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Sidney Porter (O. Henry) was a contemporary of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain). They died the same year; Porter attended Clemens' funeral a few months before his own death.

Was Porter referring to Twain's character Tom Sawyer or to Twain himself in the passage bolded below (rectangled in the image)? Sawyer (and Clemens himself) had curly hair and both were also known for "skipping school."

From "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry

When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends—a mammoth task.

Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection...

I assume also that the use of extravagant slang in O. Henry's By Courier (1906) was influenced by Twain's "Roughing It" (Buck Fanshaw / Scotty Briggs episode).

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    When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason . She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends—a mammoth task. Within forty minutes her hair was covered with tiny close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror ...
    – Peter Shor
    Jan 17, 2022 at 17:07
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    Who would have replaced lying (meaning lying like a rug) with mendacity (meaning lying like a politician). And there are other similar substitutions. Clearly, somebody changed it. trying to be funny, Where did you find this quote? You have angered my curiosity (or do I mean pointed?).
    – Peter Shor
    Jan 17, 2022 at 20:58
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    @PeterShor I did get a laugh from 'expensive buddies' for 'dear friends' though.
    – Spagirl
    Jan 19, 2022 at 11:27
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    @B.ClayShannon-B.CrowRaven I should ask for your money back on that.
    – Spagirl
    Jan 19, 2022 at 11:28
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    @B.ClayShannon-B.CrowRaven I don't know why anyone would do it, but I wonder if it's someone's weird idea of avoiding copyright, changing half the words for ones that a casual perusal of a thesaurus might suggest were equivalent.
    – Spagirl
    Jan 20, 2022 at 12:04

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