Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
In 1903, Sam Dodsworth marries Fran Voelker, whom he met at the Canoe Club while he was assistant superintendent at the Zenith Locomotive works. Five years later, Sam became vice president and general manager of production for the Revelation Automobile Company. By 1925, the Dodsworths have two children, Emily, who is about to be married, and Brent, who is studying at Yale. When Sam sells his factory to the Unit Automotive Company, he and Fran decide to go to Europe for a leisurely vacation, a second honeymoon.
The first night out on the S.S. Ultima, Sam meets Major Clyde Lockert in the smoking room. Lockert, who says he grows cocoa in British Guiana, quickly becomes friends with Fran and, while Sam looks on like an indulgent parent, squires her about. He continues to see the Dodsworths after they arrive in London. Fran is snobbishly pleased when he takes them to visit his cousins, Lord and Lady Herndon. Between them, Fran and Lockert make Sam feel almost like an outsider. He is a failure at the dinner party the Herndons give, for he is unable to discuss cricket or polo, and he has no opinions about the Russian situation.
One evening, Hurd, manager of the London branch of the Revelation Motor Company, invites Sam to a gathering, along with about thirty representatives of American firms. Sam is surprised to learn that few of them want to go back to the United States except, perhaps, for a visit. They all prefer the leisure and freedom...
(The entire section is 1172 words.)
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