Page:Southern Life in Southern Literature.djvu/381

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363
WILLIAM SIDNEY PORTER

It would seem that, impelled by love and faith, and guided by his wandering reason, he had come forth to preach his last sermon on the immortality of the soul over the dust of his dead master.

The sexton led him home, and soon afterwards a friend, who had loved them both, laid him beside the colonel.

It was perhaps fitting that his winding sheet should be the vestment in which, years agone, he had preached to his fellow slaves in bondage; for if it so be that the dead of this planet shall come forth from their graves clad in the trappings of mortality, then Peter should arise on the Resurrection Day wearing his old jeans coat.


WILLIAM SIDNEY PORTER ("O. HENRY")

[William Sidney Porter, better known by his pen name "O. Henry," was born in 1862 at Greensboro, North Carolina. His disposition early led him into a roving life, and he successively lived on a cattle ranch in Texas, did newspaper work in Houston and Austin, spent a while in South America, moved to New Orleans, and in 1902 settled in New York, where he was living at the time of his death, in 1910. He achieved widespread popularity as a writer of short stories, which in the collected edition of his works fill some nine or ten volumes.]


TWO RENEGADES[1]

In the Gate City of the South the Confederate Veterans were reuniting; and I stood to see them march, beneath the tangled flags of the great conflict, to the hall of their oratory and commemoration.

While the irregular and halting line was passing I made onslaught upon it and dragged forth from the ranks my friend

  1. Reprinted from "Roads of Destiny" by permission of the holder of the copyright, Doubleday, Page & Company.