Hearts and Hands (Henry)

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Hearts and Hands
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A young woman on a train mistakenly believed her old friend was a marshal escorting a prisoner, when in reality, he was the prisoner and the other man was the marshal.

A young woman, dressed elegantly and surrounded by luxurious comforts, was traveling on an eastbound express train. As new passengers boarded, she noticed two young men handcuffed together. The pair found the only vacant seat, which was facing the young woman. Upon seeing the handsome man, the woman smiled and held out her hand, greeting him as Mr. Easton. She asked if he recognized old friends when he met them in the West.

Mr. Easton — young man; mistaken for a marshal; handsome, bold, and frank.

Well, Mr. Easton, if you will make me speak first, I suppose I must. Don’t you ever recognize old friends when you meet them in the West?

Easton, slightly embarrassed, clasped her hand with his left, explaining that his right hand was engaged. The woman's expression changed to horror as she realized the situation. The other man, noticing her distress, explained that Easton was a marshal taking him to Leavenworth prison for counterfeiting.

The Marshal — glum-faced man; real marshal; heavily built, roughly dressed, and shrewd.

He’s taking me to Leavenworth prison. It’s seven years for counterfeiting.

The woman, relieved, asked Easton about his new job as a marshal.

Miss Fairchild — pretty young woman; old friend of Easton; elegant, sweet-voiced, and accustomed to being heard.

Easton explained that he needed money and saw an opportunity in the West. The woman mentioned that she and her mother had spent the summer in Denver and that she loved the West. She believed the air agreed with her and that money wasn't everything. The glum-faced man interrupted, asking Easton to take him to the smoker for a drink and a smoke. Easton agreed, saying goodbye to the woman and telling her that he must go on to Leavenworth.

As the two men left, nearby passengers commented on the young marshal's character and age. One of them questioned the handcuffing of the prisoner to Easton's right hand, implying that Easton might not be the marshal after all.