The Gift of the Magi - O. Henry

in #story3 years ago

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One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That turned into all. And sixty cents of it turned into in pennies. Pennies saved one and at a time via bulldozing the grocery store and the vegetable guy and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. three times Della counted it. One greenback and 80-seven cents. And the next day could be Christmas.

there was truely not anything left to do however flop down at the shabby little sofa and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the ethical mirrored image that existence is made from sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

whilst the mistress of the home is steadily subsiding from the primary degree to the second, take a look at the home. A supplied flat at $eight in step with week. It did now not precisely beggar description, however it genuinely had that phrase on the look-out for the mendicancy squad.

inside the vestibule under become a letter-field into which no letter would pass, and an electric powered button from which no mortal finger should coax a hoop. also appertaining thereunto changed into a card bearing the call "Mr. James Dillingham younger."


The "Dillingham" were flung to the breeze at some point of a former duration of prosperity while its possessor turned into being paid $30 in step with week. Now, when the profits become shriveled to $20, the letters of "Dillingham" seemed blurred, as although they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. but on every occasion Mr. James Dillingham younger came domestic and reached his flat above he become known as "Jim" and substantially hugged with the aid of Mrs. James Dillingham young, already introduced to you as Della. that's all superb.

Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by way of the window and regarded out dully at a grey cat taking walks a grey fence in a gray outdoor. To-morrow might be Christmas Day, and he or she had only $1.87 with which to shop for Jim a present. She were saving each penny she ought to for months, with this result. Twenty bucks a week does not go a ways. costs have been more than she had calculated. They constantly are. handiest $1.87 to shop for a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a glad hour she had spent planning for something quality for him. some thing exceptional and rare and sterling - some thing just a little bit close to to being worth of the respect of being owned through Jim.

there has been a pier-glass among the windows of the room. possibly you have visible a pier-glass in an $eight Bat. a very thin and really agile person can also, through staring at his mirrored image in a fast sequence of longitudinal strips, achieve a reasonably correct idea of his looks. Della, being narrow, had mastered the artwork.

she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. Her eyes had been shining brilliantly, but her face had misplaced its coloration inside twenty seconds. unexpectedly she pulled down her hair and permit it fall to its full duration.

Now, there had been possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty delight. One changed into Jim's gold watch that have been his father's and his grandfather's. the alternative turned into Della's hair. Had the Queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della could have permit her hair cling out of the window a few day to dry simply to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and presents. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up within the basement, Jim might have pulled out his watch on every occasion he surpassed, simply to see him pluck at his beard from envy.

So now Della's lovely hair fell about her, rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. after which she did it up once more nervously and fast. once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed at the worn crimson carpet.

On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the exceptional sparkle nevertheless in her eyes, she cluttered out of the door and down the stairs to the road.

in which she stopped the sign read: 'Mme Sofronie. Hair goods of all kinds.' One 8 up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, massive, too white, chilly, infrequently seemed the 'Sofronie.'

"Will you purchase my hair?" requested Della

"I purchase hair," stated Madame. "Take yer hat off and permit's have a sight on the seems of it."

Down rippled the brown cascade.

"Twenty dollars," stated Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.

"deliver it to me short" stated Della.

Oh, and the next two hours tripped with the aid of on rosy wings. neglect the hashed metaphor. She became ransacking the stores for Jim's present.

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She located it at closing. It absolutely have been made for Jim and no person else. there was no other like it in any of the stores, and he or she had turned they all interior out. It was a platinum fob chain easy and chaste in layout, well proclaiming its price by means of substance on my own and now not with the aid of meretricious ornamentation - as all properly matters have to do. It was even worth of The Watch. As soon as she noticed it she knew that it must be Jim's. It became like him. Quietness and price - the description carried out to both. Twenty-one bucks they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the seventy eight cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be well hectic about the time in any business enterprise. Grand as the watch changed into, he now and again checked out it on the sly due to the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.

while Della reached domestic her intoxication gave manner a touch to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the fuel and went to work repairing the ravages made with the aid of generosity introduced to love. that is constantly a super challenge pricey friends - a huge task.

inside 40 mins her head became covered with tiny, near-mendacity curls that made her look splendidly like a truant schoolboy. She checked out her reflection in the reflect long, cautiously, and seriously.

"If Jim does not kill me," she stated to herself, "earlier than he takes a 2d take a look at me, he's going to say I appear like a Coney Island refrain female. but what may want to I do - oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty-seven cents?"

At 7 o'clock the coffee turned into made and the frying-pan became at the returned of the stove hot and prepared to cook the chops.

Jim became never past due. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the desk close to the door that he usually entered. Then she heard his step at the stair away down on the primary flight, and she or he turned white for just a moment. She had a habit of saying little silent prayers about the best everyday matters, and now she whispered: "Please, God, make him suppose i am nevertheless quite."

The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He regarded thin and very critical. terrible fellow, he turned into most effective twenty- - and to be confused with a circle of relatives! He wanted a new overcoat and he become without gloves.

Jim stepped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the fragrance of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there has been an expression in them that she couldn't read, and it terrified her. It was no longer anger, nor wonder, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she have been organized for. He clearly stared at her fixedly with that unusual expression on his face.

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Della wriggled off the table and went for him.

"Jim, darling," she cried, "don't examine me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold it because I could not have lived via Christmas with out supplying you with a gift. it'll develop out again - you won't thoughts, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows highly fast. Say 'Merry Christmas!' Jim, and let's be satisfied. You don't know what a pleasing-what a beautiful, best present i've were given for you."

"you've cut off your hair?" requested Jim, laboriously, as if he had now not arrived at that patent truth but, even after the hardest intellectual labour.

"cut it off and bought it," stated Della. "do not you want me simply as nicely, anyways? i'm me with out my hair, ain't I?

Jim appeared about the room apparently.

"you are saying your hair is long gone?" he said, with an air almost of idiocy.

"You needn't search for it," said Della. "it's sold, I inform you - sold and long gone, too. it's Christmas Eve, boy. Be precise to me, for it went for you. perhaps the hairs of my head were numbered," she went on with a sudden extreme sweetness, "however nobody could ever matter my love for you. Shall I positioned the chops on, Jim?"

Out of his trance Jim regarded quick to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential item within the different course. 8 bucks a week or one million a year - what is the distinction? A mathematician or a wit would come up with the incorrect solution. The magi brought precious items, however that become now not among them. This darkish announcement might be illuminated afterward.

Jim drew a bundle from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.

"do not make any mistake, Dell," he said, "about me. I do not assume there is anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that would make me like my female any much less. however if you will unwrap that bundle you could see why you had me going some time before everything."

White hands and nimble tore on the string and paper. and then an ecstatic scream of pleasure; after which, unfortunately! a brief female trade to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the instantaneous employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.

For there lay The Combs - the set of combs, facet and again, that Della had worshipped for lengthy in a Broadway window. lovely combs, natural tortoise-shell, with jewelled rims - just the coloration to wear in the stunning vanished hair. They have been costly combs, she knew, and her coronary heart had certainly craved and yearned over them without the least hope of ownership. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that need to have embellished the coveted adornments had been long gone.

but she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was capable of look up with dim eyes and a grin and say: "My hair grows so speedy, Jim!"

after which Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, "Oh, oh!"

Jim had no longer but visible his stunning present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The stupid valuable steel seemed to {lash with a reflection of her vivid and ardent spirit.

"is not it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. you may ought to take a look at the time 100 instances a day now. supply me your watch. I want to see how it appears on it."

as opposed to obeying, Jim tumbled down at the couch and placed his palms underneath the lower back of his head and smiled.

"Dell," stated he, "let's placed our Christmas presents away and keep 'em some time. they're too first-class to use simply at present. I bought the watch to get the money to shop for your combs. And now think you placed the chops on."

The magi, as you understand, were sensible men - wonderfully smart men - who introduced items to the Babe in the manger. They invented the artwork of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts had been no question sensible ones, likely bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And right here i have lamely associated with you the uneventful chronicle of silly youngsters in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each different the finest treasures of their residence. however in a last word to the wise of these days permit it be stated that of all who supply gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who deliver and receive presents, consisting of they're wisest. everywhere they may be wisest. they're the magi.

The End

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