The Trimmed Lamp (Henry)

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The Trimmed Lamp
Summary of the Short Story
from the Collection «The Trimmed Lamp»
Microsummary: Two friends worked in different jobs, one seeking a wealthy husband while the other enjoyed her independence; eventually, the first friend found happiness in a humble relationship.

Nancy and Lou were two young women who moved to the city to find work. They became close friends and found jobs, with Nancy working in a department store and Lou in a laundry. Nancy was ambitious and hoped to marry a wealthy man, while Lou was content with her job and her steady boyfriend, Dan.

Nancy — shop-girl; ambitious, observant, and focused on marrying a wealthy man; learns to value character over wealth.
Lou — laundry worker; independent, flashy dresser, and content with her life; eventually disappears with a wealthy man.
Dan — electrician; loyal, steady, and humble; in love with Lou and eventually marries Nancy.

Nancy believed that working in the department store would give her the opportunity to meet and marry a rich man. She was surrounded by luxury and refined people, and she learned from them, adopting their manners and style. Lou, on the other hand, was happy with her job in the laundry, which paid well and allowed her to dress in fancy clothes.

I'll catch a swell myself some time. I ain't bragging on my looks or anything; but I'll take my chances where there's big prizes offered.

One day, Lou disappeared without a trace, leaving Dan and Nancy worried about her whereabouts. Three months later, Nancy ran into Lou, who was now dressed in expensive furs and jewelry. Lou revealed that she had married a wealthy man, but she was unhappy. Meanwhile, Nancy had fallen in love with Dan and they were planning to get married.

I'm going to be married to Dan — to Dan! — he's my Dan now — why, Lou!

Despite not achieving her initial goal of marrying a rich man, Nancy found happiness and love with Dan.