Summary of John Galsworthy’s Quality

Quality by John Galsworthy is a story about a skilled German shoemaker Mr. Gessler, who is settled in London. He was a perfect artist and perfectionist who considered his work as an art.


Mr. Gessler was a perfect artist. He used to make the boots of the narrator’s father also. Gessler lived with his elder brother. The shop had no signboard. He made boots only on advance order. And they never failed to fit. His boots lasted long. So the narrator did not need to go to his shop very often.

The customer going to Gessler sat on a wooden chair and waited. It was like going to some church. The narrator wanted a pair of Russian leather boots. Gessler showed his piece of gold brown leather. He promised to deliver the boots after a fortnight. He, it seemed, used to dream of boots.

Once the narrator complained that his last pair of boots creaked. Gessler was shocked to hear it. He agreed to repair or replace them.

On another occasion the narrator entered Gessler’s shop. He was wearing a pair of shoes bought at a large firm. Gessler told that those were not his boots. He put a finger on the place where the left boot was not comfortable. He spoke bitterly that big firms made poor quality boots. He also spoke about the hard times of his trade. His own business was going down.

The narrator was so deeply moved that he ordered for many pairs. For two years he couldn’t go to Gessler’s shop. When he came to Gessler’s shop next time he came to know that Gessler’s elder brother had died. He again ordered for many pairs of boots.

He was also upset to see Mr. Gessler who seemed to have grown older by 15 years. And he again ordered for many pairs of boots. Soon he went abroad.

When he returned his country after a year, he went to Gessler’s shop to thank him for the new boots which he had parceled to him. But he found that the name of the shop was gone. It had been taken over by some Englishman. The poor fellow died of slow starvation. His business failed for he took a long time to supply the order. He never made any advertisement. He used the best leather. He never gave himself time to eat. He was a character, who made really good boots.

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