Cicely Abercrombie, a little devil of a Southern girl, married John Bruce, a Northern soldier. He was madly in love with the girl, and carried her by storm after a brief siege. They had a child, and then Bruce died. In a few months the widow herself fell madly in love with a handsome, gay Southerner, Ferdinand Morrison, and married him with a willful perversity which was not in the least weakened when it turned out that Ferdie, as everybody in the book feels bound to call him, had an hereditary tendency to a mixture of insanity and delirium tremens. In one of his moments of aberration Ferdie struck Cicely, and slung little Jack out of his crib, breaking his arm. He then disappeared to the convenient remoteness of Valparaiso, to wait till the novelist wanted him for dark and dreadful purposes.