Brickdust Row (Henry)

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Brickdust Row
Summary of the Short Story
from the Collection «The Trimmed Lamp»
Microsummary: A wealthy man fell in love with a working-class girl during a trip to Coney Island, but their different backgrounds and her way of meeting men led to his disillusionment and despair.

Blinker, a wealthy young man, was displeased with having to sign numerous papers for his estate and postponed his trip to the North Woods. One day, he decided to visit Coney Island and met a beautiful young woman named Florence.

Blinker — wealthy young man; gentleman; bored, sardonic, and later, passionate.
Florence — hat trimmer in a millinery shop; beautiful, cheerful, and frank; lives in Brickdust Row.

They spent the day together, enjoying the various attractions and getting to know each other. Blinker fell in love with Florence and expressed his feelings to her, but she dismissed his advances as similar to those of other men she had met.

Florence, I love you. That's what they all say. I am not one of 'they all'.

Florence revealed that she lived in a place called Brickdust Row, a row of red brick buildings in the shopping district, mainly inhabited by young working girls. She explained that there was no proper place for her to entertain guests, so she had to meet men on the streets or in public places. Blinker was appalled by this revelation and felt that something was wrong with the situation.

The next day, Blinker met with his lawyer, Lawyer Oldport, to sign the papers for his estate.

Lawyer Oldport — Blinker's family lawyer; double-chinned, gray-haired, and sarcastic.

Oldport mentioned a matter of business that Blinker's father had intended to address but never did. He explained that there were fifteen buildings, including Brickdust Row, that needed new five-year leases. Blinker's father had wanted to change the lease provisions to allow tenants to use the parlors as reception rooms, providing a proper place for the young women to entertain guests.

Blinker realized that he owned Brickdust Row and instructed Oldport to do whatever he pleased with the property, including remodeling or demolishing it. However, he lamented that it was too late to make a difference in the lives of the young women like Florence who had already been affected by the lack of proper living conditions.

Do what you please with it. Remodel it, burn it, raze it to the ground. But, man, it's too late I tell you.