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Sylvanus Heythorp, past 80, and known about Liverpool as "Old English," is unable to pay his debts although he is the director of numerous companies and chairman of a shipbuilding firm. He tries to persuade his creditors to accept an allotment from his salary and not to force him into disgrace--all but Charles Ventnor agree. Rosamund Larne, widow of Heythorp's illegitimate son, and her two children, Phyllis and Jock, arrive requesting funds above her regular allowance; Heythorp refuses but decides to establish a fund for Phyllis, whom he loves devotedly. Joe Phillin, whose son Bob loves Phyllis, is induced to sell his ships to Heythorp for £760,000 and turn over a 10 percent commission to Heythorp's grandchildren. Ventnor, learning Heythorp's secret, demands an audience and threatens to expose him. Old English orders a great dinner of his favorite dishes and wines and against the wishes of his servants gorges himself with abandon. When Phyllis and Bob return from the theater they find he has died in his easy chair by the fire.