Transients in Arcadia (Henry)

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Transients in Arcadia
Summary of the Short Story
from the Collection «The Voice of the City»
Microsummary: Two people pretended to be wealthy guests at a luxurious hotel to enjoy a week-long vacation, only to discover they were both working-class individuals seeking a temporary escape from their mundane lives.

In a hotel on Broadway, a group of guests enjoyed the cool and luxurious atmosphere, hidden from the bustling city outside. Among them were Mme. Héloise D'Arcy Beaumont and Harold Farrington, who quickly became acquainted and spent their days enjoying the hotel's amenities. They spoke of their travels and experiences, giving the impression that they were both wealthy and well-traveled individuals.

Mamie Siviter (Madame Héloise D'Arcy Beaumont) — hosiery counter worker; charming, gracious, imaginative; pretends to be a wealthy woman.
James McManus (Harold Farrington) — collector for a clothing store; sophisticated, poised, friendly; pretends to be a wealthy man.

One evening, Mme. Beaumont revealed to Farrington that she was not a wealthy woman, but rather a saleswoman at a department store. She had saved up her money to spend a week living like a wealthy person, and her beautiful gown was purchased on an installment plan.

I wanted to spend one week like a lady if I never do another one. I wanted to get up when I please instead of having to crawl out at seven every morning.

Farrington listened to her story and then revealed that he too was not wealthy, but a collector for the store where Mme. Beaumont had purchased her gown.

I’ve been a collector for O’Dowd & Levinsky for three years. Funny, ain’t it, that you and me both had the same idea about spending our vacation?

The two laughed at the coincidence and agreed to continue enjoying their vacation together. They made plans to visit Coney Island on Saturday night, embracing their true identities and the simple pleasures of life. As they parted ways for the evening, Farrington asked Mme. Beaumont to forget his fake name and call him by his real name, Jimmy. She agreed, and they said their goodnights, looking forward to their upcoming adventures.