Best Seller by O. Henry — Explanation

Best Seller
By O.Henry

Para 1 .. One day last summer, I (the narrator) went to Pittsburgh on business.
Para 2 .. The chair-car I was traveling on was almost packed to its capacity with rather well-to-do passengers. The ladies inside the car wore brown-silk dresses with square yokes with lace insertions and dotted veils. They didn’t like the idea of the windows slid up as they wanted the full unrestricted view of the outside. The men were an assorted lot of varying professions, heading towards different destinations. I reclined on the chair no. 7 and nonchalantly looked over towards chair no. 9. I could see small, black and bald-spotted head.
Para 3 .. Suddenly I saw that the man who sat in chair no.9 flung a book towards the window. The book was the best-seller – The Rose Lady and the Trevelyan. When the man turned towards the window, I could get a better view of him. I realized I had run into an old acquaintance of mine – John A. Pescud of Pittsburgh. He worked as a traveling salesman for a plate-glass company there. I was seeing him after nearly two years.
Para 4 .. We soon sat face to face enjoying the encounter. What followed was a good chat over many things – rain, prosperity, health, residence and destination we both were heading to. Happily for me, our conversation did not drift towards politics.
Para 5 .. Pescud was a robust man, small in height, with a broad grin. While talking, he fixed his gaze right on the face of the man he was speaking with.
Para 6 .. Pescud worked for Cambria Steel Works. He was proud of it and its product – the plate-glasses. He was a local man, quite decent and law-abiding.
Para 7 .. I had never talked to Pescud earlier on such matters as romance, literature and ethics. Our interaction had remained centered around local topics.
Para 8 .. On this meeting aboard the train, I could get to talk to Pescud in more detail. He was upbeat about his business. He told me how the inflow of orders had improved after the party convention. Pescud was to get down at Coketown.
Para 9 .. Pescud was quite blunt when it came to his views on the book he was holding — The Rose Lady and the Trevelyan. Holding the book in his hand in a way that showed his disapproval of the book, he wondered if I had read any such book rated as bestsellers. He was alluding to the absurdity of the story that had an affluent well-dressed American who fell in love with a European princess traveling with an assumed name. Continue reading

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