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Lost on Dress Parade

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Lost on Dress Parade

by O. Henry

Genre: Comedy
Format of Original Source: Short Story
Recommended Adaptation Length:

Candidate for Adaptation? Not Reviewed


Out of each week’s earnings Chandler set aside $1. At the end of each ten weeks with the extra capital thus accumulated, he purchased one gentleman’s evening from the bargain counter of stingy old Father Time. He arrayed himself in the regalia of millionaires and presidents; he took himself to the quarter where life is brightest and showiest, and there dined with taste and luxury. With ten dollars a man may, for a few hours, play the wealthy idler to perfection. The sum is ample for a well-considered meal, a bottle bearing a respectable label, commensurate tips, a smoke, cab fare and the ordinary etceteras.

This one delectable evening culled from each dull seventy was to Chandler a source of renascent bliss. To the society bud comes but one début; it stands alone sweet in her memory when her hair has whitened; but to Chandler each ten weeks brought a joy as keen, as thrilling, as new as the first had been. To sit among bon vivants under palms in the swirl of concealed music, to look upon the habitués of such a paradise and to be looked upon by them–what is a girl’s first dance and short-sleeved tulle compared with this?


A fella saves $1 out of each paycheck, so that every couple of months he treats himself to a night of high-society, dressing up and dining in the best places. On one of these nights, he meets a poor girlie, and tries to impress her with his riches. (If you know your O. Henry, you can see the ending of this story a mile away. It’s a two-beat story, and the characters are rather shallow; still, it’s a clear throughline and could make for a charming if bittersweet short piece.


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