The Gift of the Magi
Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag.She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christams Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months , with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn’t go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are . Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim.Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him.Something fine and rare and sterling-------something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.
There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender , had mestered the art.
Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. Her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let ir fall to its full lenth.
Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim’s gold watch that had been his father’s and his grandfather’s. The other was Della’s hair . Had the Queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have lat her hair hang out the widow some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty’s jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.