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Hi,
Below is from O Henry's "Tobin's palm".
The underlined, "wasn't"....
It's so difficult to understand why it is in past tense.
To me, it should be "isn't".
Is there any reason?

Tis easy to be a friend to the prosperous, for it pays; 'tis not hard to be a friend to the poor, for ye get puffed up by gratitude and have your picture printed standing in front of a tenement with a scuttle of coal and an orphan in each hand. But it strains the art of friendship to be true friend to a born fool. And that's what I'm doing," says I, "for, in my opinion, there's no fortune to be read from the palm of me hand that wasn't printed there with the handle of a pick . And, though ye've got the crookedest nose in New York City, I misdoubt that all the fortune-tellers doing business could milk good luck from ye. But the lines of Danny's hand pointed to ye fair, and I'll assist him to experiment with ye until he's convinced ye're dry."
Comments  
Hi,

You can't read it now because it was not printed there in the past.

Clive
Thanks Clive...

But your explanation is a little above me.

Hard to get your point....
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...there's no fortune to be read from the palm of me hand that wasn't printed there with the handle of a pick

If you use the Present Tense (passive voice) - isn't printed there (by) a pick handle - then this process of his hand/s being marked (printed) by using a pick would still be happening: he would still be swinging a pick. But he probably hasn't been a navvy or coal miner for some time - those days are in the past, so any marks on his hand were printed there years ago.
Thanks Terryxpress...

Are you suggesting that "She is killed" means "she is being killed"?
Please .............. please!

Review the nature of the Present Tense as a FACT without time boundaries; and the difference between Present and Present Continuous, active and passive voices.
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hi ,i might be a little green in this ,but if i were you i'd go for the obvious reason which i have drawn from reading this passage .the speaker seems to be kina of fatalist beleiving in a preordained destiny hence the use of the past tense
I see...
Thanks, Clive and Terryxpress and Anonymous!!
Now I see the logic was so simple...
The event happened in the past, so in the past tense, and nothing special...
The situation being, the event happened in the past, and is going on until today, hence in the past tense...

And as Anonymous suggests, I guess the speaker is suggesting that as his job was some kind of physical laborer using pick, if his hand is not printed with pick handle, then there should be nothing to read on his palm. In other words, what is sure is that he was a physical laborer and all other things are not predestined. He is not a fate-believer.

Hope I am understing O Hery correctly....

Thanks to you all !!