Based on the theme that "Pride goes before a fall". A successful country farmer who in spite of being ambitious, is, nevertheless, a "pillar of the church" "hard but upright". This proud old man is very jealous of his reputation as being a God Fearing man, but this does not prevent him from driving a hard bargain on the Sabbath whenever the oppurtunity arises. His prode keeps him aloof from his neighbours, with the exception of the Lady of the Manor, Helen Stone, whose perpetual state of financial embarrasment provides frequent oppurtunity for the old Abel Lytton to pursue the ambition of adding more and more of her property to his own estate. Yet the old man is not avarious; he is simply trying to improve his own social status, but more particularly to build up a status for his son. The story is developed through the matrimonial prospects of the latter. The boy himself loves a neighbouring farmers daughter, although his father is anxious for him to marry the Lady of the Manor. She too, is anxious for this marriage, the son being handsome and she would also recover her property. The old man trys to arrange the marriage but falls foul and has to learn the hard way who his true friends are.
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