By Anthony Powell
Read by Sir Derek Jacobi.
Produced and abridged by Jane Marshall.Zouch has been invited to stay at Passenger Court, country home of the Passenger family, by the youngest daughter, Mary.
But his beard, and his profession as a portrait painter which afford him a certain cachet in town, are seen as a distinct handicap amongst the unsophisticated country set.
Arthur Zouch is staying at Passenger Court at the invitation of Mary Passenger.
But though she is rather taken with her bohemian friend, her father is far less persuaded of his charms, her mother barely registers him and her sister is sure she remembers coming across him in a dubious club in Soho.
Whilst staying at Passenger Court at the invitation of Mary Passenger Zouch has been introduced to Joanna Brandon and rather inconveniently finds himself attracted to this friend of his hostess' family.
As the locals gather to rehearse the forthcoming pageant, Zouch takes the opportunity to find out more about the history of the Passengers and their neighbours, and, under the nose of his hostess, to further his acquaintance with Joanna Brandon.
Zouch sneaks away from Passenger Court to visit Joanna Brandon, and is embarrassed to be spotted in the town by Mr Passenger.
Zouch has decided that Mary Passenger is the key to a new life in which uncomfortable memories of his former existence in London will become a thing of the past.
But he still he can't quite shake off his interest in Joanna Brandon.
Zouch finds that his activities have put him in a difficult position that requires some delicate handling.
Mr Passenger is irritated to discover that his younger daughter has become engaged to Zouch.
But, remembering that his opposition to his elder daughter's marriage had the opposite effect to the one he intended, he decides on a different strategy this time round.
Zouch has returned to Passenger Court from London but this time he feels less an unwelcome guest and more a prospective-son-in-law.
Mr Passenger, however, has other matters on his mind.
As Zouch seems determined to make himself a part of the Passenger family, Mr Passenger decides to test his suitability for life in the country and offers him a ride on one of the horses in his stable.