In the social scene known as 'cap and town' in fictional Churchton, Illinois (read 'Evanston and Northwestern University') comes young instructor Bertram Cope. Blond, blue-eyed, charming and book-learned, with a patina of conversational sophistication; he is, however, not quite genuine. Impressed by wealth and well-appointed houses, Cope is too careful and self-conscious - and what he doesn't realize is that he is observed and judged as often as he observes and judges.
f not an acknowledged outcast from the joys of life, would soon be lagging superfluous on their rim.
Randolph stood before them, looking, no doubt, a bit vacant and inexpressive. "Please go and get Amy," Mrs. Phillips said to him. "I see she's preparing to give way to some one else."
Amy--who was a blonde girl of twenty or more--came back with him pleasantly and amiably enough; and her aunt--or whatever she should turn out to be-- was soon able to lay her tongue again to the syllables of the interesting name of Bertram.
Cope, thus finally introduced, repeated the facial expressions which he had employed already beside the tea-table. But he added no new one; and he found fewer words than the occasion prompted, and even required. He continued talking with Mrs. Phillips, and he threw an occasional remark toward Randolph; but now that all obstacles were removed from free converse with the divinity of the samovar he had less to say to her than before. Presently the elder woman, herself no whit
Edmund Wilson called Fuller the best writer of the early 20th Century - and Bertram Cope's Year is his very best work.