When Mary Crofton attends a charmless school to learn to be a governess, she is befriended by an heiress, Milly Darrell. Milly is a beautiful and good-natured girl whose life becomes complicated when her widowed father remarries.
Augusta Darrell doesn’t like Milly, but the situation changes for the worse with the reappearance in the area of a neighbor, Angus Egerton. Before he returns, the girls hear the story of his falling out with his mother after he fell in love with a girl of low birth. When his mother prevented the marriage, he swore never to return while his mother was alive and was said to have lived dissolutely. His mother dead, he returns to try to repair his dilapidated estate.
It is easy to guess that Mrs. Darrell has something to do with this story but not so easy to see how that will affect the plot. This thickens when Milly and Angus fall in love with each other.
This novella is a typical sensation work of its time. It is short and fun to read. For some reason, though, the publisher has chosen to add an alternate ending which, while not materially different from the original, is a travesty of purple prose—an indication of a lack of discrimination on their part.