Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

89 O. Henry Quotes For Passionate Readers

Famous As: Short Story Writer
Born On: September 11, 1862
Died On: June 5, 1910
Born In: Greensboro, North Carolina
Died At Age: 47

William Sydney Porter, famous as O. Henry, was a prolific American short story writer. His stories and writings are known for their surprise endings. Born in Greensboro, North Carolina, he was an avid reader and spent his major time reading, everything from dime novels to classics. Some of his famous collections include ‘The Four Millions,’ ‘Heart of The West,’ ‘Cabbages and Kings,’ ‘The Trimmed Lamp,’ ‘Roads of Destiny,’ ‘The Gentle Grafter,’ ‘Options,’ and ‘The Voice of The City,’ amongst various others. Here is a collection of quotes and sayings by O. Henry which have been curated from his writings, stories, thoughts, poems, etc. Read through the compilation of notable and quotable quotes and thoughts by O. Henry on service, lights, unknown, achieve, environmental, smiles, farmer, happy, old-days, women, children, funny, nature, royal, American, business, fortune etc.

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

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

O. Henry
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.

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.

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

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

O. Henry
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.

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.

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

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

O. Henry
It's said that love makes the world go around. Let me tell you, the announcement lacks verification. It's the wind from the dinner horn that does it.

It's said that love makes the world go around. Let me tell you, the announcement lacks verification. It's the wind from the dinner horn that does it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

O. Henry
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.

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.

O. Henry
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.

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.

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

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

O. Henry
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?

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?

O. Henry
He studied cities as women study their reflections.

He studied cities as women study their reflections.

O. Henry
Women's weapon, water-drops.

Women's weapon, water-drops.

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

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

O. Henry
Those whom we first love we seldom marry

Those whom we first love we seldom marry

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

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

O. Henry
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.

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.

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

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

O. Henry
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.

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.

O. Henry
East is East, and West is San Francisco

East is East, and West is San Francisco

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

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

O. Henry
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.

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.

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

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

O. Henry
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.

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.

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

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

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

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

O. Henry
Greenwich Village... the village of low rents and high arts.

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

O. Henry
Bolivar cannot carry double

Bolivar cannot carry double

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

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

O. Henry
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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

O. Henry
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.

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.

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

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

O. Henry
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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

O. Henry
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.

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.

O. Henry
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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

O. Henry
Write what you like; there is no other rule.

Write what you like; there is no other rule.

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

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

O. Henry
I've got some of my best yarns from park benches, lamp posts and newspaper stands.

I've got some of my best yarns from park benches, lamp posts and newspaper stands.

O. Henry
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.

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.

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

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

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

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

O. Henry
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.

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.

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

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

O. Henry
No friendship is an accident.

No friendship is an accident.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

O. Henry

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.

O. Henry

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

O. Henry

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.

O. Henry

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.

O. Henry

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.

O. Henry

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.

O. Henry

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.

O. Henry

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.

O. Henry

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.

O. Henry

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.

O. Henry

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.

O. Henry

[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.

O. Henry

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 hayseeds are bailed hayseeds. But 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?

O. Henry

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.

O. Henry