Summary (Masterplots: Revised Category Edition, British Fiction Series)
On the evening of November 20, 1923, an old Ford car stopped on a hill overlooking Folly Down, a village in western England. Within the car Mr. Weston, a wine merchant, conferred with Michael, his assistant, about possible customers in the village. They had a large book that listed the names of the inhabitants, and Michael had detailed knowledge about them, which only a supernatural being could possess. As they talked, their coming was forecast to the village of Folly Down by an electrical sign displayed atop the car.
Down in the village, many people noticed the sign on the hill; they could scarcely avoid seeing it, for it lit up the sky. As the men gathered in the inn for their evening beer, they began to speak of the peculiar sign, but the conversation drifted to the cause of all the pregnancies among the village maidens. Most of the men blamed Mr. Grunter, the sexton, but Mr. Bunce blamed God. While they argued the question, the men noticed that the clock had stopped. Mr. Grunter announced that eternity had come. He seemed to be correct, for all over the village time stood still at seven o’clock.
Mr. Weston arrived in the parlor of the inn and announced his wares. Although no one was interested in buying, they all felt an affection for the man and believed that they had known him somewhere before. When asked if he knew whether God or Mr. Grunter was responsible for the misfortunes of the village maidens, Mr. Weston referred them to Mr....
(The entire section is 1183 words.)
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