Summary (Masterplots, Definitive Revised Edition)
Theodorus Witgood, a young man of quality, had been so prodigal with his fortune that he had lost it all. Even his country estate had been mortgaged to his uncle, Pecunius Lucre, a miserly man. The cause of Witgood’s downfall was a Courtesan, a young woman on whom he had wasted his fortune after seducing her. Fortunately for Witgood, the girl really liked him and was anxious to help him. When Witgood conceived a plan to regain his fortunes, a plan that required her help, she readily promised to help her lover.
Witgood’s plan was to take the Courtesan to London and pass her off as a rich widow. With the aid of a tavernkeeper, who gave Witgood his services as a servant and the use of his horses, the plan was put into execution. Witgood even hoped to get back the mortgage from his uncle. As soon as Uncle Lucre heard about the rich widow, his miserly instincts were aroused. Taken in by his nephew’s story, he hoped to promote the marriage and eventually gain the widow’s money and estates.
Uncle Lucre invited Witgood and the supposed wealthy widow to his home, where in spite of his real feelings toward Witgood he praised the young man to the skies. In addition to his uncle, the creditors to whom Witgood owed money were anxious to help his marital efforts, for the creditors realized that a good marriage would enable them to collect the money he owed them.
When word of the wealthy widow spread through the town, many suitors came to...
(The entire section is 1039 words.)
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