en-fr  The Gift of the Magi (1905)
Le cadeau des rois mages (1905).

O. Henry (William Sydney Porter, 1862-1910) UN DOLLAR ET QUATRE-VINGT-SEPT CENTS. C'était tout. Elle avait les mis de côté, centime après centime, lors de ses minutieux achats de viande et de nourriture. Della les compta trois fois. Un dollar et quatre-vingt-sept cents. Et le lendemain serait Noël.

Il n'y avait plus à faire que s'effondrer sur le lit et pleurer. Alors Della le fit.

Pendant que la maîtresse de maison se calme progressivement, nous pouvons observer sa maison. Chambres meublées au prix de 8 $ par semaine. Il y a peu à dire à ce sujet.

Dans le hall ci-dessous, une boîte la lettres était trop petite pour contenir une lettre. Il y avait une sonnette électrique, mais il ne pouvait pas faire de bruit. En outre, il y avait un nom à côté de la porte : "M. James Dillingham Young." Quand le nom fut placé là, M. James Dillingham Young payait 30 $ par semaine. Maintenant qu'il ne payait plus que 20 $, son nom semblait trop long et trop grand. Il n'aurait dû plus être que M. James D. Young. Mais quand M. James Dillingham s'installa dans la chambre meublée, son nom raccourcit vraiment. Mme James Dillingham Young enlaça chaleureusement son mari et l'appella « Jim ». Vous l'avez déjà rencontrée. C'est Della.

Della avait fini de pleurer et essuyé les traces sur son visage. Elle se tenait près de la fenêtre et regardait distraitement dehors. Demain ce serait Noël, et elle n'avait qu'un dollar quatre-vingt-sept pour acheter un cadeau à Jim. Depuis des mois, elle avait économisé tout ce qu'elle avait pu, pour ce résultat. Vingt dollars par semaine ce n'est pas beaucoup. Tout avait coûté plus cher que ce qu'elle avait prévu. Ça se passait toujours comme ça.

Seulement un dollar quatre-vingt-sept pour acheter un cadeau à Jim. Son Jim. Elle avait passé beaucoup de moments heureux à échafauder quelque chose de bien pour lui. Quelque chose de suffisamment bien. Quelque chose qui vaudrait la peine d'appartenir à Jim.

Il y avait un miroir entre les fenêtres de la chambre. Peut-être avez-vous déjà vu ce genre de miroir placé dans les chambres meublées à 8 $ la semaine. Il était très étroit. On ne peut s'y voir que par petits morceaux. Cependant, en étant très mince et en bougeant très rapidement, on devrait être capable de s'y voir convenablement. Della, qui était assez mince, était passée maître dans cet art.

Soudain, elle se détourna de la fenêtre et se tint devant le miroir. Ses yeux étincelaient mais son visage avait perdu ses couleurs. Rapidement, elle détacha ses cheveux et les laissa pendre complètement.

Les James Dillingham Young étaient très fiers de deux choses qui leur appartenaient. La première, c'était la montre en or de Jim. Elle avait appartenu autrefois à son père. Et auparavant, elle avait appartenu au père de son père. La deuxième chose, c'était la chevelure de Della.

Si une reine avait habité dans les pièces près de la leur, Della aurait lavé et séché ses cheveux où la reine aurait pu le voir. Della savait que ses cheveux étaient plus beaux que les bijoux et les cadeaux de n'importe quelle reine.

Si un roi avait habité dans la même maison, avec toutes ses richesses, Jim aurait regardé sa montre chaque fois qu'ils se seraient rencontrés. Jim savait qu'aucun roi n'avait quelque chose de si précieux.

Donc, la belle chevelure de Della chuta autour d'elle, brillante telle une cascade d'eau brune. Elle atteingnait le bas de ses genoux. Il se formait presque une robe pour elle.

Puis ensuite elle l'accrocha sur sa tête à nouveau, nerveusement et rapidement. Après, elle s'arrêta un moment et se tint debout tandis qu'une larme ou deux coulaient sur son visage.

Elle enfila son vieux manteau marron Elle mit son vieux chapeau brun Avec toujours une lueur brillante dans les yeux, elle quitta rapidement l'entrée et descendit dans la rue.

Là où elle s'arrêta, l'enseigne disait : "Mme Sofronie. Cheveux Articles de toutes sortes." Au deuxième étage, Della courut, et s'arrêta pour respirer.

Mme Sofronie, grande, trés pâle, des yeux froids, la regarda.

— Acheteriez-vous mes cheveux ? demanda Della.

— J'achète des cheveux, dit Mme Sofronie. Ôtez votre chapeau et permettez-moi de les regarder. "La cascade brune tomba.

Vingt dollars, dit Mme Sofronie en soulevant les cheveux pour sentir leur poids.
— Donnez les moi vite, déclara Della.

Oh, et les deux heures suivantes semblèrent s'envoler. Elle alla d'un magasin à l'autre, pour trouver un cadeau pour Jim.

Elle le trouva enfin. Il avait sûrement été fait pour Jim et personne d'autre. Il n'y en avait pas d'autres comme ça dans les magasins, et elle avait regardé dans tous les magasins de la ville.

C'était une chaîne de montre en or, fabriquée très simplement. Sa valeur était dans son matériau riche et pur. Parce qu'elle était tellement banale et simple, vous saviez qu'elle était très précieuse. Toutes les belles choses sont comme cela.

Elle était assez bien pour La Montre.

Dès qu'elle l'aperçut, elle sût que Jim devait l'avoir. Elle était comme lui. Sobre et précieuse - Jim et la chaîne avaient tous deux une sobriété et une valeur. Elle paya vingt et un dollars pour cela. Et elle courut chez elle avec la chaîne et quatre-vingt-sept cents.

Avec cette chaîne à sa montre, Jim pourra la regarder et savoir l'heure où qu'il puisse se trouver. Bien que sa montre soit très fine, il n'avait jamais eu de chaîne fine. Parfois, il la sortait et la regardait mais seulement quand personne ne pouvait le voir faire.

Quand Della arriva chez elle, son esprit s'était un peu apaisé. Elle commençait à réfléchir plus rationnellement. Elle essaya de dissimuler les tristes marques de ce qu'elle avait fait. L'amour et l'abnégation, déployés ensemble, peuvent laisser des traces profondes. Il n'est jamais simple de camoufler de telles traces, mes chers amis, jamais simple.

Après quarante minutes son apparence s'était un peu améliorée. Avec ses cheveux courts, elle avait l'air magnifique d'un adolescent. Elle se tint devant le miroir pendant un long moment.

« Si Jim ne me tue pas", se disait-elle, » avant qu'il me regarde une seconde fois, il dira que je ressemble à une fille qui chante et danse pour de l'argent. Mais que pouvais-je faire...alors ! Que puis-je faire avec un dollar et quatre-vingt-sept cents ?" À sept heures, le dîner de Jim était prêt pour lui.

Jim n'était jamais en retard. Della tenait la chaîne de montre dans sa main et était assise près de la porte où il entrait toujours. Puis elle entendit son pas dans l'entrée et son visage pâlit pendant un instant. Elle a souvent dit de petites prières tranquillement, à propos des choses quotidiennes simples. Et voici qu'elle disait : — S'il vous plaît, Dieu, fais-lui penser que je suis encore jolie.

La porte s'ouvrit et Jim entra. Il était très mince et il ne souriait pas. Pauvre homme, il n'avait que vingt-deux ans... et avec une famille à charge ! Il avait besoin d'un nouveau manteau et il n'avait rien pour couvrir ses mains froides.

Jim s'immobilisa à coté de la porte. Il était aussi silencieux qu'un chien de chasse quand il est près d'un oiseau. Ses yeux regardaient étrangement Della, et il y avait une expression en eux qu'elle ne comprenaient pas. Ils l'emplirent de peur. Ce n'était pas de la colère, ni de la surprise, ni tout ce dont elle s'était preparée. Il la regarda simplement avec cette étrange expression sur son visage.

Della s'approcha de lui.

Jim, mon chéri, s'écria-t-elle, ne me regarde pas comme cela. J'ai faut couper mes cheveux et les ai vendus. Je ne pourrais pas vivre à l'idée de Noël sans t'offrir un cadeau. Mes cheveux repousseront. You won’t care, will you? My hair grows very fast. C'est Noël, Jim. Soyons heureux. Tu ne sais pas quel gentil, quel beau cadeau que j'ai pour toi.

— Tu as coupé tes cheveux ? Demanda Jim lentement. Il semblait peiner pour comprendre ce qui s'était passé. Il avait l'air de ne pas être sûr de savoir.

Couper et revendu, déclara Della. Tu ne m'aimes pas maintenant ? Je suis moi, Jim. Je suis pareil sans mes cheveux.

Jim regarda autour de la pièce.

— Tu dis que tes cheveux sont partis ? dit-il .
Tu n'as pas à chercher, dit Della. C'est vendu, je te le dis, vendu et parti, aussi. C'est la veille de Noël, mon vieux. Sois bon pour moi, parce que je l'ai vendu pour toi. Peut-être que les cheveux de ma tête pourraient être comptés, dit-elle, mais personne ne pourrait jamais compter mon amour pour yoi. Pouvons-nous dîner, Jim ? Jim passa ses bras autour de sa Della. Durant dix secondes, regardons dans une autre direction. Huit dollars par semaine ou un million de dollars par an, c'est à peu prés pareil ? Quelqu'un peut te donner une réponse, mais elle sera fausse. Les mages ont apporté des cadeaux précieux, mais ce ne fut pas parmi eux. Ma pensée sera bientôt expliquée.

De l'intérieur du manteau, Jim prit quelque chose dans un papier. Il le jeta sur la table.

— Je veux que tu me comprennes, Dell, dit-il. Rien de pareil à une coupe de cheveux ne peut me faire t'aimer moins. Mais si tu ouvres cela, tu sauras ce que j'ai ressenti quand je suis entré. Les doigts blancs ôtèrent le papier. Et puis un cri de joie ; suivit d'un changement en larmes.

Car là posé, Les Peignes, les peignes que Della avait vus dans une vitrine et qu'elle adorait depuis longtemps. De beaux peignes, avec des pierres précises, parfaits pour ses beaux cheveux. Elle savait qu'ils coûtaient trop cher pour les acheter. Elle les avait regardés sans le moindre espoir de les posséder. Et maintenant ils étaient à elle, mais ses cheveux étaient partis.

Mais elle les tenait sur son cœur et, enfin, pouvait lever les yeux et dire : — Mes cheveux poussent si vite, Jim !
unit 1
The Gift of the Magi (1905).
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unit 2
O. Henry (William Sydney Porter, 1862-1910) ONE DOLLAR AND EIGHTY-SEVEN CENTS.
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That was all.
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Della counted it three times.
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One dollar and eighty-seven cents.
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And the next day would be Christmas.
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There was nothing to do but fall on the bed and cry.
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So Della did it.
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While the lady of the home is slowly growing quieter, we can look at the home.
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Furnished rooms at a cost of $8 a week.
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There is little more to say about it.
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In the hall below was a letter-box too small to hold a letter.
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There was an electric bell, but it could not make a sound.
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Also there was a name beside the door: “Mr.
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James Dillingham Young”.
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When the name was placed there, Mr. James Dillingham Young was being paid $30 a week.
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Now, when he was being paid only $20 a week, the name seemed too long and important.
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It should perhaps have been “Mr.
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She is Della.
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Della finished her crying and cleaned the marks of it from her face.
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She stood by the window and looked out with no interest.
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Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a gift.
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She had put aside as much as she could for months, with this result.
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Twenty dollars a week is not much.
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Everything had cost more than she had expected.
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It always happened like that.
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Only $ 1.87 to buy a gift for Jim.
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Her Jim.
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She had had many happy hours planning something nice for him.
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Something nearly good enough.
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Something almost worth the honor of belonging to Jim.
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There was a looking-glass between the windows of the room.
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Perhaps you have seen the kind of looking-glass that is placed in $8 furnished rooms.
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It was very narrow.
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A person could see only a little of himself at a time.
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Della, being quite thin, had mastered this art.
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Suddenly she turned from the window and stood before the glass.
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Her eyes were shining brightly, but her face had lost its color.
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Quickly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its complete length.
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The James Dillingham Youngs were very proud of two things which they owned.
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One thing was Jim’s gold watch.
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It had once belonged to his father.
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And, long ago, it had belonged to his father’s father.
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The other thing was Della’s hair.
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Della knew her hair was more beautiful than any queen’s jewels and gifts.
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Jim knew that no king had anything so valuable.
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So now Della’s beautiful hair fell about her, shining like a falling stream of brown water.
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It reached below her knee.
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It almost made itself into a dress for her.
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And then she put it up on her head again, nervously and quickly.
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Once she stopped for a moment and stood still while a tear or two ran down her face.
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She put on her old brown coat.
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She put on her old brown hat.
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With the bright light still in her eyes, she moved quickly out the door and down to the street.
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Where she stopped, the sign said: “Mrs.
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Sofronie.
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Hair Articles of all Kinds.” Up to the second floor Della ran, and stopped to get her breath.
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Mrs. Sofronie, large, too white, cold-eyed, looked at her.
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“Will you buy my hair?” asked Della.
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“I buy hair,” said Mrs. Sofronie.
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“Take your hat off and let me look at it.” Down fell the brown waterfall.
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“Twenty dollars,” said Mrs. Sofronie, lifting the hair to feel its weight.
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“Give it to me quick,” said Della.
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Oh, and the next two hours seemed to fly.
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She was going from one shop to another, to find a gift for Jim.
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She found it at last.
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It surely had been made for Jim and no one else.
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There was no other like it in any of the shops, and she had looked in every shop in the city.
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It was a gold watch chain, very simply made.
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Its value was in its rich and pure material.
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Because it was so plain and simple, you knew that it was very valuable.
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All good things are like this.
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It was good enough for The Watch.
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As soon as she saw it, she knew that Jim must have it.
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It was like him.
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Quietness and value—Jim and the chain both had quietness and value.
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She paid twenty-one dollars for it.
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And she hurried home with the chain and eighty-seven cents.
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With that chain on his watch, Jim could look at his watch and learn the time anywhere he might be.
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Though the watch was so fine, it had never had a fine chain.
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He sometimes took it out and looked at it only when no one could see him do it.
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When Della arrived home, her mind quieted a little.
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She began to think more reasonably.
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She started to try to cover the sad marks of what she had done.
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Love and large-hearted giving, when added together, can leave deep marks.
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It is never easy to cover these marks, dear friends—never easy.
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Within forty minutes her head looked a little better.
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With her short hair, she looked wonderfully like a schoolboy.
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She stood at the looking-glass for a long time.
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But what could I do—oh!
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Jim was never late.
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Della held the watch chain in her hand and sat near the door where he always entered.
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Then she heard his step in the hall and her face lost color for a moment.
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She often said little prayers quietly, about simple everyday things.
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And now she said: “Please God, make him think I’m still pretty”.
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The door opened and Jim stepped in.
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He looked very thin and he was not smiling.
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Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two—and with a family to take care of!
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He needed a new coat and he had nothing to cover his cold hands.
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Jim stopped inside the door.
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He was as quiet as a hunting dog when it is near a bird.
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It filled her with fear.
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It was not anger, nor surprise, nor anything she had been ready for.
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He simply looked at her with that strange expression on his face.
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Della went to him.
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“Jim, dear,” she cried, “don’t look at me like that.
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I had my hair cut off and sold it.
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I couldn’t live through Christmas without giving you a gift.
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My hair will grow again.
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You won’t care, will you?
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My hair grows very fast.
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It’s Christmas, Jim.
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Let’s be happy.
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You don’t know what a nice—what a beautiful nice gift I got for you”.
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“You’ve cut off your hair?” asked Jim slowly.
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He seemed to labor to understand what had happened.
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He seemed not to feel sure he knew.
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“Cut it off and sold it,” said Della.
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“Don’t you like me now?
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I’m me, Jim.
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I’m the same without my hair”.
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Jim looked around the room.
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“You say your hair is gone?” he said.
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“You don’t have to look for it,” said Della.
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“It’s sold, I tell you—sold and gone, too.
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unit 135
It’s the night before Christmas, boy.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 5 months ago
unit 136
Be good to me, because I sold it for you.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 5 months ago
unit 137
unit 138
Shall we eat dinner, Jim?” Jim put his arms around his Della.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 5 months ago
unit 139
For ten seconds let us look in another direction.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 5 months ago
unit 140
Eight dollars a week or a million dollars a year— how different are they?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 5 months ago
unit 141
Someone may give you an answer, but it will be wrong.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 5 months ago
unit 142
The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 5 months ago
unit 143
My meaning will be explained soon.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 5 months ago
unit 144
From inside the coat, Jim took something tied in paper.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 5 months ago
unit 145
He threw it upon the table.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 5 months ago
unit 146
“I want you to understand me, Dell,” he said.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 5 months ago
unit 147
“Nothing like a haircut could make me love you any less.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 5 months ago
unit 149
And then a cry of joy; and then a change to tears.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 5 months ago
unit 150
For there lay The Combs—the combs that Della had seen in a shop window and loved for a long time.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 5 months ago
unit 151
Beautiful combs, with jewels, perfect for her beautiful hair.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 5 months ago
unit 152
She had known they cost too much for her to buy them.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 5 months ago
unit 153
She had looked at them without the least hope of owning them.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 5 months ago
unit 154
And now they were hers, but her hair was gone.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 5 months ago
francevw • 14015  translated  unit 31  1 year, 6 months ago

The Gift of the Magi (1905).

O. Henry (William Sydney Porter, 1862-1910)

ONE DOLLAR AND EIGHTY-SEVEN CENTS. That was all. She had put it aside, one cent and then another and then another, in her careful buying of meat and other food. Della counted it three times. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

There was nothing to do but fall on the bed and cry. So Della did it.

While the lady of the home is slowly growing quieter, we can look at the home. Furnished rooms at a cost of $8 a week. There is little more to say about it.

In the hall below was a letter-box too small to hold a letter. There was an electric bell, but it could not make a sound. Also there was a name beside the door: “Mr. James Dillingham Young”. When the name was placed there, Mr. James Dillingham Young was being paid $30 a week. Now, when he was being paid only $20 a week, the name seemed too long and important. It should perhaps have been “Mr. James D. Young.” But when Mr. James Dillingham Young entered the furnished rooms, his name became very short indeed. Mrs. James Dillingham Young put her arms warmly about him and called him “Jim.” You have already met her. She is Della.

Della finished her crying and cleaned the marks of it from her face. She stood by the window and looked out with no interest. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a gift. She had put aside as much as she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week is not much. Everything had cost more than she had expected. It always happened like that.

Only $ 1.87 to buy a gift for Jim. Her Jim. She had had many happy hours planning something nice for him. Something nearly good enough. Something almost worth the honor of belonging to Jim.

There was a looking-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen the kind of looking-glass that is placed in $8 furnished rooms. It was very narrow. A person could see only a little of himself at a time. However, if he was very thin and moved very quickly, he might be able to get a good view of himself. Della, being quite thin, had mastered this art.

Suddenly she turned from the window and stood before the glass. Her eyes were shining brightly, but her face had lost its color. Quickly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its complete length.

The James Dillingham Youngs were very proud of two things which they owned. One thing was Jim’s gold watch. It had once belonged to his father. And, long ago, it had belonged to his father’s father. The other thing was Della’s hair.

If a queen had lived in the rooms near theirs, Della would have washed and dried her hair where the queen could see it. Della knew her hair was more beautiful than any queen’s jewels and gifts.

If a king had lived in the same house, with all his riches, Jim would have looked at his watch every time they met. Jim knew that no king had anything so valuable.

So now Della’s beautiful hair fell about her, shining like a falling stream of brown water. It reached below her knee. It almost made itself into a dress for her.

And then she put it up on her head again, nervously and quickly. Once she stopped for a moment and stood still while a tear or two ran down her face.

She put on her old brown coat. She put on her old brown hat. With the bright light still in her eyes, she moved quickly out the door and down to the street.

Where she stopped, the sign said: “Mrs. Sofronie. Hair Articles of all Kinds.”

Up to the second floor Della ran, and stopped to get her breath.

Mrs. Sofronie, large, too white, cold-eyed, looked at her.

“Will you buy my hair?” asked Della.

“I buy hair,” said Mrs. Sofronie. “Take your hat off and let me look at it.”
Down fell the brown waterfall.

“Twenty dollars,” said Mrs. Sofronie, lifting the hair to feel its weight.
“Give it to me quick,” said Della.

Oh, and the next two hours seemed to fly. She was going from one shop to another, to find a gift for Jim.

She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the shops, and she had looked in every shop in the city.

It was a gold watch chain, very simply made. Its value was in its rich and pure material. Because it was so plain and simple, you knew that it was very valuable. All good things are like this.

It was good enough for The Watch.

As soon as she saw it, she knew that Jim must have it. It was like him. Quietness and value—Jim and the chain both had quietness and value. She paid twenty-one dollars for it. And she hurried home with the chain and eighty-seven cents.

With that chain on his watch, Jim could look at his watch and learn the time anywhere he might be. Though the watch was so fine, it had never had a fine chain. He sometimes took it out and looked at it only when no one could see him do it.

When Della arrived home, her mind quieted a little. She began to think more reasonably. She started to try to cover the sad marks of what she had done. Love and large-hearted giving, when added together, can leave deep marks. It is never easy to cover these marks, dear friends—never easy.

Within forty minutes her head looked a little better. With her short hair, she looked wonderfully like a schoolboy. She stood at the looking-glass for a long time.

“If Jim doesn’t kill me,” she said to herself, “before he looks at me a second time, he’ll say I look like a girl who sings and dances for money. But what could I do—oh! What could I do with a dollar and eighty-seven cents?”

At seven, Jim’s dinner was ready for him.

Jim was never late. Della held the watch chain in her hand and sat near the door where he always entered. Then she heard his step in the hall and her face lost color for a moment. She often said little prayers quietly, about simple everyday things. And now she said: “Please God, make him think I’m still pretty”.

The door opened and Jim stepped in. He looked very thin and he was not smiling. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two—and with a family to take care of! He needed a new coat and he had nothing to cover his cold hands.

Jim stopped inside the door. He was as quiet as a hunting dog when it is near a bird. His eyes looked strangely at Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not understand. It filled her with fear. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor anything she had been ready for. He simply looked at her with that strange expression on his face.

Della went to him.

“Jim, dear,” she cried, “don’t look at me like that. I had my hair cut off and sold it. I couldn’t live through Christmas without giving you a gift. My hair will grow again. You won’t care, will you? My hair grows very fast. It’s Christmas, Jim. Let’s be happy. You don’t know what a nice—what a beautiful nice gift I got for you”.

“You’ve cut off your hair?” asked Jim slowly. He seemed to labor to understand what had happened. He seemed not to feel sure he knew.

“Cut it off and sold it,” said Della. “Don’t you like me now? I’m me, Jim. I’m the same without my hair”.

Jim looked around the room.

“You say your hair is gone?” he said.
“You don’t have to look for it,” said Della. “It’s sold, I tell you—sold and gone, too. It’s the night before Christmas, boy. Be good to me, because I sold it for you. Maybe the hairs of my head could be counted,” she said, “but no one could ever count my love for you. Shall we eat dinner, Jim?”

Jim put his arms around his Della. For ten seconds let us look in another direction. Eight dollars a week or a million dollars a year— how different are they? Someone may give you an answer, but it will be wrong. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. My meaning will be explained soon.

From inside the coat, Jim took something tied in paper. He threw it upon the table.

“I want you to understand me, Dell,” he said. “Nothing like a haircut could make me love you any less. But if you’ll open that, you may know what I felt when I came in.”

White fingers pulled off the paper. And then a cry of joy; and then a change to tears.

For there lay The Combs—the combs that Della had seen in a shop window and loved for a long time. Beautiful combs, with jewels, perfect for her beautiful hair. She had known they cost too much for her to buy them. She had looked at them without the least hope of owning them. And now they were hers, but her hair was gone.

But she held them to her heart, and at last was able to look up and say: “My hair grows so fast, Jim!”