home | authors | books | about

Home -> O. Henry -> The Ferry of Unfulfilment

The Ferry of Unfulfilment

Short Stories


A Bird of Bagdad

A Blackjack Bargainer

A Call Loan

A Chaparral Christmas Gift

A Chaparral Prince

A Comedy in Rubber

A Cosmopolite in a Cafe

A Departmental Case

A Dinner at--------*

A Double-Dyed Deceiver

A Fog in Santone

A Harlem Tragedy

A Lickpenny Lover

A Little Local Colour

A Little Talk about Mobs

A Madison Square Arabian Night

A Matter of Mean Elevation

A Midsummer Knight's Dream

A Midsummer Masquerade

A Municipal Report

A Newspaper Story

A Night in New Arabia

A Philistine in Bohemia

A Poor Rule

A Ramble in Aphasia

A Retrieved Reformation

A Ruler of Men

A Sacrifice Hit

A Service of Love

A Snapshot at the President

A Strange Story

A Technical Error

A Tempered Wind

According to Their Lights

After Twenty Years

An Adjustment of Nature

An Afternoon Miracle

An Apology

An Unfinished Christmas Story

An Unfinished Story

Aristocracy Versus Hash

Art and the Bronco

At Arms With Morpheus

Babes in the Jungle


Between Rounds

Bexar Scrip No. 2692

Blind Man's Holiday

Brickdust Row

Buried Treasure

By Courier

Calloway's Code


Cherchez La Femme

Christmas by Injunction

Compliments of the Season

Confessions of a Humorist

Conscience in Art

Cupid a La Carte

Cupid's Exile Number Two


Dougherty's Eye-Opener

Elsie in New York

Extradited from Bohemia

Fickle Fortune or How Gladys Hustled

Friends in San Rosario

From Each According to His Ability

From the Cabby's Seat

Georgia's Ruling


He Also Serves

Hearts and Crosses

Hearts and Hands

Helping the Other Fellow

Holding Up a Train

Hostages to Momus

Hygeia at the Solito

Innocents of Broadway

Jeff Peters as a Personal Magnet

Jimmy Hayes and Muriel

Law and Order

Let Me Feel Your Pulse

Little Speck in Garnered Fruit

Lord Oakhurst's Curse

Lost on Dress Parade

Madame Bo-Peep, of the Ranches

Makes the Whole World Kin

Mammon and the Archer

Man About Town

Masters of Arts

Memoirs of a Yellow Dog

Modern Rural Sports

Money Maze

Nemesis and the Candy Man

New York by Camp Fire Light

Next to Reading Matter

No Story

October and June

On Behalf of the Management

One Dollar's Worth

One Thousand Dollars

Out of Nazareth

Past One at Rooney's


Proof of the Pudding

Psyche and the Pskyscraper

Queries and Answers

Roads of Destiny

Roses, Ruses and Romance

Rouge et Noir

Round the Circle

Rus in Urbe

Schools and Schools

Seats of the Haughty

Shearing the Wolf



Sisters of the Golden Circle


Sociology in Serge and Straw

Sound and Fury

Springtime a La Carte

Squaring the Circle

Strictly Business

Strictly Business

Suite Homes and Their Romance

Telemachus, Friend

The Admiral

The Adventures of Shamrock Jolnes

The Assessor of Success

The Atavism of John Tom Little Bear

The Badge of Policeman O'Roon

The Brief Debut of Tildy

The Buyer From Cactus City

The Caballero's Way

The Cactus

The Caliph and the Cad

The Caliph, Cupid and the Clock

The Call of the Tame

The Chair of Philanthromathematics

The Champion of the Weather

The Church with an Overshot-Wheel

The City of Dreadful Night

The Clarion Call

The Coming-Out of Maggie

The Complete Life of John Hopkins

The Cop and the Anthem

The Count and the Wedding Guest

The Country of Elusion

The Day Resurgent

The Day We Celebrate

The Defeat of the City

The Detective Detector

The Diamond of Kali

The Discounters of Money

The Dog and the Playlet

The Door of Unrest

The Dream

The Duel

The Duplicity of Hargraves

The Easter of the Soul

The Emancipation of Billy

The Enchanted Kiss

The Enchanted Profile

The Ethics of Pig

The Exact Science of Matrimony

The Ferry of Unfulfilment

The Fifth Wheel

The Flag Paramount

The Fool-Killer

The Foreign Policy of Company 99

The Fourth in Salvador

The Friendly Call

The Furnished Room

The Gift of the Magi

The Girl and the Graft

The Girl and the Habit

The Gold That Glittered

The Greater Coney

The Green Door

The Guardian of the Accolade

The Guilty Party - An East Side Tragedy

The Halberdier of the Little Rheinschloss

The Hand that Riles the World

The Handbook of Hymen

The Harbinger

The Head-Hunter

The Hiding of Black Bill

The Higher Abdication

The Higher Pragmatism

The Hypotheses of Failure

The Indian Summer of Dry Valley Johnson

The Lady Higher Up

The Last Leaf

The Last of the Troubadours

The Lonesome Road

The Lost Blend

The Lotus And The Bottle

The Love-Philtre of Ikey Schoenstein

The Making of a New Yorker

The Man Higher Up

The Marionettes

The Marquis and Miss Sally

The Marry Month of May

The Memento

The Missing Chord

The Moment of Victory

The Octopus Marooned

The Passing of Black Eagle

The Pendulum

The Phonograph and the Graft

The Pimienta Pancakes

The Plutonian Fire

The Poet and the Peasant

The Pride of the Cities

The Princess and the Puma

The Prisoner of Zembla

The Proem

The Purple Dress

The Ransom of Mack

The Ransom of Red Chief

The Rathskeller and the Rose

The Red Roses of Tonia

The Reformation of Calliope

The Remnants of the Code

The Renaissance at Charleroi

The Roads We Take

The Robe of Peace

The Romance of a Busy Broker

The Rose of Dixie

The Rubaiyat of a Scotch Highball

The Rubber Plant's Story

The Shamrock and the Palm

The Shocks of Doom

The Skylight Room

The Sleuths

The Snow Man

The Social Triangle

The Song and the Sergeant

The Sparrows in Madison Square

The Sphinx Apple

The Tale of a Tainted Tenner

The Theory and the Hound

The Thing's the Play

The Third Ingredient

The Trimmed Lamp

The Unknown Quantity

The Unprofitable Servant

The Venturers

The Vitagraphoscope

The Voice of the City

The Whirligig of Life

The World and the Door

Thimble, Thimble


To Him Who Waits

Tobin's Palm

Tommy's Burglar

Tracked to Doom

Transformation of Martin Burney

Transients in Arcadia

Two Recalls

Two Renegades

Two Thanksgiving Day Gentlemen

Ulysses and the Dogman

Vanity and Some Sables

What You Want

While the Auto Waits

Whistling Dick's Christmas Stocking

Witches' Loaves

At the street corner, as solid as granite in the "rush-hour" tide
of humanity, stood the Man from Nome. The Arctic winds and sun had
stained him berry-brown. His eye still held the azure glint of the

He was as alert as a fox, as tough as a caribou cutlet and as
broad-gauged as the aurora borealis. He stood sprayed by a Niagara
of sound--the crash of the elevated trains, clanging cars, pounding
of rubberless tires and the antiphony of the cab and truck-drivers
indulging in scarifying repartee. And so, with his gold dust cashed
in to the merry air of a hundred thousand, and with the cakes and
ale of one week in Gotham turning bitter on his tongue, the Man from
Nome sighed to set foot again in Chilkoot, the exit from the land of
street noises and Dead Sea apple pies.

Up Sixth avenue, with the tripping, scurrying, chattering,
bright-eyed, homing tide came the Girl from Sieber-Mason's. The Man
from Nome looked and saw, first, that she was supremely beautiful
after his own conception of beauty; and next, that she moved with
exactly the steady grace of a dog sled on a level crust of snow. His
third sensation was an instantaneous conviction that he desired her
greatly for his own. This quickly do men from Nome make up their
minds. Besides, he was going back to the North in a short time, and
to act quickly was no less necessary.

A thousand girls from the great department store of Sieber-Mason
flowed along the sidewalk, making navigation dangerous to men whose
feminine field of vision for three years has been chiefly limited to
Siwash and Chilkat squaws. But the Man from Nome, loyal to her who
had resurrected his long cached heart, plunged into the stream of
pulchritude and followed her.

Down Twenty-third street she glided swiftly, looking to neither side;
no more flirtatious than the bronze Diana above the Garden. Her fine
brown hair was neatly braided; her neat waist and unwrinkled black
skirt were eloquent of the double virtues--taste and economy. Ten
yards behind followed the smitten Man from Nome.

Miss Claribel Colby, the Girl from Sieber-Mason's, belonged to
that sad company of mariners known as Jersey commuters. She walked
into the waiting-room of the ferry, and up the stairs, and by a
marvellous swift, little run, caught the ferry-boat that was just
going out. The Man from Nome closed up his ten yards in three jumps
and gained the deck close beside her.

Miss Colby chose a rather lonely seat on the outside of the
upper-cabin. The night was not cold, and she desired to be away from
the curious eyes and tedious voices of the passengers. Besides, she
was extremely weary and drooping from lack of sleep. On the previous
night she had graced the annual ball and oyster fry of the West Side
Wholesale Fish Dealers' Assistants' Social Club No. 2, thus reducing
her usual time of sleep to only three hours.

And the day had been uncommonly troublous. Customers had been
inordinately trying; the buyer in her department had scolded her
roundly for letting her stock run down; her best friend, Mamie
Tuthill, had snubbed her by going to lunch with that Dockery girl.

The Girl from Sieber-Mason's was in that relaxed, softened mood
that often comes to the independent feminine wage-earner. It is a
mood most propitious for the man who would woo her. Then she has
yearnings to be set in some home and heart; to be comforted, and to
hide behind some strong arm and rest, rest. But Miss Claribel Colby
was also very sleepy.

There came to her side a strong man, browned and dressed carelessly
in the best of clothes, with his hat in his hand.

"Lady," said the Man from Nome, respectfully, "excuse me for
speaking to you, but I--I--I saw you on the street, and--and--"

"Oh, gee!" remarked the Girl from Sieber-Mason's, glancing up with
the most capable coolness. "Ain't there any way to ever get rid
of you mashers? I've tried everything from eating onions to using
hatpins. Be on your way, Freddie."

"I'm not one of that kind, lady," said the Man from Nome--"honest,
I'm not. As I say, I saw you on the street, and I wanted to know you
so bad I couldn't help followin' after you. I was afraid I wouldn't
ever see you again in this big town unless I spoke; and that's why I
done so."

Miss Colby looked once shrewdly at him in the dim light on the
ferry-boat. No; he did not have the perfidious smirk or the brazen
swagger of the lady-killer. Sincerity and modesty shone through his
boreal tan. It seemed to her that it might be good to hear a little
of what he had to say.

"You may sit down," she said, laying her hand over a yawn with
ostentatious politness; "and--mind--don't get fresh or I'll call the

The Man from Nome sat by her side. He admired her greatly. He more
than admired her. She had exactly the looks he had tried so long in
vain to find in a woman. Could she ever come to like him? Well, that
was to be seen. He must do all in his power to stake his claim,

"My name's Blayden," said he--"Henry Blayden."

"Are you real sure it ain't Jones?" asked the girl, leaning toward
him, with delicious, knowing raillery.

"I'm down from Nome," he went on with anxious seriousness. "I
scraped together a pretty good lot of dust up there, and brought it
down with me."

"Oh, say!" she rippled, pursuing persiflage with engaging lightness,
"then you must be on the White Wings force. I thought I'd seen you

"You didn't see me on the street to-day when I saw you."

"I never look at fellows on the street."

"Well, I looked at you; and I never looked at anything before that I
thought was half as pretty."

"Shall I keep the change?"

"Yes, I reckon so. I reckon you could keep anything I've got. I
reckon I'm what you would call a rough man, but I could be awful
good to anybody I liked. I've had a rough time of it up yonder, but
I beat the game. Nearly 5,000 ounces of dust was what I cleaned up
while I was there."

"Goodness!" exclaimed Miss Colby, obligingly sympathetic. "It must
be an awful dirty place, wherever it is."

And then her eyes closed. The voice of the Man from Nome had a
monotony in its very earnestness. Besides, what dull talk was this
of brooms and sweeping and dust? She leaned her head back against
the wall.

"Miss," said the Man from Nome, with deeper earnestness and
monotony, "I never saw anybody I liked as well as I do you. I know
you can't think that way of me right yet; but can't you give me a
chance? Won't you let me know you, and see if I can't make you like

The head of the Girl from Sieber-Mason's slid over gently and rested
upon his shoulder. Sweet sleep had won her, and she was dreaming
rapturously of the Wholesale Fish Dealers' Assistants' ball.

The gentleman from Nome kept his arms to himself. He did not
suspect sleep, and yet he was too wise to attribute the movement to
surrender. He was greatly and blissfully thrilled, but he ended by
regarding the head upon his shoulder as an encouraging preliminary,
merely advanced as a harbinger of his success, and not to be taken
advantage of.

One small speck of alloy discounted the gold of his satisfaction.
Had he spoken too freely of his wealth? He wanted to be liked for

"I want to say, Miss," he said, "that you can count on me. They know
me in the Klondike from Juneau to Circle City and down the whole
length of the Yukon. Many a night I've laid in the snow up there
where I worked like a slave for three years, and wondered if I'd
ever have anybody to like me. I didn't want all that dust just
myself. I thought I'd meet just the right one some time, and I done
it to-day. Money's a mighty good thing to have, but to have the love
of the one you like best is better still. If you was ever to marry a
man, Miss, which would you rather he'd have?"


The word came sharply and loudly from Miss Colby's lips, giving
evidence that in her dreams she was now behind her counter in the
great department store of Sieber-Mason.

Her head suddenly bobbed over sideways. She awoke, sat straight, and
rubbed her eyes. The Man from Nome was gone.

"Gee! I believe I've been asleep," said Miss Colby "Wonder what
became of the White Wings!"

© Art Branch Inc. | English Dictionary