Friday Mystery Author: O. Henry

I am a day late and a dollar short with the answer to last week’s Friday Mystery Author, and I do apologize. After a week of not much, I blogged away Monday night and ran out of time to write this up.

This week’s passage was from a gem of a short story by O. Henry (William Sydney Porter), called “Friends in San Rosario.” I suppose it may be found in this collection.

Like many O. Henry stories, “Friends in San Rosario” features a Western setting late in the nineteenth century, and formerly rough and tumble characters now carrying forward the work of civilization and accommodating its rules – while abiding by earlier codes of behavior. According to Richard Zelade, this story was autobiographical – and resulted in a prison term for Mr. Porter.

Despite his many friends’ best intentions, Porter was destined to be a sacrificial victim for the changing times, the wrong person in the wrong place at the wrong moment. Texas’s vast, formerly free ranges had been fenced in, and the feds intended to do the same to the state’s freewheeling bankers.

In prison, Mr. Porter launched his writing career and acquired the pen name O. Henry from a guard.

MORE: “Friends in San Rosario” was filmed in 1917.

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