After many people give him suggestions on how to spend the money, Gillian finally gives the money to Miss Hayden.
In the story, Gillian inherits one thousand dollars from his uncle. Gillian, who is described as young, tells the lawyer that it is a “confoundedly awkward amount” because it is enough to take notice of but not enough to really have fun with (even though a thousand dollars was a lot of money in 1908.
The lawyer reminds Gillian that his uncle’s will was specific about the use of the money.
You are required to render to us an account of the manner of expenditure of this $1,000 as soon as you have disposed of it. The will stipulates that.
Gillian tells him he is aware of this, and jokes that he might need to hire a secretary to help him keep track of how he spends the money.
Gillian’s friend Old Bryson has a variety of suggestions, from buying a house to renting Rockefeller Center for one night and giving a lecture. Gillian asks him to be serious, and he tells him to get married and buy a ranch.
Gillian likes the idea, because he wants to spend the money in a “lump” instead of “itemizing.” He drives to his girlfriend’s theater. He sees her but doesn’t get a chance to ask her, and he asks the cabby what to do with it. He suggests opening a saloon.
Gillian has never wanted for money, and while he was alive his uncle gave him plenty.
Gillian is concerned about his uncle’s unfortunate adopted daughter, Miss Hayden, because she only got a ring and $10 from the estate. Gillian gives the money to her with the following note.
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.
The lawyer informs him that his uncle’s will actually stipulated that if he spent the money wisely he would get $50,000 more, and if he didn’t Miss Hayden would. When Gillian finds out, he tears up the receipt and says he wasted the money on gambling so the rest will also go to Miss Hayden.