“The Ransom of Red Chief” and “The Marquis and Miss Sally” by O. Henry

Henry worked a number of different jobs, from pharmacy to drafting, journalism, and banking. Banking, in particular, was not to be O. Henry’s calling; he was quite careless with his bookkeeping, fired by the bank and charged with embezzlement in 1894. He was sentenced and served in Federal prison in Ohio for five years from 1898-1902. He was always a lover of classic literature, and while pursuing his many ventures, O. Henry had begun writing as a hobby. When he lost his banking position he moved to Houston in 1895 and started writing for the The Post, earning $25 per month (an average salary at this time in American history was probably about $300 a year). O. Henry collected ideas for his column by loitering in hotel lobbies and observing and talking to people there. He relied on this technique to gain creative inspiration throughout his writing career. Enjoy!

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