Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
In the days of King Henry VIII, there lives in the English town of Newbery a young weaver named Jack Winchcomb. As a young man he is something of a prodigal, spending as much as he makes and having a reputation as a merry young fellow; he is known in all the county of Berkshire as Jack of Newbery. After his master dies, however, Jack changes his ways. His mistress, who acquires a fondness for the young man, entrusts to him the entirety of her husband’s business. Jack becomes a careful man, both with his mistress’s affairs and with his own, and he soon loses his reputation for prodigality. In its place, he acquires a reputation as an honest, hard-working, and intelligent businessman.
His mistress thinks so highly of Jack that she even makes him an adviser in affairs of the heart. His advice is of little value to her, however, for she makes up her mind, despite the difference in their years, to marry Jack. She tricks him into agreeing to further her marriage with an unknown suitor. When they arrive at the church, Jack finds that he is to be the bridegroom; thus Jack becomes her husband and the master of her house and business.
The marriage goes none too smoothly at first; despite her love for Jack, the woman does not like to be ordered about by the man who was once her servant. At last, however, they come to an understanding and live happily for several years, after which interval the good woman dies, leaving Jack master of the business and...
(The entire section is 1206 words.)
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