One Thousand Dollars (Henry)

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One Thousand Dollars
Summary of the Short Story
from the Collection «The Voice of the City»
Microsummary: A young man was left a thousand dollars by his late uncle and had to account for its expenditure, but after spending it wisely, he forfeited a larger inheritance to protect the woman he loved.

A young man named Gillian inherited a thousand dollars from his late uncle's will. The will required him to provide an account of how he spent the money. Gillian, unsure of what to do with such an awkward amount, sought advice from his friend Old Bryson.

Robert Gillian — narrator; young, wealthy, and carefree; in love with Miss Hayden.
Old Bryson — Gillian's friend; calm, forty, and sequestered; offers advice.

Now, what can a man possibly do with a thousand dollars?

Bryson suggested that Gillian buy a diamond pendant for a woman named Miss Lotta Lauriere and then move to Idaho to work on a ranch. Gillian considered the idea but ultimately decided to ask various people what they would do with a thousand dollars. After speaking with a cab driver and a blind man, Gillian visited the law office of Tolman & Sharp, where he learned that his uncle's ward, Miss Hayden, had only received a ring and ten dollars from the will.

Miss Hayden — ward of Gillian's late uncle; quiet, musical, and kind-hearted.

Gillian decided to give the thousand dollars to Miss Hayden, confessing his love for her in the process.

I suppose, of course, that you know I love you.

However, she rejected his advances.

Gillian then wrote an account of his expenditure, stating that he spent the money on Miss Hayden's happiness. He returned to the law office to submit his account, only to learn that there was a codicil to the will. If Gillian had spent the money wisely or unselfishly, he would receive fifty thousand dollars in bonds. If he had spent it on "reprehensible dissipation," the money would go to Miss Hayden.

Gillian quickly tore up his account and lied, claiming that he had lost the money on horse races.

I lost the thousand dollars on the races. Good-day to you, gentlemen.

As a result, Miss Hayden received the fifty thousand dollars, while Gillian left the law office whistling cheerfully.