Della has just finished crying about the fact that she only has one dollar and eighty seven cents to purchase a Christmas gift for her beloved husband, Jim. She "flop[ped] down on the shabby little couch," having had only so much luck after "bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher" to save money, a penny at a time, for months. Once she has cried herself out, Della powders her cheeks, goes to the window, and looks out "dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard." This is a very dismal and dreary description, and it gives us further insight into Della's feelings. Her husband's salary was cut by a full third (an insanely high amount for a pay cut), from thirty dollars to twenty dollars per week, and "Twenty dollars a week doesn't go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are." Della is disheartened, dispirited, and maybe even a little bit depressed. The morose description of her gray surroundings mirrors her emotional state.