Fraternity Summary

Summary (Masterpieces of British Fiction)

Bianca Dallison had begun the chain of events by asking her writer husband to find a model for her painting “The Shadow.” Through a friendly artist, Hilary had located a girl from the country who suited his wife. The girl, Ivy Barton, was very attractive, and after she had finished posing for Bianca, the Dallisons tried to help her find work. They had also found her a place to live with the Dallisons’ seamstress, Mrs. Hughs.

Ivy Barton, through no fault of her own, began to create trouble in the Hughs household when Mr. Hughs became enamored of her and Mrs. Hughs became extremely jealous. One day, Mrs. Hughs told Cecilia Dallison her troubles at home. Cecilia told Mrs. Hughs’s story to the rest of the family. The Dallisons, all very much interested in social problems, wished to help the girl and the Hughs family; but the situation was a delicate one. Their interest was heightened by the comment of Mr. Stone that in the lower classes each of them had a counterpart, a shadow, and that everyone was bound together by the bonds of fraternity in the brotherhood of man. Mr. Stone was writing a book on that very subject.

Hilary Dallison found that the girl’s work as a model was not regular and that she was finding it necessary to pose in the nude. He found her steady employment as a copyist for his father-in-law, Mr. Stone, who in his old age had embarked upon his strange philosophical work on the brotherhood of man. Bianca Dallison did not like the idea, for Mr. Stone lived with her and her husband. She began to be extremely jealous of the little model, although it had been years since she and her husband had lived as man and wife.

In spite of his wife’s jealousy, it was Hilary who first investigated the trouble at the Hughs’s home. He found only Mr. Hughs there. The visit only made the situation worse, for Hughs became convinced that Hilary was having an affair with Ivy. Hughs began to loiter about the Dallison house and to follow the model home when she finished her work with Mr. Stone. When Cecilia also learned that Hughs was beating his wife, the family decided that the situation was dangerous for the model and for Hilary. Cecilia tried to convince Hilary that the girl should be sent away and that he should stop trying to help Mr. and Mrs. Hughs. He only smiled at her suggestions.

Sometime later, Hilary followed Hughs when he saw him trailing Ivy home. Hilary was somewhat dismayed to discover that Hughs followed only to prevent the girl from meeting anyone else, including Hilary. Nevertheless, Hilary met the girl in a park after she had shaken her follower. Ivy let Hilary notice that her clothing was very shabby; feeling sorry for her, he took her into a shop and purchased a complete outfit for her. His deed won her complete devotion;...

(The entire section is 1142 words.)