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The Duplicity of Hargraves

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The Duplicity of Hargraves

by O. Henry

Genre: Comedy
Format of Original Source: Short Story
Recommended Adaptation Length: 60 Minutes

Candidate for Adaptation? Promising


“This was a young man named Henry Hopkins Hargraves–every one in the house addressed him by his full name–who was engaged at one of the popular vaudeville theaters. But Mr. Hargraves was ambitious, and often spoke of his great desire to succeed in legitimate comedy.”


Steeped in the ways and wearing the fashions of the Old South, Major Pendleton Talbot of Mobile and his daughter Lydia move to a boarding house in Washington D.C., where the major befriends and trusts Henry Hopkins Hargraves, an actor — the only one who doesn’t make fun of Talbot behind his back. Despite running out of money, the Talbots go to the theater, where they see Hargraves portraying a gross caricature of Talbot, who feels betrayed. Contrite, Hargraves offers him a few hundred dollars, which is refused in a huff. Then Mose, an old black former slave of the Talbots, shows up and pays him an old family debt of $300. But “Mose” actually was the talented mimic, Hargraves!

This story teaches that you never know from where goodness will appear and could make an entertaining one-act.


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