What You Want (Henry)

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What You Want
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A wealthy man tried to help a poor, studious young man by offering to pay for his education and future, but the young man rejected the offer, content with his simple life and nightly routine.

One night, a wealthy man named Tom Crowley, who had made his fortune manufacturing Aunt Patty's Silver Soap, decided to walk around the city in search of someone to help. He was tired of his luxurious life and wanted to do something meaningful with his money.

Tom Crowley — wealthy older man; generous, curious, and seeking purpose.

As he walked, he came across a young man named James Turner, who was browsing through a second-hand bookstall.

James Turner — young hat cleaner; studious, independent, and content with his simple life.

Tom approached James and offered to pay for his education at the finest college in the world, as well as fund his travels through Europe and eventually set him up in a good business. James, however, was suspicious of Tom's intentions and refused his offer.

I’m worth about $40,000,000, and I’m getting richer every day. I made the height of it manufacturing Aunt Patty’s Silver Soap.

The two men got into a heated argument, which eventually turned into a physical fight. They were both arrested and taken to a police station.

At the station, Tom managed to get in touch with his friends and secured enough money to bail both himself and James out of jail. However, when the doorman informed James that Tom was waiting for him outside, James refused to see him.

Tell him I ain’t in.

Instead, he chose to stay in his cell, where he found comfort in reading a book by his favorite author, Clark Russell, and resting his tired feet against the cold bars of the cell door.