How could Mr. Easton be described from the short story "Hearts and Hands"?
Mr. Easton comes across to the casual observer as a very smart, affable kind of a guy. He presents a face to the world of a man whose manners and clothes are equally impeccable. He projects an aura of confidence, one that allows him to convince other people that he's someone he's really not. But beneath that superficially charming exterior beats the heart of a serial criminal. Judging by the crimes he's committed, Easton is a thoroughly dishonest man, a fraudster who thinks it perfectly acceptable to engage in counterfeiting to get the money he needs to pursue a lavish lifestyle.
Easton clearly attaches a good deal of importance—too much importance, in fact—to the trappings of high society life. Being a member of Washington's social elite requires a lot of money, what with all the fancy clothes, restaurants, and luxury accommodation one needs to splash out on. Easton believes it's so important to keep up with the smart set that he's prepared to break the law to get his hands on the requisite cash.
Among other things, this indicates a certain shallowness on Easton's part; everything for him is all on the surface; it's not what you are but what people think you are that counts. And if conforming to other people's expectations requires money—even if it's stolen money—then so be it. One must always be cautious before indulging in amateur psychology, but Easton does appear to display some of the characteristics of a psychopath. However, please be aware that this is most certainly not a definitive interpretation by any means.
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