The Gift of the Magi

Onedollarandeighty-sevencents.Thatwasall.Andsixtycentsofitwasinpennies.Penniessavedoneandtwoatatimebybulldozingthegrocerandthevegetablemanandthebutcheruntilone’scheeksburnedwiththesilentimputationofparsimonythatsuchclosedealingimplied.ThreetimesDellacountedit.Onedollarandeighty-sevencents.AndthenextdaywouldbeChristmas.

Therewasclearlynothingtodobutflopdownontheshabbylittlecouchandhowl.SoDelladidit.Whichinstigatesthemoralreflectionthatlifeismadeupofsobs,sniffles,andsmiles,withsnifflespredominating.

Whilethemistressofthehomeisgraduallysubsidingfromthefirststagetothesecond,takealookatthehome.Afurnishedflatat$8perweek.Itdidnotexactlybeggardescription,butitcertainlyhadthatwordonthelookoutforthemendicancysquad.

Inthevestibulebelowwasaletter-boxintowhichnoletterwouldgo,andanelectricbuttonfromwhichnomortalfingercouldcoaxaring.Alsoappertainingthereuntowasacardbearingthename“Mr.JamesDillinghamYoung.”The“Dillingham”hadbeenflungtothebreezeduringaformerperiodofprosperitywhenitspossessorwasbeingpaid$30perweek.Now,whentheincomewasshrunkto$20,thelettersof“Dillingham”lookedblurred,asthoughtheywerethinkingseriouslyofcontractingtoamodestandunassumingD.ButwheneverMr.JamesDillinghamYoungcamehomeandreachedhisflatabovehewascalled“Jim”andgreatlyhuggedbyMrs.JamesDillinghamYoung,alreadyintroducedtoyouasDella.Whichisallverygood.

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