OUTPACE POEM ANALYSIS Summary and Analysis of “Hearts and Hands” by O. Henry

Summary and Analysis of “Hearts and Hands” by O. Henry

Here is a Summary and Analysis of “Hearts and Hands” by O. Henry. This would provide learners with a proper detail of the poem to comprehend it properly.

Summary and Analysis of "Hearts and Hands" by O. Henry
Summary and Analysis of “Hearts and Hands” by O. Henry

Summary of “Hearts and Hands” by O. Henry

“Hearts and Hands” is a short story by O. Henry about a man named Benny who is a part of a group of street performers known as “Hearts and Hands.”

Benny is deeply in love with a woman named Nell, but she is engaged to another man. Benny’s love for Nell causes him to neglect his duties as a street performer and his colleagues decide to kick him out of the group.

Benny is devastated and decides to leave town. On his way out of town, he runs into Nell and her fiancé and learns that they are not truly happy together.

Benny’s love for Nell ultimately leads him to sacrifice his own happiness for hers, and he leaves town without telling her how he feels.

Summary and Analysis of “Hearts and Hands” by O. Henry

Analysis of “Hearts and Hands” Part-1

At Denver there was an influx of passengers into the coaches on the eastbound B. & M. Express. In one coach there sat a very pretty young woman dressed in elegant taste and surrounded by all the luxurious comforts of an experienced traveler. Among the newcomers were two young men, one of handsome presence with a bold, frank countenance and manner; the other a ruffled, glum-faced person, heavily built and roughly dressed. The two were handcuffed together.

Summary and Analysis of “Hearts and Hands” by O. Henry

As they passed down the aisle of the coach the only vacant seat offered was a reversed one facing the attractive young woman. Here the linked couple seated themselves. The young woman’s glance fell upon them with a distant, swift disinterest; then with a lovely smile brightening her countenance and a tender pink tingeing her rounded cheeks, she held out a little gray-gloved hand. When she spoke her voice, full, sweet, and deliberate, proclaimed that its owner was accustomed to speak and be heard.

“Well, Mr. Easton, if you will make me speak first, I suppose I must. Don’t you ever recognize old friends when you meet them in the West?”

In the short story “Hearts and Hands” by O. Henry, the story takes place in Denver where the B. & M. Express is receiving an influx of passengers. A young woman, dressed elegantly, sits surrounded by luxurious amenities.

Among the new passengers are two men, one handsome and the other rough-looking, who are handcuffed together. The two men are forced to sit in the only vacant seat facing the young woman.

Initially, she glances at them with disinterest but soon recognizes one of them and greets him warmly with a lovely smile and a tender pink tinge on her cheeks. The young woman’s voice full, sweet and deliberate, indicates that she is accustomed to be heard.

Summary and Analysis of “Hearts and Hands” by O. Henry

Analysis of “Hearts and Hands” Part-2

The younger man roused himself sharply at the sound of her voice, seemed to struggle with a slight embarrassment which he threw off instantly, and then clasped her fingers with his left hand.

“It’s Miss Fairchild,” he said, with a smile. “I’ll ask you to excuse the other hand; “it’s otherwise engaged just at present.”

He slightly raised his right hand, bound at the wrist by the shining “bracelet” to the left one of his companion. The glad look in the girl’s eyes slowly changed to a bewildered horror. The glow faded from her cheeks. Her lips parted in a vague, relaxing distress. Easton, with a little laugh, as if amused, was about to speak again when the other forestalled him. The glum-faced man had been watching the girl’s countenance with veiled glances from his keen, shrewd eyes.

Summary and Analysis of “Hearts and Hands” by O. Henry

“You’ll excuse me for speaking, miss, but, I see you’re acquainted with the marshal here. If you’ll ask him to speak a word for me when we get to the pen he’ll do it, and it’ll make things easier for me there. He’s taking me to Leavenworth prison. It’s seven years for counterfeiting.”

“Oh!” said the girl, with a deep breath and returning color. “So that is what you are doing out here? A marshal!”

In “Hearts and Hands” by O. Henry, when the young woman speaks, the younger man, who we later get to know as Easton, responds sharply and struggles with embarrassment before recognizing her.

He greets her warmly with a smile and explains that his right hand is currently “otherwise engaged” as it is handcuffed to his companion. The young woman’s initial joy turns to horror as she realizes Easton’s true identity as a marshal taking his companion to Leavenworth prison for counterfeiting.

The rough-looking man then speaks up and asks the woman to use her influence to make his time in prison easier. The woman responds with shock and surprise, realizing that Easton is a marshal.

Summary and Analysis of “Hearts and Hands” by O. Henry

Analysis of “Hearts and Hands” Part-3

“My dear Miss Fairchild,” said Easton, calmly, “I had to do something. Money has a way of taking wings unto itself, and you know it takes money to keep step with our crowd in Washington. I saw this opening in the West, and–well, a marshalship isn’t quite as high a position as that of ambassador, but–“

“The ambassador,” said the girl, warmly, “doesn’t call any more. He needn’t ever have done so. You ought to know that. And so now you are one of these dashing Western heroes, and you ride and shoot and go into all kinds of dangers. That’s different from the Washington life. You have been missed from the old crowd.”

Summary and Analysis of “Hearts and Hands” by O. Henry

The girl’s eyes, fascinated, went back, widening a little, to rest upon the glittering handcuffs.

“Don’t you worry about them, miss,” said the other man. “All marshals handcuff themselves to their prisoners to keep them from getting away. Mr. Easton knows his business.”

“Will we see you again soon in Washington?” asked the girl.

“Not soon, I think,” said Easton. “My butterfly days are over, I fear.”

“I love the West,” said the girl irrelevantly. Her eyes were shining softly. She looked away out the car window. And she began to speak truly and simply without the gloss of style and manner: “Mamma and I spent the summer in Denver. She went home a week ago because father was slightly ill. I could live and be happy in the West. I think the air here agrees with me. Money isn’t everything. But people always misunderstand things and remain stupid–“

In “Hearts and Hands” by O. Henry, Easton explains to the young woman, Miss Fairchild, that he became a marshal due to the financial struggles he faced in Washington, and that the position was not as prestigious as an ambassador.

Miss Fairchild expresses her admiration for Easton’s new role as a “dashing Western hero” and her disappointment that he is no longer part of their old crowd in Washington.

She also shares that she spent the summer in Denver and loves the West, and that money isn’t everything. She expresses disappointment in how people misunderstand and remain ignorant.

Analysis of “Hearts and Hands” Part-4

“Say, Mr. Marshal,” growled the glum-faced man. “This isn’t quite fair. I’m needing a drink, and haven’t had a smoke all day. Haven’t you talked long enough? Take me in the smoker now, won’t you? I’m half dead for a pipe.”

The bound travelers rose to their feet, Easton with the same slow smile on his face.

“I can’t deny a petition for tobacco,” he said, lightly. “It’s the one friend of the unfortunate. Good-bye, Miss Fairchild. Duty calls, you know.” He held out his hand for a farewell.

Summary and Analysis of “Hearts and Hands” by O. Henry

“It’s too bad you are not going East,” she said, reclothing herself with manner and style. “But you must go on to Leavenworth, I suppose?”

“Yes,” said Easton, “I must go on to Leavenworth.”

The two men sidled down the aisle into the smoker.

The two passengers in a seat near by had heard most of the conversation. Said one of them: “That marshal’s a good sort of chap. Some of these Western fellows are all right.”

“Pretty young to hold an office like that, isn’t he?” asked the other.

“Young!” exclaimed the first speaker, “why–Oh! didn’t you catch on? Say–did you ever know an officer to handcuff a prisoner to his right hand?”

In “Hearts and Hands” by O. Henry, the glum-faced man, who is the prisoner of Easton, the marshal, expresses his need for a drink and a smoke. Easton agrees and they leave the coach to go to the smoker.

Easton and Miss Fairchild bid farewell to each other and Easton mentions that he must go to Leavenworth.

As they leave, two passengers nearby comment on Easton’s character and one of them realize that Easton has handcuffed himself to the prisoner with his right hand instead of the left. This implies that Easton is not a typical marshal, and that his actions are not ordinary.

Related Post