The Crucible Page: 449
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was facing a lonely death, he who knew his
end as well as did his own "-Murray" in the
story, expressed dread of the ether. Would he
sink into unconsciousness right away or must
he "light it"? The doctor reassured him.
Then, as he stepped from the elevator to
the ward, a kind of miracle came over him.
Shy, sensitive, guarding the bare nerve-ends
of his soul with an affectation of fippancy,
his igat had always lbeen furtive, his manner
shrinking. Now he walked nobly, his head
up, his chest out, his feet firml-walked as
earls walked to the scaffold. Underneath all
that democracy of life and love of the raw
human heart which made him reject thepros-
perous and love the chatter of car-conductors
and shop-girls-that quality which made Syd-
ney Porter O. Henry "-lay pride in his good
Southern blood. It was as though he sum-
moned all this pride of blood to help him
fight the last battle like a man and a Sydney.
lie smiled back to his friends at the door, and
none of his own ever saw him again alive;
for his family came just too late.
Hie rallied from the operation; and he lay
for a day in a painless half-stupor, out of
which he smiled now and then when the
nurses moved him. Once he roused him-
self to ask if his family were coming. It
was midnight between Friday and Satur-
day when they took him to the hospital.
In the early morning of Sunday, the nurse
saw him move. lie was looking toward
the w indow; there was no sign vet of dawn.
Hie rolled his head back toward the dim
hospital lamp and whispered,
"Turn up the lights: 1 don't want to go
home in the dark!" The nurse ol,ced, and
seeing the change in his face, called the doc-
tor. But Syndley Porter never spoke agaiitn.
Just before his spirit mninglcd with the pcace-
ful ocean of unnumlbred souls, Ithe looked upI
and gave them one of his quick smiles. And
on that smile he died.
"I don't want to go home in the dark"-
what man in dying ever so expressed his very
self? The jesting phrase of the stlret,
bawled from concert hall stages, called ftrn
ca-seit to cab-seat, whispered in the love-
hour on the front steps of tenements, shouted
at the batsman 1y baseball oachrs that
catch-word of the day carried through lvIcr
after layer of feeling and consciousness until it
touched the depths and became poetry!
More: he carried within him all the traciy
in this world as well as all the mirth; for that
is the law of the masters. Such as lie cannot
quite face the sadness of things, else the soul
would sink under the weight of it. As one
such has silence for a defense and one allecta-
tion, Sydney Porter had an appearanc:ie of
cynicism; he shielded his soul with ili ilnt
and humorous phrases. And I do not doubt
that in this phrase, with its Ialance betwnii
humor and poetry, he fortiied himsclf to face
the world "outside the shell."
O. Henry's Last Poem
O. Henry did not oftent express himnself in verse. The following is one of to poems oun d in a jtn-
book ait/r his /death. In the first pages of the book 'sas the other pem. .11t j he end o the book, i/tl/ hi ln
pag's between, came " The Cricib/l."
HIuin ye may be in the tumult,
Red to your battle hilts,
Blow give for blow in the foray,
Cunningly ride in the tilts;
But when the roaring is ended,
Turn to a w-oman a woman's
Heart, and a child's to a child.
Test of the man, if his worth he
In accord with the ultimate plan,
That he be not, to his marring,
Always and utterly man;
That lie bring out of the tumult,
Fitter and undefiled,
To woman the heart of a woman,
To children the heart of a child.
Good when the bugles are ranting
It is to be iron and fire;
Good to be oak in the foray,
Ice to a guilty desire.
But w hen the battle is over
(Marvel and wonder the while)
Give to a woman a woman's
Heart, and a child's to a child.
fi. - --- - - - _
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Henry, O., 1862-1910. The Crucible, prose (fiction), September 1910; New York. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth139421/m1/3/: accessed July 28, 2021), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.