Next to Reading Matter (Henry)

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Next to Reading Matter
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A homely man named Judson Tate tells a story of his adventures in a foreign country, where he used his persuasive voice to win the heart of a beautiful woman for his friend, only to fall in love with her himself.

Judson Tate, a man with a rugged and ugly face, arrives in New York and befriends the narrator.

Judson Tate — homely man with a persuasive voice; adventurous, cunning.

Judson tells the narrator about his time in the town of Oratama, where he wooed and won the beautiful Señorita Anabela Zamora.

Señorita Anabela Zamora — beautiful daughter of the alcalde; object of affection for both Judson and Fergus; charming, captivating.

"Women," said Judson Tate, "are mysterious creatures."

Judson, with his eloquent speech, impersonated his handsome friend Fergus McMahan and courted Anabela through her window.

Fergus McMahan — handsome adventurer; friend of Judson Tate; charming, good-looking.

However, when Judson finally meets Anabela in person, she falls in love with him instead of Fergus. They plan to get married, but Judson loses his voice due to a cold. Anabela leaves him and runs away with Fergus. Judson follows them to Belize and, with the help of a remedy made from the chuchula plant, regains his voice. He confronts Anabela and Fergus, and Anabela chooses to be with Judson.

"I am about the ugliest man you ever saw outside the gallery of photographs of the New England early Christian Scientists."

Judson then reveals that the remedy is actually a throat lozenge that he is trying to market. The narrator leaves, feeling disappointed that the story turned out to be a commercial ploy.