In this sad melodrama, Mercy Blessington, the daughter of a retired sea captain, must choose between two suitors. One is Algernon Abercrombie, an artist, half serious about his work and a bit of a ne’er-do-well. The other is a local fisherman, Jack O’Doon. Jack is clearly the better person, but he is uneducated and Mercy is a cultured young woman who expects her husband to be cultured too. Mercy’s good influence turns Algernon around, so that when Jack sacrifices his life to save Algie, it lessens the tragedy, if only just a bit.
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