One Thousand Dollars

by O. Henry

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Who are the main characters in "One Thousand Dollars"?

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The main characters in O. Henry's short story "One Thousand Dollars" are the young man named Robert Gillian and Miss Hayden. 

Interestingly, the name Gillian means "youthful," and it is a youthful, free spirit that Bobby Gillian possesses. He has never worried about money because he has...

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had a rich uncle who has provided him an ample allowance. However, when his benefactor uncle dies, he is given only one thousand dollars and Gillian is told that he must account for his "manner of expenditure" of this money. Unaccustomed to such accountability, Gillian jokes that he may have to hire a secretary.Instead, he goes to the men's club and sits by Old Bryson, a stodgy gentleman, who disdains the irresponsible Gillian; moreover, he smiles when he intends to be "more offensive than ever." The young man asks Bryson what he can do with $1000, and Bryson lists a number of things for Gillian. Finally, he says that the young man should purchase a diamond pendant for Miss Lotta Lauriere, an actress. But, when this shallow showgirl demonstrates no interest in something less than $2000, Gillian departs. So, he asks a cab driver and a blind man each what they would do, but disregards their advice.

Then, he returns to his uncle's house. "Gillian drifted in with his air of regarding the world as inconsequent." He tells Miss Hayden, who is writing letters in the library, that the lawyers came across $1000 that is meant for her. "Oh!" she exclaims. Gillian then declares, " know I love you," but she replies that she is sorry. The young man turns and leaves.After departing, Gillian makes his accounting for the money and seals this in an envelope. When he arrives by cab at the lawyer's office, he informs Tolman that he has come to render his accounting of the money. But when he is informed that he will receive $50,000 if he has spent the money wisely or unselfishly, Gillian quickly tears up his envelope and the accounting because now the money will go to Miss Hayden. He whistles happily, ever the youthful spirit, as he departs.

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