Mr. Greenmantle, the bank manager at Plumpington, had a daughter Emily, who was in love with Philip Hughes, cashier at the bank. The banker, a thorough snob, objected to Philip as a son-in-law because he was not his social equal and had no money.
On a lower plane a similar situation had developed in the home of Hickory Peppercorn, the local brewer. Jack Hollycombe, a malt salesman, loved Polly Peppercorn, but her father thought she could do better. Polly, who was a very pretty girl and the pride of her father's eye, brought him to terms by wearing her oldest, shabbiest clothes. Emily managed her father by going into a "decline." Both girls had the sympathy and understanding of the village rector, the Rev. Dr. Freeborn, who invited both families and the two suitors to a Christmas dinner, and succeeded in creating such a warm spirit of friendliness that he soon after performed both wedding ceremonies.