Could you please give me the summary of "After Twenty Years" ?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

O. Henry's story "After Twenty Years" begins with a policeman on his beat around 10 o'clock at night.  As he checks doors, he swings his bully club and watches around him.  As he is midway in his walk, he notices a man leaning in the doorway of a darkened hardware store.  The man assures the officer that he is waiting for an old friend with whom he had dined twenty years ago when a restaurant was located in the place of the store.  He and his friend agreed to meet each other when they have their "destiny worked out."

Then, the officer asks the stranger if he has heard from his friend since their dinner, and the starnger replies that he and his friend corresponded for a while, but when he went out West, they grew apart. However, he trusts that Jimmy will meet him because he has always been trustworthy.  As he talks, the man in the doorway pulls out a handsome watch set with diamonds and looks at the time.  "Three minutes to ten...It was exactly ten o'clock when we parted here at the restaurant door."

"Hope your friend comes....Goint to call time on him sharp?"

The waiting man says he will him at least half an hour.  About twenty minutes later, a tall man in an overcoat walks directly to the waiting man, asking, "Is that you Bob?"  But Bob notices that Jimmy is taller.  The man does not make much comment, but urges Bob to go to a place where they can talk about old times together.  As they walk, they come to the corner where a streetlamp shines upon their faces.  "You're not Jimmy Wells," the man from the West exclaims.  But, the other man tells Silky Bob that he has been under arrest for twenty minutes. He then hands Bob a note from Parolman Wells. The man reads the note that shakes as his hand trembles.  In this letter the policeman writes that he recognized Bob as the man wanted in Chicago.  Somehow he could not arrest him, though,  so he sent his fellow patrolman in his place.

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