en-es  After Twenty Years - A short story by O. Henry (1862–1910)
The policeman on the beat moved up the avenue impressively. The impressiveness was habitual and not for show, for spectators were few. The time was barely 10 o'clock at night, but chilly gusts of wind with a taste of rain in them had well nigh de-peopled the streets.

Trying doors as he went, twirling his club with many intricate and artful movements, turning now and then to cast his watchful eye adown the pacific thoroughfare, the officer, with his stalwart form and slight swagger, made a fine picture of a guardian of the peace. The vicinity was one that kept early hours. Now and then you might see the lights of a cigar store or of an all-night lunch counter; but the majority of the doors belonged to business places that had long since been closed.

When about midway of a certain block the policeman suddenly slowed his walk. In the doorway of a darkened hardware store a man leaned, with an unlighted cigar in his mouth. As the policeman walked up to him the man spoke up quickly.

"It's all right, officer," he said, reassuringly. "I'm just waiting for a friend. It's an appointment made twenty years ago. Sounds a little funny to you, doesn't it? Well, I'll explain if you'd like to make certain it's all straight. About that long ago there used to be a restaurant where this store stands—'Big Joe' Brady's restaurant."

"Until five years ago," said the policeman. "It was torn down then."

The man in the doorway struck a match and lit his cigar. The light showed a pale, square-jawed face with keen eyes, and a little white scar near his right eyebrow. His scarfpin was a large diamond, oddly set.

"Twenty years ago to-night," said the man, "I dined here at 'Big Joe' Brady's with Jimmy Wells, my best chum, and the finest chap in the world. He and I were raised here in New York, just like two brothers, together. I was eighteen and Jimmy was twenty. The next morning I was to start for the West to make my fortune. You couldn't have dragged Jimmy out of New York; he thought it was the only place on earth. Well, we agreed that night that we would meet here again exactly twenty years from that date and time, no matter what our conditions might be or from what distance we might have to come. We figured that in twenty years each of us ought to have our destiny worked out and our fortunes made, whatever they were going to be."

"It sounds pretty interesting," said the policeman. "Rather a long time between meets, though, it seems to me. Haven't you heard from your friend since you left?"

"Well, yes, for a time we corresponded," said the other. "But after a year or two we lost track of each other. You see, the West is a pretty big proposition, and I kept hustling around over it pretty lively. But I know Jimmy will meet me here if he's alive, for he always was the truest, stanchest old chap in the world. He'll never forget. I came a thousand miles to stand in this door to-night, and it's worth it if my old partner turns up."

The waiting man pulled out a handsome watch, the lids of it set with small diamonds.

"Three minutes to ten," he announced. "It was exactly ten o'clock when we parted here at the restaurant door."

"Did pretty well out West, didn't you?" asked the policeman.

"You bet! I hope Jimmy has done half as well. He was a kind of plodder, though, good fellow as he was. I've had to compete with some of the sharpest wits going to get my pile. A man gets in a groove in New York. It takes the West to put a razor-edge on him."

The policeman twirled his club and took a step or two.

"I'll be on my way. Hope your friend comes around all right. Going to call time on him sharp?"

"I should say not!" said the other. "I'll give him half an hour at least. If Jimmy is alive on earth he'll be here by that time. So long, officer."

"Good-night, sir," said the policeman, passing on along his beat, trying doors as he went.

There was now a fine, cold drizzle falling, and the wind had risen from its uncertain puffs into a steady blow. The few foot passengers astir in that quarter hurried dismally and silently along with coat collars turned high and pocketed hands. And in the door of the hardware store the man who had come a thousand miles to fill an appointment, uncertain almost to absurdity, with the friend of his youth, smoked his cigar and waited.

About twenty minutes he waited, and then a tall man in a long overcoat, with collar turned up to his ears, hurried across from the opposite side of the street. He went directly to the waiting man.

"Is that you, Bob?" he asked, doubtfully.

"Is that you, Jimmy Wells?" cried the man in the door.

"Bless my heart!" exclaimed the new arrival, grasping both the other's hands with his own. "It's Bob, sure as fate. I was certain I'd find you here if you were still in existence. Well, well, well!—twenty years is a long time. The old restaurant's gone, Bob; I wish it had lasted, so we could have had another dinner there. How has the West treated you, old man?"

"Bully; it has given me everything I asked it for. You've changed lots, Jimmy. I never thought you were so tall by two or three inches."

"Oh, I grew a bit after I was twenty."

"Doing well in New York, Jimmy?"

"Moderately. I have a position in one of the city departments. Come on, Bob; we'll go around to a place I know of, and have a good long talk about old times."

The two men started up the street, arm in arm. The man from the West, his egotism enlarged by success, was beginning to outline the history of his career. The other, submerged in his overcoat, listened with interest.

At the corner stood a drug store, brilliant with electric lights. When they came into this glare each of them turned simultaneously to gaze upon the other's face.

The man from the West stopped suddenly and released his arm.

"You're not Jimmy Wells," he snapped. "Twenty years is a long time, but not long enough to change a man's nose from a Roman to a pug."

"It sometimes changes a good man into a bad one," said the tall man. "You've been under arrest for ten minutes, 'Silky' Bob. Chicago thinks you may have dropped over our way and wires us she wants to have a chat with you. Going quietly, are you? That's sensible. Now, before we go on to the station here's a note I was asked to hand you. You may read it here at the window. It's from Patrolman Wells."

The man from the West unfolded the little piece of paper handed him. His hand was steady when he began to read, but it trembled a little by the time he had finished. The note was rather short.


Bob: I was at the appointed place on time. When you struck the match to light your cigar I saw it was the face of the man wanted in Chicago. Somehow I couldn't do it myself, so I went around and got a plain clothes man to do the job.
unit 1
The policeman on the beat moved up the avenue impressively.
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unit 2
unit 5
The vicinity was one that kept early hours.
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unit 9
As the policeman walked up to him the man spoke up quickly.
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unit 10
"It's all right, officer," he said, reassuringly.
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unit 11
"I'm just waiting for a friend.
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unit 12
It's an appointment made twenty years ago.
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unit 13
Sounds a little funny to you, doesn't it?
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unit 14
Well, I'll explain if you'd like to make certain it's all straight.
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unit 16
"Until five years ago," said the policeman.
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unit 17
"It was torn down then."
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unit 18
The man in the doorway struck a match and lit his cigar.
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unit 20
His scarfpin was a large diamond, oddly set.
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unit 22
He and I were raised here in New York, just like two brothers, together.
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unit 23
I was eighteen and Jimmy was twenty.
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unit 24
The next morning I was to start for the West to make my fortune.
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unit 28
"It sounds pretty interesting," said the policeman.
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unit 29
"Rather a long time between meets, though, it seems to me.
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unit 30
Haven't you heard from your friend since you left?"
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unit 31
"Well, yes, for a time we corresponded," said the other.
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unit 32
"But after a year or two we lost track of each other.
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unit 35
He'll never forget.
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unit 38
"Three minutes to ten," he announced.
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unit 39
"It was exactly ten o'clock when we parted here at the restaurant door."
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unit 40
"Did pretty well out West, didn't you?"
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unit 41
asked the policeman.
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unit 42
"You bet!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 43
I hope Jimmy has done half as well.
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unit 44
He was a kind of plodder, though, good fellow as he was.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 45
I've had to compete with some of the sharpest wits going to get my pile.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 46
A man gets in a groove in New York.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 47
It takes the West to put a razor-edge on him."
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unit 48
The policeman twirled his club and took a step or two.
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unit 49
"I'll be on my way.
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unit 50
Hope your friend comes around all right.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 51
Going to call time on him sharp?"
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unit 52
"I should say not!"
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unit 53
said the other.
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unit 54
"I'll give him half an hour at least.
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unit 55
If Jimmy is alive on earth he'll be here by that time.
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unit 56
So long, officer."
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unit 62
He went directly to the waiting man.
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unit 63
"Is that you, Bob?"
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unit 64
he asked, doubtfully.
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unit 65
"Is that you, Jimmy Wells?"
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unit 66
cried the man in the door.
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unit 67
"Bless my heart!"
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unit 68
exclaimed the new arrival, grasping both the other's hands with his own.
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unit 69
"It's Bob, sure as fate.
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unit 70
I was certain I'd find you here if you were still in existence.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 71
Well, well, well!—twenty years is a long time.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 73
How has the West treated you, old man?"
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unit 74
"Bully; it has given me everything I asked it for.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 75
You've changed lots, Jimmy.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 76
I never thought you were so tall by two or three inches."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 77
"Oh, I grew a bit after I was twenty."
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unit 78
"Doing well in New York, Jimmy?"
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unit 79
"Moderately.
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unit 80
I have a position in one of the city departments.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 82
The two men started up the street, arm in arm.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 84
The other, submerged in his overcoat, listened with interest.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 85
At the corner stood a drug store, brilliant with electric lights.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 87
The man from the West stopped suddenly and released his arm.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 88
"You're not Jimmy Wells," he snapped.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 90
"It sometimes changes a good man into a bad one," said the tall man.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 91
"You've been under arrest for ten minutes, 'Silky' Bob.
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unit 93
Going quietly, are you?
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unit 94
That's sensible.
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unit 95
unit 96
You may read it here at the window.
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unit 97
It's from Patrolman Wells."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 98
The man from the West unfolded the little piece of paper handed him.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 100
The note was rather short.
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unit 101
Bob: I was at the appointed place on time.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None

The policeman on the beat moved up the avenue impressively. The impressiveness was habitual and not for show, for spectators were few. The time was barely 10 o'clock at night, but chilly gusts of wind with a taste of rain in them had well nigh de-peopled the streets.

Trying doors as he went, twirling his club with many intricate and artful movements, turning now and then to cast his watchful eye adown the pacific thoroughfare, the officer, with his stalwart form and slight swagger, made a fine picture of a guardian of the peace. The vicinity was one that kept early hours. Now and then you might see the lights of a cigar store or of an all-night lunch counter; but the majority of the doors belonged to business places that had long since been closed.

When about midway of a certain block the policeman suddenly slowed his walk. In the doorway of a darkened hardware store a man leaned, with an unlighted cigar in his mouth. As the policeman walked up to him the man spoke up quickly.

"It's all right, officer," he said, reassuringly. "I'm just waiting for a friend. It's an appointment made twenty years ago. Sounds a little funny to you, doesn't it? Well, I'll explain if you'd like to make certain it's all straight. About that long ago there used to be a restaurant where this store stands—'Big Joe' Brady's restaurant."

"Until five years ago," said the policeman. "It was torn down then."

The man in the doorway struck a match and lit his cigar. The light showed a pale, square-jawed face with keen eyes, and a little white scar near his right eyebrow. His scarfpin was a large diamond, oddly set.

"Twenty years ago to-night," said the man, "I dined here at 'Big Joe' Brady's with Jimmy Wells, my best chum, and the finest chap in the world. He and I were raised here in New York, just like two brothers, together. I was eighteen and Jimmy was twenty. The next morning I was to start for the West to make my fortune. You couldn't have dragged Jimmy out of New York; he thought it was the only place on earth. Well, we agreed that night that we would meet here again exactly twenty years from that date and time, no matter what our conditions might be or from what distance we might have to come. We figured that in twenty years each of us ought to have our destiny worked out and our fortunes made, whatever they were going to be."

"It sounds pretty interesting," said the policeman. "Rather a long time between meets, though, it seems to me. Haven't you heard from your friend since you left?"

"Well, yes, for a time we corresponded," said the other. "But after a year or two we lost track of each other. You see, the West is a pretty big proposition, and I kept hustling around over it pretty lively. But I know Jimmy will meet me here if he's alive, for he always was the truest, stanchest old chap in the world. He'll never forget. I came a thousand miles to stand in this door to-night, and it's worth it if my old partner turns up."

The waiting man pulled out a handsome watch, the lids of it set with small diamonds.

"Three minutes to ten," he announced. "It was exactly ten o'clock when we parted here at the restaurant door."

"Did pretty well out West, didn't you?" asked the policeman.

"You bet! I hope Jimmy has done half as well. He was a kind of plodder, though, good fellow as he was. I've had to compete with some of the sharpest wits going to get my pile. A man gets in a groove in New York. It takes the West to put a razor-edge on him."

The policeman twirled his club and took a step or two.

"I'll be on my way. Hope your friend comes around all right. Going to call time on him sharp?"

"I should say not!" said the other. "I'll give him half an hour at least. If Jimmy is alive on earth he'll be here by that time. So long, officer."

"Good-night, sir," said the policeman, passing on along his beat, trying doors as he went.

There was now a fine, cold drizzle falling, and the wind had risen from its uncertain puffs into a steady blow. The few foot passengers astir in that quarter hurried dismally and silently along with coat collars turned high and pocketed hands. And in the door of the hardware store the man who had come a thousand miles to fill an appointment, uncertain almost to absurdity, with the friend of his youth, smoked his cigar and waited.

About twenty minutes he waited, and then a tall man in a long overcoat, with collar turned up to his ears, hurried across from the opposite side of the street. He went directly to the waiting man.

"Is that you, Bob?" he asked, doubtfully.

"Is that you, Jimmy Wells?" cried the man in the door.

"Bless my heart!" exclaimed the new arrival, grasping both the other's hands with his own. "It's Bob, sure as fate. I was certain I'd find you here if you were still in existence. Well, well, well!—twenty years is a long time. The old restaurant's gone, Bob; I wish it had lasted, so we could have had another dinner there. How has the West treated you, old man?"

"Bully; it has given me everything I asked it for. You've changed lots, Jimmy. I never thought you were so tall by two or three inches."

"Oh, I grew a bit after I was twenty."

"Doing well in New York, Jimmy?"

"Moderately. I have a position in one of the city departments. Come on, Bob; we'll go around to a place I know of, and have a good long talk about old times."

The two men started up the street, arm in arm. The man from the West, his egotism enlarged by success, was beginning to outline the history of his career. The other, submerged in his overcoat, listened with interest.

At the corner stood a drug store, brilliant with electric lights. When they came into this glare each of them turned simultaneously to gaze upon the other's face.

The man from the West stopped suddenly and released his arm.

"You're not Jimmy Wells," he snapped. "Twenty years is a long time, but not long enough to change a man's nose from a Roman to a pug."

"It sometimes changes a good man into a bad one," said the tall man. "You've been under arrest for ten minutes, 'Silky' Bob. Chicago thinks you may have dropped over our way and wires us she wants to have a chat with you. Going quietly, are you? That's sensible. Now, before we go on to the station here's a note I was asked to hand you. You may read it here at the window. It's from Patrolman Wells."

The man from the West unfolded the little piece of paper handed him. His hand was steady when he began to read, but it trembled a little by the time he had finished. The note was rather short.

Bob: I was at the appointed place on time. When you struck the match to light your cigar I saw it was the face of the man wanted in Chicago. Somehow I couldn't do it myself, so I went around and got a plain clothes man to do the job.