Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
In “Was,” set in the pre-Civil War South, Uncle Buck and Cass set off after Turl, who regularly flees the McCaslin plantation to court Tennie at the neighboring Beauchamp plantation. Uncle Buck wants to catch Turl before he reaches the Beauchamp plantation because Sophonsiba, who lives there, is husband hunting. Uncle Buck fails to do so but bets Hubert Beauchamp that he will be off the plantation before nightfall. Uncle Buck fails at this resolution, too, and at night mistakenly lies down in bed with Sophonsiba. Caught, Buck plays a card game with Hubert to get out of the marriage. Buck loses again and Cass rides home to get Uncle Buddy. In a poker game between Hubert and Buddy, with Turl dealing, Buddy wins Buck’s freedom. Cass, Buck, Buddy, Turl, and, by the complicated bet of the card game, Tennie, return to the McCaslin land.
In “The Fire and the Hearth,” Lucas Beauchamp, while hiding his still, discovers what he thinks is part of a fortune hidden on McCaslin land almost a century ago. Lucas tells Roth Edmonds that George Wilkins is making whiskey on McCaslin land. Roth alerts the police, but Wilkins and Lucas’s daughter Nat place the evidence on Lucas’s porch. Although Wilkins and Lucas are arrested, Lucas keeps them both out of jail by hurriedly marrying Nat and Wilkins so that, as relatives, none of the three can testify against another. A flashback presents Lucas’s memory of Roth’s mother dying in childbirth and Zack, Roth’s...
(The entire section is 1126 words.)
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