The Coming-Out of Maggie (Henry)

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The Coming-Out of Maggie
Summary of the Short Story
from the Collection «The Four Million»
Microsummary: A plain young woman brought a charming man, pretending to be Irish, to a dance. The club leader confronted him, a fight ensued, and the woman's deception was revealed, ending peacefully.

Maggie Toole, a plain and unassuming young woman, usually attended the weekly dance at the Clover Leaf Social Club with her friend Anna McCarty and Anna's boyfriend, Jimmy Burns.

Maggie Toole — plain, loyal, unassuming girl in her 20s; Anna's best friend; dull eyes, broad mouth, brown hair; transforms into a more confident and assertive woman.

One day, Maggie decided to bring her own date to the dance, a charming man named Terry O'Sullivan. However, Terry was not who he claimed to be; his real name was Tony Spinelli, and he was an Italian man pretending to be Irish to fit in with the club members.

At the dance, Terry quickly became popular with the attendees, impressing them with his good looks and smooth dance moves. However, Dempsey Donovan, the club's leader, grew suspicious of Terry and confronted him.

Dempsey Donovan — club leader in his 30s; strong, authoritative figure; values loyalty and integrity; intervenes in the fight with Terry; asks Maggie to the next dance.

A fight broke out between the two men, and Maggie rushed in just in time to stop Terry from using a knife he had drawn from his clothing. She revealed Terry's true identity and her own deception to the club members.

I knew he was a Guinea. His name's Tony Spinelli. I hurried in when they told me you and him was scrappin'. Them Guineas always carries knives.

Despite the dramatic turn of events, the situation was resolved peacefully. Terry was escorted out of the club, and Dempsey, showing his understanding and compassion, asked Maggie to attend the next dance with him. Maggie, who had never had a boyfriend before, was thrilled by the invitation and happily accepted.

With you, Dempsey? Say—will a duck swim?

The story highlights the importance of honesty and acceptance in relationships and social settings. Maggie's deception, while initially successful in helping her fit in with the club members, ultimately led to a dangerous situation and the revelation of Terry's true character. However, the story ends on a hopeful note, with Dempsey offering Maggie a chance at genuine connection and acceptance within the club.