Summary (Masterplots: Revised Category Edition, British Fiction Series)
Mr. Direck, secretary of a Boston cultural society, was in England for the purpose of persuading Mr. Britling, a famous writer, to deliver a series of lectures in the United States. Direck found England all that he had expected, as he traveled from London to Matching’s Easy in Essex to meet Mr. Britling. Mr. Britling, however, did not support the illusion. He neither dressed like an Englishman nor acted like an intellectual, and Direck was disappointed, but Mr. Britling’s family and friends aroused his interest. Mr. and Mrs. Britling had three boys. The oldest, Hugh, was the son of Mr. Britling’s first wife. In addition to the immediate family, an old aunt and a young German tutor, Heinrich, lived in the house. Mr. Britling’s secretary Teddy, his wife Letty, and her sister Cissie lived in a cottage nearby. Direck fell in love with Cissie, a vivacious and intelligent girl.
Largely because of Cissie, Direck zestfully entered into the entertainments of the Britling household; at times, he almost forgot the real reason for his visit. Several times, however, he and his host had serious discussions. Once they spoke about possible war with Germany. Mr. Britling said the idea was nonsense; it had been expected for a long time and had never happened. Unknown to Direck and Mr. Britling, however, an attempt was at that moment being made to kill Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria. The fatal march of events had begun.
One morning, Mr. Britling...
(The entire section is 1126 words.)
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