Summary (Masterplots: Revised Category Edition, British Fiction Series)
Soames Forsyte was a member of the board of the Providential Premium Reassurance Society. Against his better judgment, the society had invested much of its holdings in foreign securities. Because the European exchange was so unstable, Soames insisted that the report to the stockholders be detailed. Not long afterward, Butterfield, a clerk in the P.P.R.S. office, overheard a conversation between Elderson, the manager, and a German. The German insisted that Elderson, who had received commissions on the society’s investments in Germany, should see to it that the board made good any losses if the mark fell in value. Accused of bribery, Elderson denied the charge and dismissed Butterfield. When pressed, however, Elderson escaped to the Continent. The stockholders were outraged that the board had permitted Elderson to get away. Although Soames explained that any early revelation of the manager’s dishonesty would have been futile, he received very little support from his listeners. He resigned from the board.
Michael Mont, Soames’s son-in-law, was a publisher. When Butterfield lost his job with the P.P.R.S., Soames asked Michael to give the clerk employment. Butterfield prospered as a salesman of special editions.
Michael’s wife, Fleur, had been spoiled by her father. She was restless, passionate, and not in love with her husband. Wilfred Desert, an artist, was deeply in love with her, but she knew that he could provide only adventure, not...
(The entire section is 1006 words.)
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