The Last Leaf by O. Henry

The Last Leaf by O. Henry

New York consists of numerous districts. In one of such districts there are small streets called “places”. Lots of artists discovered these places and decided to live there. Cheap rentals and old lofts were the things they liked. Later this place was named Greenwich Village. Sue and Johnsy opened a studio on the top floor of one old building. The real name of Johnsy was Joana. She came from California. Sue was from Maine. Soon they became best friends. Suddenly a dangerous disease came to their house. Sue got pneumonia. The doctor examined her. He said that the girl had only one way to survive – she had to obtain a passion to life. She needed either a beloved person or a life goal. Johnsy decided to help her friend recover.

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The Last Leaf by O. Henry

In a little area west of Washington Square in New York City there are many little streets called “places”. Artists soon discovered these “places” and began living there.

They liked the cheap rents and the old attics. This area became a colony of artists and it was called Greenwich Village.

Sue and Johnsy had their studio at the top of a brick building. Johnsy was Joanna’s nickname and she was from California. Sue was from Maine. They met at an eating place and became best friends. In May they opened an artists’ studio together.

The Last Leaf by O. Henry

In November a cold, invisible stranger came to the colony. Doctors called him Pneumonia. He touched a good number of artists with his cold finger, including Johnsy. Poor Johnsy, she was a thin, little woman and she lay quietly in her bed. She looked outside the window at the brick wall of the house in front of her.

One morning a busy doctor examined Johnsy and measured her temperature. Then he went into the hall and talked to Sue.

“She has about one chance in ten,” he said as he looked at the thermometer. “She must WANT to live. Your friend doesn’t want to get well. Does she think about anything special? Does she have a sweetheart?”

“No, she doesn’t have a sweetheart. But she wants to paint the Bay of Naples one day.”

“Well, I will do everything I can to help her. But when a patient begins to count the carriages in her funeral procession, then science and medicine can do very little.”

The doctor left and Sue went to her room and cried a lot.

After a while she walked cheerfully into Johnsy’s bedroom. She had her drawing paper and pencils in her hand. Johnsy lay in bed and did not move.

“She’s probably sleeping,” Sue thought and she began to draw a picture. She drew an Idaho cowboy with elegant riding trousers. It was an illustration for a magazine story. Young artists often draw illustrations for magazine stories to make some money.

Suddenly she heard a strange sound and went to Johnsy’s bed. Her eyes were open now. She was looking out of the window and counting.

“Twelve,” she said, and then, “eleven, ten, nine,” and then “eight, seven.”…

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