An old gentleman fond of new gadgets, the ninth Earl of Emsworth has recently bought a telescope after reading an article on astronomy. Looking through his new telescope atop one of his turrets, Emsworth sites his son Freddie who appears extremely delighted. It is this jauntiness that concerns the Earl because usually Freddie is rather morose, especially when he is confined to Blandings Castle. Following his suspicions, the Earl looks again through his telescope and, to his surprise, he watches his son prancing; out of a small area of trees and brush near the end of a meadow, a pretty young woman emerges. Freddie looks quickly over his shoulder and, then, he envelops her in his arms. Lord Emsworth is appalled. For a long time, he has dreamed of a young woman from a good family with money would come along and remove Freddie from his responsibility, but now his hopes are crushed.
Furious, Lord Emsworth descends from the turret and makes his way across the green to head off his son. Adjusting his pince-nez, Lord Emsworth perceives the complacent young man approaching with a nosegay of little meadow flowers in his buttonhole.
"Frederick!" bellowed his lordship
"Hello, guv'nor!" replies his son, undaunted. "Lovely day, what?"
Ignoring this diversion, the father asks his son the identity of the girl and Freddie informs him that she is his fiancee, Aggie Donaldson, an American cousin of Angus McAllister, the head-gardener. Enraged, Lord Emsworth locates his gardener, and insists that the girl depart immediately or he will be fired. After making certain Scot noises in his throat, McAllister says with dignity, 'Y'r lomrdsheep will accept ma notis.'
At first proud of his show of authority, Lord Emsworth later rues his dismissal of his head gardener because he does not know who will care for the beautiful pumpkin. Like many families of name, the Emsworths had won competitions for roses, tulips, onions, but no Earl of Emsworth had ever won at the Shrewsbury Show a first prize for pumpkins. And this year, finally, it appeared that he may have a winner. But, now his head-gardener is gone. His second gardener, now promoted to head, is no McAllister, and Lord Emsworth is anxious about his pumpkin. He worries so much that he dreams that his plump, beautiful pumpkin shrivels. After such dreams Lord Emsworth determines that he must have McAllister back; so, he sends a telegram, ordering him to return. McAllister refuses.
Therefore, Lord Emsworth decides that he must seek a gardener in London. When he arrives, the old gentleman confirms in his mind his loathing for London; moreover, he is unable to find anyone whom he feels can be a competent gardener. In such a disgruntled state, Lord Emsworth happens upon Freddie; however, this meeting enrages the old man because Freddie's last visit to London cost his father dearly. Also, he worries that something terrible has happened to the pumpkin, such as cats having destroyed it. But, Freddie tells him that the cats have done nothing to his prize pumpkin, and because the young man is not at ease, he drops a letter into the hands of his father and departs. To Lord Emsworth's surprise, Freddie's note informs his father that he has married Miss Donaldson, the young woman of the meadow.
For an appreciable space of time he stood in the middle of the pavement, rooted to the spot. Passers-by bumped inlo him or grumblingly made detours to avoid a collision. Dogs sniffed at his ankles. SeedyJooking individuals ried to arrest his attention in order to speak of their financial affairs. Lord Emsworth heeded none of them. He remained where he was, gaping like a fish, until suddenly his faculties seemed to return to him.
Suddenly, Lord Emsworth feels the terrible need for flowers. He hires a cab to take him to Kensington Gardens. When he arrives, Lord Emsworth feels so much better; however, he unwittingly picks the flowers in which he so delights. Catching him in this act, the park-keeper immediately changes his mind about this man who he first thought was appreciative of the beauty of his gardens. Then a constable appears and asks the Lord Emsworth his name. When the gathering crowd hears, "'I - I - why, my dear fellow - I mean, officer - I am the Earl of Emsworth," they laugh. When he is asked to show his card, Lord Emsworth squirms because he has lost his cards along with his umbrella. But, just as he is about to despair, Lord Emsworth spots McAllister, who vouches for him and he is released by the constable because the garden-keeper recognizes in McAllister a quality head-gardener.
With McAllister is Mr. Donaldson, father of the bride. Cheerfully, he speaks to Freddie's father on his behalf, telling him that Freddie is "a fine fellow" and he hopes to put him to work in his dog biscuit business in America. He apologizes that he is only worth about nine or ten million dollars, but with Roosevelt as president, things should improve. Lord Emsworth blinks and asks, "You are talking of my son?"
"He must have your support."
"I suppose he'll have to have it, dash it!" said his lordship unhappily. "Can't have the boy starve." Mr Donaldson's hand swept round in a wiid, grand gesture.
He then asks Lord Emsworth to send some word to Freddie; the Earl offers his encouragement, and advises Donaldson to tell him not to hurry back from America and to work hard and make a name for himself.
Lord Emsworth goes to McAllister and begs him to return to his employ. When McAllister hesitates, Lord Emsworth pleads with him, offering to double his salary. "McAllister . . . Angus . . .' said Lord Emsworth in a low voice, "pumpkin needs you."
Now, Lord Emsworth stands with McAllister at the Agricultural Show at Shrewsbury and Sir Gregory Parsloe-Parsloe, of Marchingham Hall passes near them, offering his congratulations, looking something like Napoleon who brooded at Waterloo. He offers his congratulations to the Earl of Emsworth, who with McAllister look down at the largest packing cases ever seen in Shrewsbury town, cases that read "PUMPKINS FIRST PRIZE."