Summary (Masterplots II: British and Commonwealth Fiction Series)
John Blaydon notices Victoria Blount at a lawn party at the home of a neighbor, Mrs. Bellingham. Victoria is thirteen years old; he is slightly younger. Victoria remarks that they are so much alike that John might have been her brother. John, hopelessly infatuated, suggests that they slip away from the others. They go out by the lake to “see the swans,” but Victoria insists that they go for a swim, even though they both have no bathing suits. When they plunge into the water naked, John realizes that he loves her, that “he would always love her; even when he was old enough to love people he would love her and go on loving her for ever .”
Suddenly, John hears her cry for help. He swims to where she was and desperately searches for her underwater; finally locating her white body, he pulls her to the shore, just as his sister Melanie and Tim, another guest, arrive on the scene, having come to look for him. John and Tim drag Victoria to higher ground, where John, sitting astride Victoria’s unconscious body, proceeds to administer artificial respiration. While he is reviving the unfortunate girl, Mrs. Bellingham appears and immediately assumes that the adolescents have been engaging in sex. Fearing a scandal, however, she wants to keep the matter quiet.
When John and his sister return home, Melanie tells her mother everything. Mrs. Blaydon is outraged and interrogates John. She becomes convinced that intercourse did not take place, but she...
(The entire section is 1340 words.)
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