The Discounters of Money (Henry)

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The Discounters of Money
Summary of the Short Story
from the Collection «Roads of Destiny»
Microsummary: A millionaire's belief in the power of money was challenged when his marriage proposal was rejected and his offer to help a young eloping couple was declined, leading him to reconsider money's true value.

Young millionaire Howard Pilkins believed that money could buy anything, and for a long time, the city seemed to agree with him. However, his heart was eventually caught in a trap when he fell in love with Alice von der Ruysling, a woman from an aristocratic but poor family.

Howard Pilkins — young millionaire; modestly arrogant; believes in the power of money.
Alice von der Ruysling — aristocratic young woman; rejects Pilkins' proposal; values character over wealth.

Pilkins proposed to Alice, but she rejected him, believing that he was too focused on his wealth. He told her that if she ever changed her mind, she should send him a rose.

Very well, said she. And when I do, you will understand by it that either you or I have learned something new about the purchasing power of money.

One evening, Pilkins encountered a young couple, Marcus Clayton and Eva Bedford, who had eloped and were sitting in a park with no money or place to stay.

Marcus Clayton — young man from Roanoke County, Virginia; eloping with Eva; proud, independent.
Eva Bedford — young lady from Bedford County, Virginia; eloping with Marcus; sweet, dreamy.

Pilkins offered them financial assistance, but Marcus refused, insisting that he would find work the next day.

I can't say, sir, that I do think so, said Clayton of Roanoke County. I've been raised to look at such things differently.

Pilkins then arranged for Eva to stay with Alice, while Marcus remained in the park.

Alice agreed to take Eva in, and when Pilkins returned to his room, he found a box containing a small toy kitten and a crushed red rose. The rose symbolized that Alice had reconsidered her decision, and that perhaps money alone could not buy happiness.