55 votes
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How could sixty cents of $1.87 be in pennies?

There used to be a three-cent piece. Assuming that "The Gift of the Magi" is set in the US at around the time of its publication in 1905, there was a three-cent piece which was still minted ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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17 votes
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Looking for an old O. Henry story about a wealthy young man trying to woo a "genteel poor" young lady in New York City

The story is called The Discounters of Money. It occurs in the collection of O. Henry stories called Roads of Destiny. It occupies pages 379 to 384 in this book. …and there you have young Howard ...
ShreevatsaR's user avatar
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16 votes

How could sixty cents of $1.87 be in pennies?

A quick look at Wikipedia lists a few obsolete coins which could be involved here, beyond the half cent: Two-cent bronze: 2¢, 1863–1873 Three-cent nickel: 3¢, 1865–1889 Trime (Three-cent silver): 3¢, ...
muru's user avatar
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11 votes

How to understand “a dumb or a talking brute” in The Ransom of Red Chief?

Yes, essentially this is a minor wordplay and double meaning. A "dumb brute" is a phrase that was commonly used to denote an animal, not necessarily even a savagely violent animal. I say &...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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8 votes

How could sixty cents of $1.87 be in pennies?

Gift of the Magi was published in 1905. As others have already identified, the US had a two-cent piece until 1872 and a three-cent piece until 1889 (but with much lower production after 1875). The US ...
Gilles 'SO- stop being evil''s user avatar
8 votes
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Looking for an O.Henry story where a young man from the country working in the city marries a socialite and then goes for a visit to his home

"The Defeat of the City" It's the protagonist who issues the challenge, but the other details seem to match: That night when the greetings and the supper were over, the entire family, ...
Ayshe's user avatar
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7 votes
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What does the phrase "the silent imputation of parsimony" mean in The Gift of the Magi by O.Henry?

O. Henry is considered a master of the short story, and this excerpt tells you why. His very first paragraph tells you something about a main character and about the conflict. Parsimony, or penny ...
Ralph Crown's user avatar
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6 votes

Meaning of "rubber" as a verb in O. Henry

The entire phrase is a nonsensical piece of wordplay "The lame walk and the blind see" is a well known biblical phrase, said by Jesus to indicate his holiness. The phrase is corrupted here into ...
DJClayworth's user avatar
5 votes

How to understand “a dumb or a talking brute” in The Ransom of Red Chief?

A simpler interpretation is that that "dumb or talking" is merely contrasting "unable to speak" and "speaking". While you could extend that to discuss "human or ...
Sean Duggan's user avatar
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5 votes

Meaning of "rubber" as a verb in O. Henry

While both of the existing answers touch on relevant matters I believe they both miss the mark in terms of the intended meaning. @frathoss cites a range of definitions including one which supports ...
Spagirl's user avatar
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5 votes
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Meaning of “dactylis” in O. Henry’s “The Trimmed Lamp”

The paragraph in which the quote from the question can be found goes as follows: "Him?" said Nancy, with her coolest, sweetest, most impersonal, Van Alstyne Fisher smile; "not for mine. I saw him ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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5 votes

O. Henry story about a grandfather who sits a boy down on a porch to tell a story about a grandfather who sits a boy down etc

This is a traditional joke story, more amusing to the teller than the listener, that has existed for well over a hundred years. Dads tell the story to troll their kids. There are many versions. ...
Pete's user avatar
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5 votes

What does the phrase "the silent imputation of parsimony" mean in The Gift of the Magi by O.Henry?

In the story it is clear from the starting line that Del and Jim were poverty-stricken. Such was the extent of poverty that even the cents were in pennies. Henry mentions the pennies were saved ...
cinebird's user avatar
  • 129
3 votes

What is the meaning of this sentence from A Retrieved Reformation?

This solves the crux of the problem. Here, Ben Price is confident that Jimmy Valentine could, in a way, dodge the judiciary; he was to serve full term in jail. To show him clemency is just another ...
Barid Baran Acharya's user avatar
2 votes

Meaning of description of Jim waking in "The Gift of the Magi"

Jim is not waking from sleep. He is stunned to see that Della has cut her hair, and it takes him a moment to recover. When he does get over the initial shock, it is as if he wakes up from a trance. ...
verbose's user avatar
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2 votes

What does the line "The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them." mean in The Gifts Of The Magi?

That refers to the "answer" alluded to in the previous sentence. When you have a million dollars, you don't appreciate the things you already have. In the case of their gifts, it really is the thought ...
Ralph Crown's user avatar
  • 1,237
1 vote

How could sixty cents of $1.87 be in pennies?

Technically, It doesn't state that the sixty pennies were the only pennies. There could have been 187 pennies, and "sixty cents of it was in pennies" would be true. If this assumption is ...
Xavier J's user avatar
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1 vote

What does the line "The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them." mean in The Gifts Of The Magi?

As I see it, the gift that the Magi didn't bring was sacrifice (sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house), which doesn't require money (Eight dollars a week or a million a year -...
Breogana's user avatar
1 vote

What does the line "The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them." mean in The Gifts Of The Magi?

I differ in my perception here. The Magi brought gifts that are considered wise, the reason is the gold brought as gift symbolises 'influence' which infant Jesus was to acquire afterwards as a ...
Baskaran Soundararajan's user avatar

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