The Thing's the Play (Henry)

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The Thing's the Play
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A woman married a man who disappeared shortly after their wedding, leaving her heartbroken. Twenty years later, two men, one with amnesia, both fall in love with her, leading to a surprising revelation.
A woman named Helen married a man named Frank Barry, with John Delaney as the best man.
Helen Barry — beautiful, middle-aged woman; married but separated; owner of a small store and house.
John Delaney — mysterious, melancholy man; brown beard, haunting eyes; Helen's former suitor and long-lost husband.
Shortly after the wedding, John, who was secretly in love with Helen, tried to convince her to run away with him. She rejected him, and he vowed to leave for Africa.

I will away,” said John Delaney, “to the furthermost parts of the earth. I cannot remain near you and know that you are another’s.

Frank, however, witnessed their interaction and, misunderstanding the situation, left Helen in anger.

Twenty years passed, and Helen inherited her mother's house and store. She took in two lodgers: Ramonti, a violinist with no memory of his past, and a mysterious man with haunting eyes.
Ramonti — talented violinist; gray-haired, youthful face, dark eyebrows, short brown beard; amnesiac, passionate.
Both men fell in love with Helen, and she felt a strong connection to the mysterious man, believing him to be her long-lost husband, Frank.

One evening, Ramonti confessed his love for Helen and revealed his mysterious past. Helen, feeling a strong connection to him, told him that she was a married woman and shared her own story.

I’m awfully sorry, but I’m a married woman.

Later, the mysterious man also confessed his love for Helen and revealed himself to be John Delaney, not Frank. He admitted to attacking Frank out of jealousy on their wedding night and believed he had killed him.

As Helen struggled with her feelings for both men, she heard Ramonti playing the violin and felt drawn to him. She ran to him, calling out "Frank! Frank! Frank!" as she realized that he was her true love, having lost his memory after the attack by John Delaney.