Summary (Masterplots: Revised Category Edition, British Fiction Series)
The quarrel between Walter Herries of Westaways and Jennifer Herries, his kinswoman at Fell House, went back many years. Christabel, Walter’s weak mother, had been insulted by Jennifer over the breaking of a fan at a ball, and Walter never forgot the slight to his proud, snobbish family. He also resented the presence of Judith Paris and her illegitimate son, living brazenly, as he thought, at Fell House, so near Westaways, his own fine house. By one method or another, he had determined to drive out the whole household, and he might have succeeded had it not been for Judith.
Judith openly accused her cousin of having incited a riot in which Reuben Sunwood, another kinsman, had been killed. Admitting the charge, Walter Herries said there had been no way for him to foresee Reuben’s death. He proposed that Jennifer and Judith should sell him Fell House at a fair price and move away. If they did not, Walter would persecute them until they would be glad to leave. When Judith refused, Walter bought Ireby, a high hill overlooking Fell House. He planned to build a huge mansion there to dwarf Jennifer’s modest home, and he would be there always to spy on the people of Fell House and hurt them. He also reminded Judith of Francis, Jennifer’s husband, who had committed suicide. Walter had exposed Jennifer’s lover to him, and the coward had shot himself rather than the man who had defiled his home. Judith, however, defied Walter’s angry boasts of his power...
(The entire section is 1201 words.)
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