What are the references to the reunion in the story "After Twenty Years" by O. Henry?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The short story "After Twenty Years" has several references to the reunion of Jimmy Wells and "Silky Bob":

1.  When the policeman approaches the man in the doorway, he tells the officer that he is waiting for a friend:  "It's an appointment made twenty years ago."

2. As he converses with the policeman, the man in the doorway says, with dramatic irony,

"We figured that in twenty years each of us ought to have our destiny worked out and our fortunes made...."

3.  The man tells the officer, "It was exactly ten o'clock when we parted here at the restaurant door."

4. He tells the officer that if Jim is late, he will wait: "I'll give him half an hour, at least!"

5.  As a man approaches, he exclaims, "Bless my heart!....It's Bob, sure as fate."

6.  Bob realizes,

"You're not Jimmy Wells,....Twenty years is a long time, but not long enough to change a man's nose from a Roman to a pug."

7.  The other man tells Bob, "You've been under arrest for ten minutes, "Silky Bob."  Chicago thinks you may have dropped over our way and wires us she wants to have a chat with you.

8.  A letter reveals Jimmy's behavior:

Bob:  I was at the appointed place on time.  When you struck the match to light your cigar, I saw it was the face of the man wanted in Chicago.  Somehow I couldn't  do it myself, so I went around and got a plain clothes man to do the job.

With the typical surprise ending by O. Henry, there is also the typically ironic implications.  The policemen does not have the nerve to confront his old friend.