Mary Holland, newly married to the dapper and congenial Ned Holland, is not quite content that her husband and she should have so little time together. Between family visits, social engagements, and his tendency to spend evenings with his "jolly fellows" a quiet evening at home is a rarely found luxury. Ned goes out of habit but is often dissatisfied with his former friends. Mary, not wishing to cling or whine, does not demand that he stay home.
One night, complaining to herself about Ned's absence and wishing she at least had a hobby like needlework to pass the time, is struck with an idea. And so begins a secret deception that she takes great pains to hide from Ned.
New Year's Day dawns, presents are exchanged, and Ned goes off on a round of calls. He returns tired and dispirited to find a glowing Mary and a new dressing gown and slippers by the inviting hearth. Trying them on he admires their style, fit, and color and wonders where they came from. Mary at last admits that she has made them herself, despite her lack of dexterity with a needle. Such devotion impresses Ned who settles into the first of many comfortable evenings before the fire with his loving intelligent companion.
Some months later one of Ned's more convivial friends stops by to invite Ned out. Mary suggest he sits down. The conclusion of the story is quoted here as Ned says:
"Seems to me I did promise Joe to look in awhile, but I guess I won't; it's too much trouble to put on my boots."
His wife glanced up, and down again as quickly to her work; but he caught the peculiar smile of meaning that she could not repress.
The domesticated husband began to have a faint glimmering of the truth; but he did not return the look.
"Did it ever occur to you, Sam," said he, addressing himself deliberately and exclusively to his visitor, "that slippers might be regarded in the light of man-traps?
"Never!" returned the unconscious Blodget. "Really, I can't say that they ever did! Quite an idea, ain't it, though? Remarkably handsome ones those of yours."