Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Put out to nurse when he was a baby, Henry Clinton, second son of the earl of Moreland, sees little of his noble parents and their favorite older son. At the age of five and a half, young Harry, as he is called, makes the acquaintance of Mr. Fenton, an old man of the neighborhood. The old gentleman is so impressed by the innate goodness of Harry’s nature that he steals the boy away from his nurse, after leaving a note for the parents telling them that he will one day return their son. It is Mr. Fenton’s purpose to train young Harry to become the most accomplished and perfect of men. The parents grieve for a short time but soon forget the boy in favor of his older brother.
Mr. Fenton takes Harry to a mansion at Hampstead. With them they take Ned, a beggar lad whom Harry befriends. There, Harry’s education begins. Mr. Fenton, a very wealthy man, gives Harry large sums of money and hundreds of garments to distribute to the deserving poor. It is Harry’s task to learn to distinguish the deserving from the rascals. At the same time, the boys are instructed in academic subjects, bodybuilding, and other suitable lessons. Ned has irrepressible spirits, and he constantly torments his teachers. Sometimes Harry joins in the fun, but he is such a good boy that he immediately performs a favor for anyone who may suffer because of Ned or himself.
Harry is so tenderhearted that he frequently brings whole families to live at the mansion and gives them...
(The entire section is 1262 words.)
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