The Guilty Party (Henry)

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The Guilty Party
Summary of the Short Story
from the Collection «The Trimmed Lamp»
Microsummary: A young woman, jealous of her fiancé's attention to another girl, confronts him at a dance, stabs him, and then commits suicide by jumping into a river.

A red-haired, unshaven, untidy man sat in a rocking chair by a window, smoking a pipe and reading a newspaper. His daughter, Lizzie, asked him to play checkers with her, but he refused, telling her to go out and play with the other children on the street.

Liz — young woman; jealous, impulsive, and vengeful; engaged to the Kid.

The man's wife tried to convince him to spend time with Lizzie, but he insisted that she should play outside.

Lizzie grew up and became engaged to a man called Kid Mullaly.

Kid Mullaly — Liz's fiancé; red-haired, unshaven, untidy; a member of the Small Hours Social Club.

One day, she heard that Kid was planning to take another girl, Annie, to a dance.

Annie Karlson — blonde woman; object of the Kid's attention; rival to Liz.

Furious, Lizzie went to a bar and drank whiskey, vowing to confront Kid and take revenge.

I’ll cut his heart out. Another whiskey, Tommy.

She found Kid at the dance with Annie and, in a fit of rage, stabbed him. Lizzie then fled the scene, pursued by a mob of angry people. She eventually reached a pier and jumped into the river, drowning herself.

In the afterlife, Lizzie's case was brought before a court. A special terrestrial officer, Reverend Jones, presented the case against her, stating that she had murdered her fiancé and committed suicide. However, the court officer announced that Lizzie was discharged, and that the guilty party was actually the red-haired, unshaven, untidy man who had neglected his daughter years before.

Discharged. Come here, Jonesy. First thing you know you’ll be switched to the pot-pie squad.

The officer warned Reverend Jones to be more careful with his arrests in the future.