What is a summary for Chapter 1 of Mr. Britling Sees It Through?

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teachsuccess | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Hello! You asked for a summary of Chapter 1 in 'Mr. Britling Sees It Through.'

We are introduced to Mr. Direck in Chapter 1; he is the secretary of the Massachusetts Society for the Study of Contemporary Thought. He is in England to discuss a certain business proposition with Mr. Britling, who lives in Matching's Easy. Mr. Direck is a pleasant-looking American gentleman who has wanted to visit his maternal grandmother's homeland for many years. Now that he is free from any supposed entanglements with a certain Miss Mamie Nelson, he reasons that he can enjoy England with all the necessary American wonder and vivacity he can muster. He is delighted to find England as English and as non-American as he hopes. He is greatly encouraged that his initial fears about England being just a facsimile of America are proving to be untrue. Mr. Direck is also adamant that all Englishmen see him as quintessentially American.

He is enchanted with the English countryside, the quaint inns and cottages he sees from his train window. He observes that he has to tell the guard to stop the train for Matching's Easy. When he gets off the train and comes face to face with Mr. Britling, he is amazed that Mr. Britling does not at all match his presuppositions of him. To start, Mr. Britling does not display the requisite pensiveness in his demeanor Mr. Direck feels all worthy men in his profession should possess. Not only that, he seems to favor wearing loud clothing. He is also shorter than Mr. Direck expects a famous intellectual to be. Nevertheless, he is optimistic that, with the offer of an impressive fee, he will be successful in luring Mr. Britling to America for the purpose of giving a series of lectures at his organization.

Mr. Britling is a profuse writer of global issues; he is painstakingly obstinate and opinionated at the same time. Mr. Direck finds these characteristics exciting and can't wait to launch his speech to Mr. Britling about the opportunity to come to America to beguile his hearers with his wisdom. However, his enthusiasm is thwarted by the station-master, who seems oblivious to Mr. Direck's need to acquaint himself with Mr. Britling. The station master continues talking about the sweet peas which beautify the train station and how to grow them better while Mr. Britling nonchalantly engages in small talk with Mr. Direck. Mr. Direck is soon to discover that Mr. Britling is a terrible driver when Mr. Britling drives into a hedge of flowers and has to rely on Mr. Direck's help to extricate the car from the hedge.

Mr. Britling tells Mr. Direck that his driving leaves much to be desired because he is unused to driving himself after years of being driven by hired drivers. Mr. Direck is soon to discover that Mr. Britling talks the same way he drives: fast and haphazardly. Indeed, Mr. Direck finds it hard to get a word in edgewise. His very American style of give-and-take in conversation is consumed by Mr. Britling's very British monologue. Among other things, Mr. Britling criticizes the seeming English aversity to science, the inadequacy of Tory education and the handicaps of British industry and engineering. When they do finally reach Mr. Britling's house, his family receives him with 'undisguised relief and admiration.' Mr. Direck is introduced to Mrs. Britling and one of the three Britling sons, who regales him with some American expressions he has learned.

At dinner, Mr. Direck notices an older Britling son, a youth of about seventeen. He also notices the young German tutor, a pretty young lady next to Mr. Britling and Mr. Britling's secretary. He finds himself entranced with a very attractive young lady seated to his right. After noticing three other guests, he is curious as to the presence of a very young baby in a perambulator. He finds himself distracted in conversation due to his curiosity about the paternity of the baby. The dinner conversation centers on the travels of Mr. Britling and American ingenuity in manufacturing and engineering. Mr. Direck finds himself in close conversation with the attractive lady seated next to him. In amazement, he also finds out that the lady seated on his left is sir-named Corner, his maternal grandmother's name.

After lunch, Mr. Direck is seated in the garden court with Mr. Britling. The rich profusion of smells from the rose garden tantalizes his senses and he relaxes with an after-lunch cigar. He muses about the baby again and about his newfound cousin Corner and the mysterious, gorgeous young woman who engages his interest throughout lunch. He listens half-heartedly to Mr. Britling as he engages in his typically long and meandering English monologue. Finally, when Mr. Direck manages to get a word in edgewise, he holds on 'like a man who keeps his grip on a lasso.'

Hope this helps. I do encourage you to read the chapter. Although it is long, it will give you a good background for the story. If you have read the chapter, very well done!

Thanks for the question.

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