• A nameless pedestrian walks along a lane in the English countryside.
• He has just been turned away from an inn. He is a professor of philology at Cambridge University and his name is Edwin Ransom.
• Ransom wants to find lodging at a farm before reaching Sterk, but the countryside is sparsely inhabited. He finds a small cottage.
• A woman rushes out the door and explains that she thought he might be her son, Harry, who is late returning home from working.
• Harry, she tells Ransom, is a simple-minded boy who tends the furnace for the two professors who live at The Rise.
• Ransom wonders if they might be willing to give him a place to stay for the night.
• When he arrives he interrupts two men wrestling with a boy, who Ransom assumes is Harry.
• When Ransom tells the men his name, the second of the two...
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