MAKES THE WHOLE WORLD KIN
by O. Henry
The burglar stepped inside the window quickly, and
then he took his time. A burglar who respects his
art always takes his time before taking anything
The house was a private residence. By its boarded
front door and untrimmed Boston ivy the burglar
knew that the mistress of it was sitting on some
oceanside piazza telling a sympathetic man in a
yachting cap that no one had ever understood her
sensitive, lonely heart. He knew by the light in
the third-story front windows, and by the lateness
of the season, that the master of the house had
come home, and would soon extinguish his light
and retire. For it was September of the year and
of the soul, in which season the house's good man
comes to consider roof gardens and stenographers
as vanities, and to desire the return of his mate
and the more durable blessings of decorum and the
The burglar lighted a cigarette. The guarded glow
of the match illuminated his salient points for a
moment. He belonged to the third type of burglars.
This third type has not yet been recognized and
accepted. The police have made us familiar with
the first and second. Their classification is
simple. The collar is the distinguishing mark.
When a burglar is caught who does not wear a
collar he is described as a degenerate of the
lowest type, singularly vicious and depraved,
and is suspected of being the desperate criminal
who stole the handcuffs out of Patrolman Hennessy's
pocket in 1878 and walked away to escape arrest.
The other well-known type is the burglar who wears
a collar. He is always referred to as a Raffles
in real life. He is invariably a gentleman by
daylight, breakfasting in a dress suit, and posing
as a paper-hanger, while after dark he plies his
nefarious occupation of burglary. His mother is
an extremely wealthy and respected resident of
Ocean Grove, and when he is conducted to his cell
he asks at once for a nail file and the Police
Gazette. He always has a wife in every State
in the Union and fiancees in all the Territories,
and the newspapers print his matrimonial gallery
out of their stock of cuts of the ladies who were
cured by only one bottle after having been given
up by five doctors, experiencing great relief
after the first dose.
The burglar wore a blue sweater. He was neither
a Raffles nor one of the chefs from Hell's Kitchen.
The police would have been baffled had they attempted
to classify him. They have not yet heard of the
respectable, unassuming burglar who is neither
above nor below his station.
This burglar of the third class began to prowl. He
wore no masks, dark lanterns, or gum shoes. He
carried a 38-calibre revolver in his pocket, and
he chewed peppermint gum thoughtfully.
The furniture of the house was swathed in its
summer dust protectors. The silver was far away
in safe-deposit vaults. The burglar expected no
remarkable "haul." His objective point was that
dimly lighted room where the master of the house
should be sleeping heavily after whatever solace
he had sought to lighten the burden of his
loneliness. A "touch" might be made there to
the extent of legitimate, fair professional
profits--loose money, a watch, a jeweled
stick-pin--nothing exorbitant or beyond reason.
He had seen the window left open and had taken
The burglar softly opened the door of the lighted
room. The gas was turned low. A man lay in the
bed asleep. On the dresser lay many things in
confusion--a crumpled roll of bills, a watch,
keys, three poker chips, crushed cigars, a pink
silk hair bow, and an unopened bottle of bromo-seltzer
for a bulwark in the morning.
The burglar took three steps toward the dresser.
The man in the bed suddenly uttered a squeaky
groan and opened his eyes. His right hand slid
under his pillow, but remained there.
"Lay still," said the burglar in conversational
tone. Burglars of the third type do not hiss.
The citizen in the bed looked at the round end
of the burglar's pistol and lay still.
"Now hold up both your hands," commanded the
The citizen had a little, pointed, brown-and-gray
beard, like that of a painless dentist. He looked
solid, esteemed, irritable, and disgusted. He
sat up in bed and raised his right hand above
"Up with the other one," ordered the burglar.
"You might be amphibious and shoot with your
left. You can count two, can't you? Hurry up,
"Can't raise the other one," said the citizen,
with a contortion of his lineaments.
"What's the matter with it?"
"Rheumatism in the shoulder."
"Was. The inflammation has gone down."
The burglar stood for a moment or two, holding
his gun on the afflicted one. He glanced at
the plunder on the dresser and then, with a
half-embarrassed air, back at the man in the
bed. Then he, too, made a sudden grimace.
"Don't stand there making faces," snapped the
citizen, bad-humoredly. "If you've come to
burgle why don't you do it? There's some stuff
"'Scuse me," said the burglar, with a grin;
"but it just socked me one, too. It's good
for you that rheumatism and me happens to be
old pals. I got it in my left arm, too. Most
anybody but me would have popped you when you
wouldn't hoist that left claw of yours."
"How long have you had it?" inquired the citizen.
"Four years. I guess that ain't all. Once you've
got it, it's you for a rheumatic life--that's my
"Ever try rattlesnake oil?" asked the citizen,
"Gallons," said the burglar. "If all the snakes
I've used the oil of was strung out in a row
they'd reach eight times as far as Saturn, and
the rattles could be heard at Valparaiso, Indiana,
"Some use Chiselum's Pills," remarked the citizen.
"Fudge!" said the burglar. "Took 'em five months.
No good. I had some relief the year I tried
Finkelham's Extract, Balm of Gilead poultices
and Potts's Pain Pulverizer; but I think it was
the buckeye I carried in my pocket what done the
"Is yours worse in the morning or at night?" asked
"Night," said the burglar; "just when I'm busiest.
Say, take down that arm of yours--I guess you
won't--Say! did you ever try Blickerstaff's Blood
"I never did. Does yours come in paroxysms or is
it a steady pain?"
The burglar sat down on the foot of the bed and
rested his gun on his crossed knee.
"It jumps," said he. "It strikes me when I ain't
looking for it. I had to give up second-story
work because I got stuck sometimes half-way up.
Tell you what--I don't believe the bloomin' doctors
know what is good for it."
"Same here. I've spent a thousand dollars without
getting any relief. Yours swell any?"
"Of mornings. And when it's goin' to rain--great
"Me, too," said the citizen. "I can tell when a
streak of humidity the size of a tablecloth
starts from Florida on its way to New York. And
if I pass a theatre where there's an 'East Lynne'
matinee going on, the moisture starts my left arm
jumping like a toothache."
"It's undiluted--hades!" said the burglar.
"You're dead right," said the citizen.
The burglar looked down at his pistol and thrust
it into his pocket with an awkward attempt at
"Say, old man," he said, constrainedly, "ever try
"Slop!" said the citizen, angrily. "Might as well
rub on restaurant butter."
"Sure," concurred the burglar. "It's a salve suitable
for little Minnie when the kitty scratches her finger.
I'll tell you what! We're up against it. I only find
one thing that eases her up. Hey? Little old sanitary,
ameliorating, lest-we-forget Booze. Say--this job's
off--'scuse me--get on your clothes and let's go out
and have some. 'Scuse the liberty, but--ouch! There
she goes again!"
"For a week," said the citizen. "I haven't been able
to dress myself without help. I'm afraid Thomas is
in bed, and--"
"Climb out," said the burglar, "I'll help you get
into your duds."
The conventional returned as a tidal wave and flooded
the citizen. He stroked his brown-and-gray beard.
"It's very unusual--" he began.
"Here's your shirt," said the burglar, "fall out. I
know a man who said Omberry's Ointment fixed him in
two weeks so he could use both hands in tying his
As they were going out the door the citizen turned
and started back.
"'Liked to forgot my money," he explained; "laid it
on the dresser last night."
The burglar caught him by the right sleeve.
"Come on," he said, bluffly. "I ask you. Leave it
alone. I've got the price. Ever try witch hazel and
oil of wintergreen?"
~~~~~~~ THE END ~~~~~~~