a poor man finds a long-hidden quarter-dollar that has slipped through a rip into his vest lining, he sounds the pleasure of life with a deeper plummet than any millionaire can hope to cast. more...

Beauty is Nature in perfection; circularity is its chief attribute. Behold the full moon, the enchanting golf ball, the domes of splendid temples, the huckleberry pie, the wedding ring, the circus ring, the ring for the waiter, and the "round" of drinks. more...

This fair but pitiless city of Manhattan was without a soul ... its inhabitants were manikins moved by wires and springs. more...

Young artists must pave their way to Art by drawing pictures for magazine stories that young authors write to pave their way to Literature. more...

A holiday in a new dress?can earth offer anything more enchanting? more...

Not very long ago some one invented the assertion that there were only "Four Hundred" people in New York City who were really worth noticing. But a wiser man has arisen - the census taker - and his larger estimate of human interest has been preferred in marking out the field of these little stories of the "Four Million. more...

Whenever my patient begins to count the carriages in her funeral procession I subtract 50 per cent from the curative power of medicines. more...

The lonesomest thing in all the world is a soul when it is making ready to go on its mysterious, far journey. more...

There are a few editor men with whom I am privileged to come in contact. It has not been long since it was their habit to come in contact with me. There is a difference. more...

In time truth and science and nature will adapt themselves to art. Things will happen logically, and the villain be discomfited instead of being elected to the board of directors. But in the meantime fiction must not only be divorced from fact, but must pay alimony and be awarded custody of the press despatches. more...

Broadway - the great sluice that washes out the dust of the gold-mines of Gotham. more...

Bolivar cannot carry double more...

Take of London fog 30 parts; malaria 10 parts, gas leaks 20 parts, dewdrops gathered in a brickyard at sunrise 25 parts; odor of honeysuckle 15 parts. Mix. The mixture will give you an approximate conception of a Nashville drizzle. more...

He seemed to be made of sunshine and blood-red tissue and clear weather. more...

All of us have to be prevaricators, hypocrites, and liars every day of our lives; otherwise the social structure would fall into pieces the first day. We must act in one another's presence just as we must wear clothes. It is for the best more...

I'll give you the sole secret of short-story writing, and here it is: Rule 1. Write stories that please yourself. There is no rule 2. The technical points you can get from Bliss Perry. If you can't write a story that pleases yourself, you will never please the public. But in writing the story forget the public. more...

O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi. more...

When a man begins to be hilarious in a sorrowful way you can bet a million that he is dyeing his hair. more...

Most wonderful of all are words, and how they make friends one with another. more...

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 its greatness. more...

Be always decent and right in your home town; and when you're on the road, never take more than four glasses of beer a day or play higher than a twenty-five-cent limit. more...

New York is the Caoutchouc City... They have the furor rubberendi. more...

A holiday in a new dress can earth offer anything more enchanting? more...

All great men have declared that they owe their sucess to the aid and encouragement of some brilliant woman. more...

A good story is like a bitter pill, with the sugar coating inside of it. more...

There is no well-defined boundary between honesty and dishonesty. The frontiers of one blend with the outside limits of the other, and he who attempts to tread this dangerous ground may be sometimes in one domain and sometimes in the other. more...

In the consultation of this small, maritime banana republic was a forgotten section that provided for the maintenance of a navy. more...

When I see a shipwreck, I like to know what caused the disaster...I learned nothing but the glow that wrapped her face when the soup came. That's the story. more...

Take it from me - he's got the goods. more...

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas. more...

He wrote love stories, a thing I have always kept free from, holding the belief that the well-known and popular sentiment is not properly matter for publication, but something to be privately handled by the alienist and the florist. more...

Kerner's father was worth a couple of millions. He was willing to stand for art, but he drew the line at the factory girl. So Kerner disinherited his father and walked out to a cheap studio and lived on sausages for breakfast and on Farroni for dinner. more...

It was beautiful and simple as all truly great swindles are. more...

Busy as a one-armed man with the nettle-rash pasting on wallpaper. more...

She is pale but affectionate, clinging to his arm - always clinging to his arm. Any one can see that she is a peach and of the cling variety. more...

If ever there was an aviary overstocked with jays it is that Yaptown-on-the-Hudson, called New York. more...

You can't appreciate home till you've left it, money till it's spent, your wife till she's joined a women's club, nor Old Glory till you see it hanging on a broomstick on the shanty of a consul in a foreign town. more...

Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of life. more...


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