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Retired skipper Hagberd goes from Colchester to Coalbrook in search of his son Harry, who ran away to sea. Failing to find him, Hagberd settled there. He confides his hopes for his son’s return to Bessie, the daughter of his next door neighbour and tenant. He makes elaborate preparations for Harry`s return, and assumes he will be a suitable husband for Bessie. She looks after her cantankerous father, who mistreats her. Hagberd advertises in the newspapers for information about his son, and meanwhile furnishes the cottage, for his arrival, letting nobody see the results. One day a man arrives at the cottage claiming to have news of Hagberd’s son – but the old skipper refuses to hear it, claiming that he has all the information he needs, as his son will be returning soon. The man turns out to be his son Harry, and Bessie he has kept up his hopes with the myth of `to-morrow’.