from the Collection «The Trimmed Lamp»
Andy Donovan, a charming and sociable young man, met a new boarder named Miss Conway at his Second Avenue boarding-house.
Initially uninterested in her, Andy's attention was captured when he saw her dressed in all black, mourning the death of her fiancé, Count Mazzini. Andy decided to try and win her heart, despite her insistence that it would forever belong to the deceased Count.
As they spent more time together, Miss Conway confided in Andy about her relationship with the Count and showed him a photograph of him.
My heart, Mr. Donovan, will remain forever in his grave. I guess I am poor company, Mr. Donovan, but I cannot take any interest in no one.
Eventually, they announced their engagement, but Andy remained troubled by a secret he could not share with his fiancée. He revealed to her that he had a powerful friend, Big Mike Sullivan, who wanted to attend their wedding, but for some reason, he could not invite him.
One evening, Maggie tearfully admitted to Andy that she had lied about the Count. She had never had a boyfriend before and had made up the story to fit in with the other girls. She had bought the photograph and created the story so she could wear black, which she believed made her look more attractive.
Andy, there never was so much as the little finger of a count. I never had a beau in my life. But all the other girls had; and they talked about ‘em.
Andy forgave her and was relieved that she had come clean before their wedding day.
In a surprising twist, Andy revealed that the photograph of the supposed Count Mazzini was actually that of his friend, Big Mike Sullivan.