We present the short story "The Furnished Room," by O. Henry. The story was originally adapted and recorded by the U.S. Department of State. Restless, always moving, forever passing like time itself, are most of the people who live in these old red houses. This is on New York’s West Side.
The people are homeless, yet they have a hundred homes. They go from furnished room to furnished room. They are transients, transients forever—transients in living place, transients in heart and mind. They sing the song, “Home, Sweet Home,” but they sing it without feeling what it means. They can carry everything they own in one small box. They know nothing of gardens. To them, flowers and leaves are something to put on a woman’s hat.
The houses of this part of the city have had a thousand people living in them. Therefore each house should have a thousand stories to tell. Perhaps most of these stories would not be interesting. But it would be strange if you did not feel, in some of these houses, that you were among people you could not see. The spirits of some who had lived and suffered there must surely remain, though their bodies had gone.
One evening a young man appeared, going from one to another of these big old houses, ringing the doorbell. At the twelfth house, he put down the bag he carried. He cleaned the dust from his face. Then he touched the bell. It sounded far, far away, as if it were ringing deep underground.
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