One Dollar and NE DOLLAR AND EIGHTY-SEVEN CENTS.That was all. She had put it aside, one cent and then another and thenanother, in her careful buying of meat and other food. Della countedit three times. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next daywould be Christmas.There was nothing to do but fall on the bed and cry. So Della did it.While the lady of the home is slowly growing quieter, we canlook at the home. Furnished rooms at a cost of $8 a week. There is littlemore to say about it.In the hall below was a letter-box too small to hold a letter.
Her getting a watch
Up to the second floor Della ran, and stopped to get her breath.Mrs. Sofronie, large, too white, cold-eyed, looked at her.“Will you buy my hair?” asked Della.“I buy hair,” said Mrs. Sofronie. “Take your hat off and let me lookat it.”Down fell the brown waterfall.“Twenty dollars,” said Mrs. Sofronie, lifting the hair to feel itsweight.“Give it to me quick,” said Della.Oh, and the next two hours seemed to fly. She was going fromone shop to another, to find a gift for Jim.She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no oneelse. There was no other like it in any of the shops, and she had lookedin every shop in the city.
Them in the kitchen
It was a gold watch chain, very simply made. Its value was in its rich and pure material. Because it was so plain and simple, you knew that it was very valuable. All good things are like this. It was good enough for The Watch. As soon as she saw it, she knew that Jim must have it. It was like him. Quietness and value—Jim and the chain both had quietness and value. She paid twenty-one dollars for it. And she hurried home with the chain and eighty-seven cents.
Them getting gifts.
She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the shops, and she had looked in every shop in the city. It was a gold watch chain, very simply made. Its value was in its rich and pure material. Because it was so plain and simple, you knew that it was very valuable. All good things are like this. It was good enough for The Watch. As soon as she saw it, she knew that Jim must have it. It was like him. Quietness and value—Jim and the chain both had quietness and value.
His eyes looked strangely at Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not understand. It filled her with fear. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor anything she had been ready for. He simply looked at her with that strange expression on his face. Della went to him. “Jim, dear,” she cried, “don’t look at me like that. I had my hair cut off and sold it. I couldn’t live through Christmas without giving you a gift. My hair will grow again. You won’t care, will you? My hair grows very fast. It’s Christmas, Jim. Let’s be happy. You don’t know what a nice—what a beautiful nice gift I got for you.” “You’ve cut off your hair?” asked Jim slowly. He seemed to labor to understand what had happened. He seemed not to feel sure he knew. “Cut it off and sold it,” said Della. “Don’t you like me now? I’m me, Jim. I’m the same without my hair.” Jim looked around the room. “You say your hair is gone?” he said. “You don’t have to look for it,” said Della. “It’s sold, I tell you— sold and gone, too. It’s the night before Christmas, boy. Be good to me, because I sold it for you. Maybe the hairs of my head could be counted,” she said, “but no one could ever count my love for you. Shall we eat dinner, Jim?”
“I want you to understand me, Dell,” he said. “Nothing like a haircut could make me love you any less. But if you’ll open that, you may know what I felt when I came in.” White fingers pulled off the paper. And then a cry of joy; and then a change to tears. For there lay The Combs—the combs that Della had seen in a shop window and loved for a long time. Beautiful combs, with jewels, perfect for her beautiful hair. She had known they cost too much for her to buy them. She had looked at them without the least hope of owning them. And now they were hers, but her hair was gone. But she held them to her heart, and at last was able to look up and say: “My hair grows so fast, Jim!” 5 O . H e n r y And then she jumped up and cried, “Oh, oh!” Jim had not yet seen his beautiful gift. She held it out to him in her open hand. The gold seemed to shine softly as if with her own warm and loving spirit. “Isn’t it perfect, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You’ll have to look at your watch a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how they look together.