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Sue and Johnsy were poor artists who shared a
studio apartment in Greenwich Village, a little New
York district west of Washington Square. They
painted pictures which they hoped to sell. Their
studio was on the third floor of an old brick house.
They became friends in May and decided to live
together. In November Johnsy fell ill. She lay in bed
near the window and looked at the side of the next
brick house.
One morning, the doctor asked Sue to come out
into the corridor. "Your friend is very ill, she has no
chance in - let us say, ten," he said, as he looked at
his clinical thermometer. "And that chance is for her
to want to live. Your little lady has decided that she's
not going to get well. I promise to do all that I can,
but you must help me. Let her think not of her
illness, but of some other things."
After the doctor had gone, Sue went into Johnsy's
room. Johnsy lay with her face towards the window. Sue
thought that she was sleeping. So she began a drawing to
illustrate a magazine story.
As Sue was working she heard Johnsy counting. She
went quickly to the bedside. Johnsy's eyes were open.
She was looking out of the window and counting
something.
"Twelve," she said, and a little later "eleven", and then
"ten", and "nine"; and then "eight" and "seven" almost
together.
Sue looked out of the window. What was there to
count? There was only a yard and the brick wall of the
next house. An old, old ivy-vine was growing on the brick
wall of the next house. There were only a few leaves on it.
"What is it, dear?" asked Sue.
"Six," said Johnsy. "There're falling faster now. Three
days ago there were almost a hundred. There goes
another one. There are only five left now."
"Five what, dear? Tell me."
"Leaves. On the ivy - vine. When the last one falls, I must go too. I've
known that for three days. Didn't the doctor tell you?"
"Oh, I never heard of such nonsense," said Sue. "The doctor told me this
morning that your chances for getting well were ten to one! Try to take
some soup now and let me draw my pictures."
"No, I don't want any soup. There are only four now. I want to see the
last one fall before it gets dark. Then I'll go, too."
"Johnsy, dear," said Sue, "will you promise me to keep your eyes shut,
and not look out of the window until I finish working? I need the light."
"Tell me as soon as you have finished," said Johnsy, shutting her eyes and
lying white and still as a fallen statue, "because I want to see the last one
fall."
"Try to sleep," said Sue. "I must call Behrman up to be my model."
Old Behrman was a painter who lived on the ground floor in the same
house. He was over sixty, Behrman was a failure in art, but he still hoped to
paint a masterpiece. He earned a little by serving as a model to those
young painters who could not pay the price of a professional.
Sue found Behrman in his little room. She told him about Johnsy's
illness."
"She thinks that she will die when the last leaf falls
from the old ivy-vine on the wall of the next house."
Johnsy was sleeping when they entered her room.
They went to the window and looked at each other for
a moment without speaking.
When Johnsy opened her eyes the next morning,
there yet stood out against the brick wall one yellow
and green ivy leaf. It was the last on the vine.
"It is the last one," said Johnsy. "I thought it would
fall during the night. I heard the wind. It will fall today,
and I shall die at the same time."
The day came to its end and even in the evening
there was still one leaf on the ivy-vine. Then, with the
coming of the night, the north wind began to blow
again, the rain beat against the windows."
In the morning, the girls looked out of the window.
The one ivy leaf was still on the vine. Johnsy lay for a
long time looking at it. And then she called to Sue and
said, "I've been a bad girl. Something has made that
last leaf stay there to show that we must always hope
for the best. You may bring me a little soup now, and
some milk."
An hour later, she said, "Sue, some day I hope to
paint a beautiful picture."
The doctor came in the afternoon. In the corridor he
said to Sue, "She's much better now, she's getting well.
Now I must see old Behrman on the ground floor, some
kind of a painter, I believe. Pneumonia, too. He's an old
man. There is no hope for him; but he goes to the
hospital today. He'll be more comfortable there."
The next day, the doctor said to Sue, "She's out of
danger. You've won. Good food and care now - that's
all."
That afternoon Sue came to the bed where Johnsy
lay.
"I have something to tell you, white mouse," she
said. "Mr. Behrman died of pneumonia today in the
hospital. He was ill only two days. He was found
helpless in his room in the morning of the first day. His
shoes and clothing were wet and he was very cold.
They also found a lamp and a ladder in the room, some
brushes and some yellow and green paints. Now look
out of the window, dear, at the last ivy leaf on the wall.
Do you know why it never moved when the wind blew?
Ah, dear, it's Behrman's masterpiece - he painted it
there the night that the last leaf fell."
A Eugene Lysak compilation
2024

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The Last Leaf, a short story by O. Henry

  • 1.
  • 2. Sue and Johnsy were poor artists who shared a studio apartment in Greenwich Village, a little New York district west of Washington Square. They painted pictures which they hoped to sell. Their studio was on the third floor of an old brick house. They became friends in May and decided to live together. In November Johnsy fell ill. She lay in bed near the window and looked at the side of the next brick house. One morning, the doctor asked Sue to come out into the corridor. "Your friend is very ill, she has no chance in - let us say, ten," he said, as he looked at his clinical thermometer. "And that chance is for her to want to live. Your little lady has decided that she's not going to get well. I promise to do all that I can, but you must help me. Let her think not of her illness, but of some other things."
  • 3. After the doctor had gone, Sue went into Johnsy's room. Johnsy lay with her face towards the window. Sue thought that she was sleeping. So she began a drawing to illustrate a magazine story. As Sue was working she heard Johnsy counting. She went quickly to the bedside. Johnsy's eyes were open. She was looking out of the window and counting something. "Twelve," she said, and a little later "eleven", and then "ten", and "nine"; and then "eight" and "seven" almost together. Sue looked out of the window. What was there to count? There was only a yard and the brick wall of the next house. An old, old ivy-vine was growing on the brick wall of the next house. There were only a few leaves on it. "What is it, dear?" asked Sue. "Six," said Johnsy. "There're falling faster now. Three days ago there were almost a hundred. There goes another one. There are only five left now."
  • 4. "Five what, dear? Tell me." "Leaves. On the ivy - vine. When the last one falls, I must go too. I've known that for three days. Didn't the doctor tell you?" "Oh, I never heard of such nonsense," said Sue. "The doctor told me this morning that your chances for getting well were ten to one! Try to take some soup now and let me draw my pictures." "No, I don't want any soup. There are only four now. I want to see the last one fall before it gets dark. Then I'll go, too." "Johnsy, dear," said Sue, "will you promise me to keep your eyes shut, and not look out of the window until I finish working? I need the light." "Tell me as soon as you have finished," said Johnsy, shutting her eyes and lying white and still as a fallen statue, "because I want to see the last one fall." "Try to sleep," said Sue. "I must call Behrman up to be my model." Old Behrman was a painter who lived on the ground floor in the same house. He was over sixty, Behrman was a failure in art, but he still hoped to paint a masterpiece. He earned a little by serving as a model to those young painters who could not pay the price of a professional. Sue found Behrman in his little room. She told him about Johnsy's illness."
  • 5. "She thinks that she will die when the last leaf falls from the old ivy-vine on the wall of the next house." Johnsy was sleeping when they entered her room. They went to the window and looked at each other for a moment without speaking. When Johnsy opened her eyes the next morning, there yet stood out against the brick wall one yellow and green ivy leaf. It was the last on the vine. "It is the last one," said Johnsy. "I thought it would fall during the night. I heard the wind. It will fall today, and I shall die at the same time." The day came to its end and even in the evening there was still one leaf on the ivy-vine. Then, with the coming of the night, the north wind began to blow again, the rain beat against the windows."
  • 6. In the morning, the girls looked out of the window. The one ivy leaf was still on the vine. Johnsy lay for a long time looking at it. And then she called to Sue and said, "I've been a bad girl. Something has made that last leaf stay there to show that we must always hope for the best. You may bring me a little soup now, and some milk." An hour later, she said, "Sue, some day I hope to paint a beautiful picture." The doctor came in the afternoon. In the corridor he said to Sue, "She's much better now, she's getting well. Now I must see old Behrman on the ground floor, some kind of a painter, I believe. Pneumonia, too. He's an old man. There is no hope for him; but he goes to the hospital today. He'll be more comfortable there." The next day, the doctor said to Sue, "She's out of danger. You've won. Good food and care now - that's all."
  • 7. That afternoon Sue came to the bed where Johnsy lay. "I have something to tell you, white mouse," she said. "Mr. Behrman died of pneumonia today in the hospital. He was ill only two days. He was found helpless in his room in the morning of the first day. His shoes and clothing were wet and he was very cold. They also found a lamp and a ladder in the room, some brushes and some yellow and green paints. Now look out of the window, dear, at the last ivy leaf on the wall. Do you know why it never moved when the wind blew? Ah, dear, it's Behrman's masterpiece - he painted it there the night that the last leaf fell."
  • 8. A Eugene Lysak compilation 2024