Summary (Masterplots: Revised Category Edition, British Fiction Series)
There was a diplomatic dispute between England and France with much rattling of swords on both sides. The affair, loudly taken up by the press, so stirred Nevil Beauchamp’s national pride that he decided to post a challenge to the French Guard. Uncle Everard Romfrey’s housekeeper, Mrs. Rosamund Culling, mailed the letter for Nevil. No reply ever came, and Nevil went off to fight the Russians in the Crimea. Uncle Everard expected his nephew to behave like a true Beauchamp.
Wounded in service, Nevil went to Venice with Roland de Croisnel, a French officer whose life he had saved at the risk of his own. Mrs. Culling also went to Italy. In Venice, Nevil drifted in a gondola with Roland de Croisnel’s sister Renee, who was grateful to her brother’s rescuer. The flirtation was interrupted by the arrival of the middle-aged Marquis de Rouaillout, intended as a husband for Renee. Nevil asked Renee to marry him, but she refused to disappoint her father by betraying Rouaillout. When Nevil persisted, Roland assured him that Renee did not love him.
The marquis arrived just as Nevil, Roland, Renee, and Mrs. Culling set out for an overnight jaunt in a boat. During the trip, Nevil secured Renee’s promise to break her pledge to the marquis. They headed for Trieste, but Renee’s phlegmatic consent and Roland’s dismal viewpoint dissuaded Nevil from the elopement. They returned to Venice with nothing settled. The next day, Renee married the marquis....
(The entire section is 1208 words.)
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