The Harvest of Flame (1913) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • The factory owner's daughter, Pauline, is engaged to the young inspector of factories. At the opening of the story the factory owner is given notice that on the morrow his factory will be inspected as to safety appliances and compliance with the city fire laws. He, knowing that his factory is painfully deficient, endeavors that evening to bribe the young inspector when the latter calls on Pauline. The inspector very quietly refuses the bribe. The next morning when the inspector comes to the factory the owner tells him that unless a favorable report is made, the engagement of the inspector to Pauline will be broken. The young man is considerably tempted; but when comparing the safety of the lives of hundreds of girls and the happiness of two young people, himself and his fiancée, his conscience will not permit him to hand in any but a truthful report. The owner tenders the inspector the engagement ring, which he accepts, and leaves. The young foreman of the factory is an inveterate cigarette smoker, and, although he has been severely reprimanded on several occasions by his employer, persists in his habit, irrespective of orders. He is just about to light a cigarette when the factory owner, coming from his office, where he has just left Pauline in tears, interrupts him. The foreman drops the flaming match and hides his cigarette. The factory owner goes out on a short errand and in the meantime the match has started a flame of fire in the scraps and cuttings in one of the finishing rooms that the foreman is unable to put out, and, as the factory owner returns, he finds the factory in flames, most of his employees safe, but he realizes that his daughter is trapped in the office behind the wall of flame. In the meantime the foreman has run out and sent in an alarm to the fire department- He meets the inspector and the two return to the scene of the fire. The factory owner apprised them of Pauline's whereabouts in the burning building, and the foreman, realizing that he has been the cause of it, slinks away. The inspector attempts to go through the door, but is driven back by the flames, and at this point, looking up, sees Pauline silhouetted in the window against the roaring flames. At this window is only a coil of rope, the only means of escape. He climbs the rope, lifts Pauline on to his shoulders, and climbs down safely to the ground, where they are met by the frenzied father, who receives them with open arms, while the foreman, with grim determination, eschews the further use of cigarettes.


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