A Sacrifice Hit (Henry)

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A Sacrifice Hit
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: An aspiring writer married a magazine editor's stenographer, hoping her love for him would lead her to recommend his romantic novelette, but a mix-up caused his work to be rejected.

Allen Slayton, an aspiring writer, was determined to have his romantic novelette, "Love Is All," published in the Hearthstone Magazine. He knew that the editor relied on the opinions of various readers, including his stenographer, Miss Puffkin, to decide which manuscripts to publish. Slayton believed that if he could make Miss Puffkin fall in love with him, she would be more likely to recommend his story to the editor.

Allen Slayton — aspiring writer; ambitious, cunning, and self-sacrificing.
Miss Puffkin — editor's stenographer; sentimental, thin, and romantic.

Slayton took Miss Puffkin to the theater and made passionate love to her, even quoting lines from his novelette. He went as far as marrying her, hoping that this would secure his story's publication. After their marriage, Mrs. Slayton went to the Hearthstone office to hand in some manuscripts she had been asked to read and to resign her position as stenographer.

He would have sacrificed all other worldly possessions to have gained fame in his chosen art.

When Slayton went to the office to inquire about his novelette, he was told that it was not suitable for the magazine. He asked if his wife had handed in a novelette that morning, and the office boy confirmed that she had. However, the story she had praised was not Slayton's but another one titled "Married for the Mazuma, or a Working Girl's Triumph."

I haven’t read anything in years that I thought was half as nice and true to life.

The office boy then revealed that he had accidentally given Slayton's manuscript to the janitor instead of Miss Puffkin. The janitor had written a dismissive comment on the manuscript, showing that he did not think highly of the story. Slayton realized that his efforts to win over Miss Puffkin had been in vain, as she had never even read his novelette.