Londoners Arnold and Evelyn Boult had high hopes for the life of their son, Edward. His relatively short life ended up being one of privilege but irresponsibility. His life ended at age 23 when he was killed in battle in World War II. Arnold recounts pivotal moments in his son's life - such as a serious medical issue at age 5, near expulsion from a prestigious private school at age 12, and impregnating a girl with whom he had no intention of marrying at age 20 - and the extreme measures Arnold took to protect the name of his son. However, other things that Arnold did throughout Edward's life, including having an extramarital affair, show that his actions were perhaps more in the name of his own happiness and standing in the community, which eventually included being dubbed a Lord. His actions have dire consequences for many, including Evelyn, who slowly begins to hate her husband and who sadly admits that she never really understood or knew her son. But after Edward's death, Dr. Larry Woodhope, an old family friend, does his small part to ensure that Arnold's family legacy cannot continue.
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