Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Mrs. Transome, who long held Transome Court together in spite of financial and legal difficulties and an incompetent husband, eagerly awaits the return of Harold, her younger son. Harold, who was building up a fortune in Smyrna for the preceding fifteen years, is called home to take his place as heir to Transome Court after the death of his weak older brother, Durfey. Harold, whose wife is dead, also brings with him a young son.
Mrs. Transome is soon disappointed by Harold. Although he is generous with money and renovates the shabby mansion, he is not willing to respect Mrs. Transome’s wishes for a genteel country life, particularly when he announces that he intends to run for Parliament as a Radical candidate. To his mother, he seems to show a surprising knowledge and shrewdness about contemporary English life. In his campaign, he receives the support of his family’s lawyer, Matthew Jermyn, and his uncle, the Reverend John Lingon. Neither had thought of deserting the Tory colors before his arrival.
More understandably committed to the Radical cause is Rufus Lyon, the local dissenting minister. One day he receives a visit from Mrs. Holt, one of his parishioners, who complains that her son deliberately stopped the business in patent medicines that she and her late husband painstakingly established. Her son, Felix, claims that the business is fraudulent; Mrs. Holt, on the other hand, is convinced that God would not allow a fraudulent...
(The entire section is 1055 words.)
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