The Venturers (Henry)

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The Venturers
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: Two men, Forster and Ives, meet in a hotel and decide to have dinner together. They discuss their desire for adventure and unpredictability in life. Forster contemplates leaving his fiancée, Mary, to seek excitement abroad. However, Ives reveals that he has married Mary, leaving Forster to embark on his own adventure.

Two men, Forster and Ives, met by chance and decided to dine together at a fancy hotel without any money to pay for their meal. They agreed that the loser of a coin toss would face the consequences of not paying the bill. As they enjoyed their dinner, they discussed their shared desire for adventure and the unknown, lamenting the predictability of modern life.

John Reginald Forster — city man; longing for adventure and unpredictability; unsure about his upcoming marriage.
Ives — hotel owner; seeker of adventure and unpredictability; married to Mary Marsden.

Forster lost the coin toss, but when the bill arrived, he simply signed it, revealing that he was a regular at the hotel and always signed his checks. Ives then confessed that he owned the hotel, and they both laughed at the irony of their situation. They agreed to meet again for dinner the following week.

In the meantime, Forster decided to break off his engagement and travel the world in search of adventure. He believed that the monotony of married life would never satisfy his desire for the unknown.

I am going to knock around the world and get rid of that incubus that has been weighing on both you and me—the terrible dread of knowing what’s going to happen.

When he met with Ives again to share his decision, Ives revealed that he had found the ultimate adventure: he had married Forster's former fiancée, Mary Marsden.

Mary Marsden — Forster's fiancée; constant and unchanging; waiting for Forster.

Ives believed that marriage was a journey without a map or compass, full of uncertainty and excitement, and he was eager to embark on this new adventure with Mary.