I took it to a new computer store near us on a whim. As my dad said when he pointed the place out to me, "You've got nothing to lose by taking it in." So, even though lostsatyr seemed quite certain the laptop was dead, I took it to the store and let them have a look at it.
The guy at the store plugs it in and tells me that all of the hardware seems OK, and that the problem may be Win XP, and not the computer itself. He suggests installing an earlier version of Windows, as it is an earlier-model laptop. So I thank him, take the laptop back, and tell lostsatyr what the fellow at the store said when he (the hubby) gets home.
Last night, lostsatyr installed Win 98 on it. Success! So now the hubby has a laptop of his very own. I'm glad he's happy. And I was the one who found out there was a chance to revive it, so I'm feeling pretty good about that, too.