The Gift of the Magi
So now Della’s beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It raeched below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her . And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.
On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of shirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she flutteded out the door and down the stairs to the street.
Where she stoped the sign read:”Mme.Sofronie.Hair Goods of All Kind.”One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame,large,too white, chilly, hardly looked the “Sofronie.”
“Will you buy my hair?” ashed Della .
“I buy hair,” said Madame.”Take your hat off and let’s have a sight at the looks of it.”
Down rippled the brown cascade.
“Twenty dollars,”said Madame, lifting the mass with a practise hand.
“Give me quick ,”said Della.
Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim’s present.
She found it last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of then inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design , properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation——as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch .As soonas she saw it she knew that it must be Jim’s . It was like him. Quietness and value——the description applied to both . Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was ,he sometimes liiked at it on the sly on account of the old lesther strap that he used in place of a chain.
When Della raeched home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and raeson. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generousity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends——amammoth task.
Within forty minutes her head was coveded with tiny, closelying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long , carefully, and critically.
“If Jim doesn’t kill me ,” she said to herself,”before he takes a second look at me, he’ll say I like a Coney Island chrus girl. But what could I do ——oh! What could I do with a dollar and eighty-seven cents?”