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O. Henry

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437 pages
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HEART OF THE WESTby O. HenryCONTENTSI. Hearts and CrossesII. The Ransom of MackIII. Telemachus, FriendIV. The Handbook of HymenV. The Pimienta PancakesVI. Seats of the HaughtyVII. Hygeia at the SolitoVIII. An Afternoon MiracleIX. The Higher AbdicationX. Cupid a la CarteXI. The Caballeros WayXII. The Sphinx AppleXIII. The Missing ChordXIV. A Call LoanXV. The Princess and the PumaXVI. The Indian Summer of Dry Valley JohnsonXVII. Christmas by InjunctionXVIII. A Chaparral PrinceXIX. The Reformation of CalliopeHEART OF THE WESTIHEARTS AND CROSSESBaldy Woods reached for the bottle, and got it. Whenever Baldy wentfor anything he usually--but this is not Baldys story. He poured outa third drink that was larger by a finger than the first and second.Baldy was in consultation- and the consultee is worthy of his hire.Id be king if I was you, said Baldy, so positively that his holstercreaked and his spurs rattled.Webb Yeager pushed back his flat-brimmed Stetson, and made furtherdisorder in his straw-coloured hair. The tonsorial recourse beingwithout avail, he followed the liquid example of the more resourcefulBaldy.If a man marries a queen, it oughtnt to make him a two-spot,declared Webb, epitomising his grievances.Sure not, said Baldy, sympathetic, still thirsty, and genuinelysolicitous concerning the relative value of the cards. By rightsyoure a king. If I was you, Id call for a new deal. The cards havebeen stacked on you--Ill tell you what you are, Webb Yeager.What? asked Webb, with a hopeful look in his pale-blue eyes.Youre a prince-consort.Go easy, said Webb. I never blackguarded you none.Its a title, explained Baldy, up among the picture-cards- but itdont take no tricks. Ill tell you, Webb. Its a brand theyre gotfor certain animals in Europe. Say that you or me or one of them Dutchdukes marries in a royal family. Well, by and by our wife gets to bequeen. Are we king? Not in a million years. At the coronationceremonies we march between little casino and the Ninth GrandCustodian of the Royal Hall Bedchamber. The only use we are is toappear in photographs, and accept the responsibility for the heir-apparent. That aint any square deal. Yes, sir, Webb, youre a prince-consort- and if I was you, Id start a interregnum or a habeus corpusor somethin- and Id be king if I had to turn from the bottom of thedeck....