Summary (Masterplots: Revised Category Edition, British Fiction Series)
Melchisedec Harrington was a tailor with the bearing and manners of a great nobleman. When he died, his neighbors spoke fondly of him and wondered what his son, who was in Portugal, would do. His widow knew that the great Mel, as he was called, had left debts amounting to more than four thousand pounds, which Evan would want to repay. The boy was to go to Mr. Goren in London to learn the tailor’s trade.
There had been three daughters in the tailor’s household, each of whom had married so well that they had henceforth cut themselves apart from their father, a common tradesman. Harriet had married a brewer, Andrew Cogglesby; Caroline had married Major Strike, and Louisa had become the Countess de Saldar. The Countess decided that her brother Evan must also marry well, and she tried to ally him with Rose Jocelyn, who had money of her own.
When Mrs. Harrington told Evan about old Mel’s debts, the son consented to go to London and learn his trade from Mr. Goren; not even the Countess’ entreaties and assurances that Rose loved him could dissuade him from his course. Setting out for London on foot, he met Jack Raikes, an old school friend. They went to the Green Dragon Inn, where they joined a group of men at dinner. Old Tom Cogglesby, brother of Andrew, the brewer, presided. Among those present were Harry Jocelyn, Rose’s brother, and Ferdinand Laxley, his friend. Evan and Jack got into a drunken brawl involving much name-calling and many...
(The entire section is 1367 words.)
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