In the secluded coastal resort of Betworthy, the Maitland family has fallen on hard times and the eldest son Roger, a schoolmaster, is forced to give a young boy after-school tuition in order to pay for his jet-setting wife Dorothy's trip to the French Riviera. His mother, Mrs. Maitland, puts her hope in a legacy from her brother while their live-in cousin Phyllis plans to escape poverty and the tedium of Betworthy by accepting a marriage proposal from Major Luddington. Everything changes, however, as the younger Maitland brother, Jack, returns home for a visit and Phyllis falls in love with him. Jack, who left the family years ago to seek his fortune in London, is now a rich and successful actor, a career choice of which his family never approved, which, in his opinion, gives him the perfect excuse to treat them just as badly as he wishes. Further trouble comes along as Joan, an old friend of Phyllis's, suddenly pays a visit to the house and falls in love with Roger. Written by
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I should like to swim out, for miles and miles, through the moonlit water, and quietly drown.