Summary (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
Three related stories make up the larger plot of “The Suicide Club,” although each of the separately titled stories might be understood if read alone. The larger plot concerns the work of the hero, Prince Florizel of Bohemia, and his assistant, Colonel Geraldine, in pursuing and finally destroying the unnamed president of the Suicide Club, an organization that provides desperate men with ways to escape unhappy or disastrous lives without the scandal of overt self-destruction.
The first part, “The Story of the Young Man with the Cream Tarts,” establishes the personalities of the major characters and the nature of the club. The prince and the colonel, both of whom are visiting London and are interested in life’s more eccentric opportunities, are seeking adventures in an oyster bar near Leicester Square. Among the pair’s many attributes is the capacity to disguise their true characters so as to meet and talk with all classes of people—the prince being less proficient in disguise than his assistant because the nobility of his nature makes it impossible to hide its quality altogether.
As they are enjoying the bar’s fare, the young man enters, accompanied by two men carrying trays of cream tarts, a rich pastry. The young man proceeds to offer tarts to each of the patrons in the bar, including the Bohemian pair; by the rules of the sport he has invented, he eats any tart that is rejected by the person to whom he first offers it. The...
(The entire section is 1749 words.)
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