A Night in New Arabia (Henry)

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A Night in New Arabia
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A wealthy man named Jacob Spraggins tries to alleviate his guilty conscience by engaging in philanthropy, but finds no satisfaction until he meets a grocer's young man named Thomas McLeod and helps him financially.

Jacob Spraggins, a wealthy man in Bagdad-on-the-Subway, feels guilty about his fortune and decides to engage in philanthropy. However, his attempts to donate money to various organizations do not bring him the satisfaction he desires. He then meets Thomas McLeod, a grocer's young man, and falls in love with his daughter, Celia.

Jacob Spraggins — wealthy man seeking redemption; retired businessman; remorseful, generous.
Celia Spraggins — Jacob's daughter; young, kind-hearted, and down-to-earth.
Thomas McLeod — grocer's young man; hardworking, honest, and ambitious.

Celia reciprocates his feelings and they decide to get married. Meanwhile, Jacob hires private detectives to find the heirs of a miner from whom he had bought land many years ago. The detectives discover that Thomas is the miner's grandson and inform Jacob. Jacob meets with Thomas and offers him $10,000 as restitution for the land.

‘Grandfather’s best thanks,’ he said, ‘to the party who sends it.’

Thomas, unaware of the true reason behind the money, accepts it and plans to marry Celia. However, when Celia reveals her true identity as a wealthy heiress, Thomas is initially taken aback but still wants to marry her.

‘I suppose then,’ said he, ‘I suppose then you’ll not be marrying me next week. But you can whistle.’

Jacob, realizing that Thomas truly loves Celia, approves of their marriage. In the end, Jacob decides to focus on increasing his wealth for the benefit of his future grandson, Jaky McLeod.