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Summary

Evoking the storyline of a well-known song of the era, "After the Ball" (in which a man explains why he is single and has no children), FIRESIDE REMINISCENCES details one night when a man and his sweetheart were at a ball and he found her in the arms of another man. He abandons her without waiting for an explanation and, as a result, she dies. After learning the man was her brother, he remains faithful to her forever. Edwin S. Porter altered this story by adding new family-centered elements. The husband sees his wife embracing a man (we must assume, in the context of the song, that it is her brother) and he banishes the woman from their home. Three years later, the husband stares into the fire and recalls his past life: his wife; the couple embracing; their wedding; his wife and child; the moment he threw her out of the house; and his wife on the cold streets at night. A larger narrative frames this reminiscing. In fact, his wife is outside the house as he conjures up these images. She is brought inside and their child acts as a catalyst for reconciliation. The family triumphs over the stern, misguided father, who finally sees the error of his ways.

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