People often jump to conclusions that aren't true. They ignore obvious details when the information is not appealing to them. To what degree are these statements applicable to the story “Hearts and Hands”?

These statements about jumping to conclusions are very applicable to the story “Hearts and Hands.” Miss Fairchild concludes that Mr. Easton is a marshal escorting a convict. She adheres to this fiction despite being presented with the fact that Mr. Easton is too young to be a marshal and his right, not left, hand is cuffed to the true officer.

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In "Hearts and Hands," the elegant, well-dressed Miss Fairchild encounters an old acquaintance on the train—Mr. Easton, a friend and possible former suitor from their "old crowd" in Washington, DC. After greeting the young man, she notices that his right hand is handcuffed 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.

She believes that he is a criminal being escorted to jail. She seems embarrassed and sorry for him, as demonstrated by her confused gaze, blanched reaction, and disturbed expression.

Observing her response, the marshal (to whom Mr. Easton is handcuffed) pretends to be the criminal; he wishes to save Mr. Easton from embarrassment. Immediately, Miss Fairchild is relieved:

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

Right away, she jumps to the conclusion that Mr. Easton is not a criminal but a "dashing Western hero" worth flirting with. She acts impressed that he is a marshal. Then again, the real marshal tells a white lie to save both Miss Fairchild and Mr. Easton from embarrassment. The officer misleads her into thinking that Mr. Easton is the marshal escorting him (a supposed prisoner) to Leavenworth prison instead of vice versa.

Nonetheless, this incident demonstrates how Miss Fairchild quickly infers and clings to the fiction that Mr. Easton has climbed to the high position of a marshal despite his youth. She glances at the handcuffs a second time and seems to realize that Mr. Easton actually is the criminal, not the marshal.

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

An obvious clue that Mr. Easton is the prisoner is that his right—not left—hand is cuffed to the officer; as another passenger later notes, no officer would "handcuff a prisoner to his right hand." Miss Fairchild probably notices this unappealing detail (coupled with the fact that earlier, Mr. Easton "clasped her fingers with his left hand") but does not want to say anything. Instead, she abruptly changes the subject and looks away.

"I love the West," said the girl irrelevantly. Her eyes were shining softly. She looked away out the car window. She began to speak truly and simply without the gloss of style and manner.

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