Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Lilia Herriton, a widow of several years who has been living with her husband’s family since his death, cheerfully leaves Sawston, England, with her friend Caroline Abbott for an extended visit in Italy. The Herriton family encouraged such a visit because of their concern over Lilia’s growing relationship with a man they consider unsuitable for her and also because they welcome a chance to train her daughter during the mother’s absence. The trip, which is Philip’s idea, is quickly agreed to by everyone concerned. Fortunately, Caroline, a woman ten years younger but much more levelheaded than Lilia, is also planning such a trip and needs a companion.
The winter passes peacefully for everyone, and the tour seems to be a success. Lilia is apparently gaining some degree of culture and taste under Miss Abbott’s guidance, and back in England Lilia’s daughter Irma is improving through the efforts of Mrs. Herriton. In the spring, however, Mrs. Herriton hears from Lilia’s mother that Lilia is engaged to an Italian, supposedly someone she met in a hotel. She immediately wires Caroline for details but is answered only by the terse comment that Lilia is engaged to an Italian nobleman. Instinctively recognizing this to be a lie, she insists that Philip go at once to Italy and stop the marriage.
Caroline meets Philip’s train when he arrives at Monteriano, the village in which Lilia and Caroline are staying for a month. Nervously, she agrees...
(The entire section is 1116 words.)
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