11

                                A Cent Cut into Two Pieces

    I worked at an office . I wrote short stories about life in  New  York.
One day, as engaged at the office , Tripp came in.  I  didnt  know  exactly
where Tripp was working, but he was very poor. He was pale and  unhealthy  ,
and whenever he came  I knew that he was going to ask me for a dollar ,  and
then spend it on whisky.
    This time Tripp looked more unhappy then ever.
    Well , Tripp , how are you? said I.  Have  you  got  a  dollar,  Mr.
Chalmers? asked Tripp. Would you like a good plot for a  story?  Ive  got
an excellent one. It will probably cost you a dollar or two.
     What is the story? I asked impatiently.
     Its a girl. A real beauty . She had lived in a  village  for  twenty
years and has never seen New York City before. I happened  to  meet  her  in
the street. I was passing by when she  addressed  me  and  asked  where  she
could find George Brown. Asked me where she could find Gorge  Brawn  in  New
York! She comes from a little village and has seen nothing in her  life  but
farms. I talked to her . She told me she was  going  to  marry  farmer  next
week. But there had been a certain Gorge Brown  who  had  left  the  village
some years ago and gone to the city to earn money.
    He never returned to the village. But before marrying the farmer , Ada-
her mane is Ada  wants to find Gorge Brown and to have a talk with  him  as
she seems to care for him still. That is why she has come to New  York    I
couldnt leave her along. She told me that she had spent all her  money  and
that she didnt know what to do and  where  to  go.  So  I  took  her  to  a
boarding house and left her there. I want you to come with me to  see  her.

     What nonsense  you are talking , Tripp, said I.  I thought you said
you had a plot of a story.
    Oh , it will make a story , I assure  you,  said  Tripp.    You  can
describe the girl and add a lot about true love  well , you know how to  do
it and it will cost you only four dollars.
    how will it cost me four dollars? I asked.
     One dollar to the landlady in the boarding house, Tripp answered , 
and two dollars to pay the girls fare home.
     And the fourth dollar? I asked .
    One dollar to me , said Tripp,  for whisky . Are you coming?
    There was nothing to be done but I said to myself that Tripp
    Would never persuade me to give him his dollar for  whisky.  Angrily  I
accompanied him to the boarding house. Tripp was right; she  was  a  beauty.
We found Ada comfortably sitting in an armchair  and  crying.  She  told  me
everything. When she spoke about Gorge Brown tears came to  her  eyes.  What
could I do? I was not George.
     Gorge and I , she went on ,  loved each other. When he was nineteen-
 that had six years ago  he left the village and went to New York  to  earn
money. He said he would come  back for me. But I never heard  from  him  any
more. On the day we parted Gorge and I cut  a cent into two pieces.  I  took
one piece and he took the other , and we promised  to  be  devoted  to  each
other. Something has happened to him , I am sure .  It  certainly  was  very
silly of me to come here looking for him. I never ever suspected what a  big
place New York is.
    And then Tripp and I told her how important it  was  for  her  to  stop
looking for the unlucky Gorge and to return home at once.
    I paid the landlady  a dollar , and the three of us left  the  boarding
house . I bought a ticket and a red rose for Ada. We saw her off.  And  then
Tripp and I looked at each  other.  Tripp  seemed  even  more  unhappy  then
usual.
     Cant you make a story of it? he asked me.  not a line, said I.  
There is nothing interesting in this little adventure : but we  have  helped
Ada. Let us try to forget it, said I. I did not  want  to  give  Tripp  his
dollar for whisky. Just as we were walking toward the bus stop,  Tripp  took
out his handkerchief, and I saw a cheap silver watch  chain.  Something  was
hanging on the watch chain. It was a half of a cent that had been  cut  into
halves.
    What? I said  ,  looking  at  him  with  surprise.  Oh  ,  yes,  he
answered, my real name Gorge Brown. But whats the use?
    Without another word I took Tripps whisky  dollar out of my pocket and
put it into his hand.


( After O.Henry)





" 11 "