The Ponder Heart

What happens in "One Thousand Dollars" by O. Henry after he visits Ms. Hayden?

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Henry unselfishly gives Miss. Hayden her money (actually willed to him) and tells her he loves her; she apologizes........ because she won't or can't accept his love. He adds the following postscript; "Paid by the black sheep, Robert Gillian, $1,000 on account of the eternal happiness, owed by Heaven to the best and dearest woman on earth."

Afterwards, he returns to the solicitors' office where he learns of the will's final terms. They ask him what he's done with the money; there are other conditions he was unaware of, "If your disposal of the money in question has been prudent, wise, or unselflish, it is in our power to hand you over bonds to the value of $50,000, which have been placed in our hands for that purpose. But if - as our client, the late Mr. Gillian, explicitly provides - you have used this money as you have money in the past, I quote the late Mr. Gillian - in reprehensible dissipation among disreputable associates - the $50,000 is to be paid to Miriam Hayden, ward of the late Mr. Gillian, without delay."

Regardless of the fact he gave Ms. Hayden the original $1,000, he now rips up the note and proof of how he spent it and allows Ms. Hayden to have the rest without anyone being the wiser. His act is completely unselfish and performed with the deepest love for Ms. Hayden, but no one will ever know. He allows everyone to believe he's squandered the money like he was expected to, no one sees the change in him except him; this is why he can walk away from the lawyers and the money whistling.......... he knows who he's become!


One Thousand Dollars

He becomes $1000 richer.