Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Ephraim Tellwright is a miser, one of the wealthiest men in any of the Five Towns, a group of small industrial towns joined by a single road. He is a former Methodist lay preacher and teacher, concerned more with getting congregations in sound financial shape than with their souls. Although he married money and makes more money from rentals and foreclosures, he lives in the most frugal way possible and gives his two daughters nothing but the barest essentials. Both of his wives have died, the first giving him his daughter Anna and the second producing Agnes. Tellwright is usually taciturn. As long as his meals are on time, no money is wasted, and the house is never left alone and unguarded, he pays little attention to his daughters. Anna loves her father, even though she can never feel close to him. Agnes, much younger, follows her sister’s lead. The two girls are unusually close, having no one else in their lives.
On Anna’s twenty-first birthday, her father calls her into his office and tells her that she is inheriting almost fifty thousand pounds from her mother’s estate. He invested the original sum wisely, and it grew to a fortune. Anna, who never owned one pound to call her own, cannot comprehend an amount so large. Accustomed to letting her father handle all business affairs, she willingly gives him control of her fortune. The income from the stocks and rentals is deposited in the bank in her name, but she gives her father her checkbook and...
(The entire section is 1141 words.)
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